How To's & Quick Tips

5 Things to Do with… Old Toys


Up in the attic, down in the basement, or out in the garage, chances are that you've got a chest full of old toys. If you're not saving those playthings for the grandchildren, then perhaps you simply can't bear to get rid of belongings that were once cherished. Well, play time doesn't have to be over: There are myriad ways to repurpose classic toys into objects for the home boasting practical or decorative value. Check out our five favorite projects involving repurposed toys now!

1. TOY AROUND WITH PLANTS

Toy dinosaurs aren't extinct. On the contrary, they are alive and well, improbably serving as small-scale, prehistoric-themed planters for succulents. To make your own, use a power drill to hollow out the widest-diameter portions of these plastic figurines, then go ahead and add soil along with your choice of hardy greenery.

2. SET SAIL TO A LAMP

Got a toy boat that'll never again set sail on the waters of your bathtub? Embark on a new journey and convert the toy into a fun and fanciful table lamp. It doesn't take much: All you need are a few simple tools, a thrift-store shade, and a do-it-yourself lamp kit-the kind readily available online or at your local hardware store.

3. HOLD STEADY WITH BOOKENDS

Apart from saving the world, there's something else that action figures can do: function as bookends! Enlist your hero for the task by gluing his top and bottom halves to the visible surface and underside of a bookshelf. Having put his arms into a combat-ready pose, watch as he bravely defends against the force of gravity.

4. ROLL OUT A GARDEN CART

For those who like to get their hands dirty, whether in a lone vegetable patch or on a rambling property with numerous beds, an out-of-commission Radio Flyer-or any old wagon, really-can make for an excellent way to transport outdoor essentials like terra cotta planters, bags of potting soil, and assorted garden tools.

5. PLUG IN AN ORGANIZER

Game over? Think again! A neglected video game controller can become an object that you use every day in the home office. Here's how: With a screwdriver, take the controller apart so that you can remove all of its buttons. Employ a power drill to form larger or deeper holes, if you wish, then put the joystick together again.