Fun Ways To Upcyle Vintage Toys

Is there anything more fun than vintage toys? Aww come on! You know you get a smile when you come across that special toy that you cherished in a more simple time. Maybe you can recall the endless hours spent collecting POGS, or the love of first pet that tagged along with you!

I used to drag mine around singing “how much is that puppy in the window?”


Or maybe you’re at a flea market or garage sale and you come across that long lost toy that you can barely remember. When you see it, you see “HAPPY”!  You recall the memories, sights and smells of childhood… As you’re lost in the past with a dreamy smile, you reach for the toy. You MUST touch it… Nostalgia has a funny effect on us! At this point, the annoying adult in you will raise and eyebrow and ask “And what, exactly, are you going to do with it? Where are you going to put it, hmmmmm?” Let’s see what we can do so that you can tell that annoying adult “You’re not the boss of me!!”

There are so many ways to decorate with vintage toys! Of course, some vintage toys are just fabulous as a stand alone piece, but that’s not the kind I’m talking about. What I’m talking about is your average, obviously-well-loved, possibly-broken, in-its-retirement-phase toy. The kind of toys you can find anywhere. They aren’t very collectible because so many were made or they are in less than perfect condition. That doesn’t mean their life is over!

My particular style of decorating is what I like to call Vignette Style. That’s pretty much code for people who still like to play with their dolls and teddy bears…

Why shouldn’t they celebrate Cinco de Mayo? They had a designated driver! 

Other people might incorrectly refer to Vignette Style as “theme” rooms. I like when guests can walk into a harmoniously decorated room and say “This is a little creepy  so unique…”

Of course, that’s just me. Vintage toys can look at home, no matter what your style.  But what I want to talk about is how to incorporate it into your life and make it useful!

Take these common toys, for example:

The little clock would be perfect for a “Will Return At:”  sign for your desk at work. No more co-workers wondering, “When Jane will return? I wish she had a sign to tell us!”

If you own a Dremel, the telephone above could definitely be remade into a charging station with the cell phone inserted at the top and the charging cord inside. Or you could use your Nintendo controller:

Inspired by this creation at GeekUnique’s Etsy shop

The tv is quite obviously a picture frame! Take it apart, attach your pictures to the roll inside and you have a one of a kind “digital photo frame”! Ditto for Etch-a-Sketch.

Really unique ideas for upcyled picture frames at  I Love To Create

And the xylophone can be taken apart and made into wind chimes, if you don’t want to take the opportunity to brush up on your musical skills!

DIY instructions at CoopCrafts

 Here is some more inspiration!

You could use any type of figurine…and it won’t matter if they are missing limbs!


Now that’s a fun idea for a playroom! 


Vader bling!


SOOO cool arranged on a window sill!
From plastic monkeys….I really want to make one!
Bonus recycling points! Glass jars AND toys!
 And you can probably use left over spray paint around your house!
The key to decorating with toys, is to think outside the toybox!  Search “upcyled toys” with Pinterest, Etsy, or Google and you’ll find plenty of inspiration. You might never look at toys the same way again!

Hello and welcome to denim ‘n daisy designs brand new blog!

We’re so happy you stopped by to visit!

We are very excited to be launching not only this business of re-homing and re-using what is lying around, but the projects and ideas it will inspire! Plus, I really like to talk 🙂

So what will we talk about? Well, for the first few posts, I’m just going to give you a little background about what inspired us to this point. Since we always get comments on our name, that’s where I’ll start!

About 10 years ago, I was a stay-at-home mom looking for some extra cash…you’ve heard this story. Yup Ebay! Well, I am the type of person who tends to go overboard, especially where design is concerned! I needed a pretty store if I was going to have one at all, so I bought some custom templates from a very talented graphics person on Ebay. The name of the finished template was denim and daisies. Oh how beautiful it was! Time passes, computers crash, the workforce beckons, and my dream was put on hold for a while.

Many years went by and then it happened. Have you ever had a circumstance that put you in a tailspin, stood you on your head and turned your life around 180 degrees? We all have them. Phases of life that are outgrown, wisdom that reveals itself, circumstances beyond our comprehension and control, the fork in the road… they all help us to learn and grow and evolve.

When the spinning stopped and my feet were on the ground again, I found the path in front of me led to the woods, to nature, to preservation.

The world we live in has many resources, and we are in trouble because we have almost bled dry only a few of them. It was time to shift focus. It was time to stop buying things brand new off the manufacturing lines because it’s the latest and greatest. It was time to stop listening to commercials that convince us we need things because they want to sell it to you. But I digress…

So off to the woods with me! I have found a lot of wonderful creatures in the woods, but the best creature I have ever found there was Mr. denim! No, seriously, he was IN a tree. The fates have quite a sense of humor, as it turns out 🙂

Now, I have always rescued trash like some people rescue stray kittens for as long as I can remember. Naturally, it followed me to the home Mr. denim and I share. For some reason, Mr. denim likes to walk unencumbered through the house, and so we devised some systems to contain and organize it. This was when I started actually organizing all my crafty bits and pieces and when Ms. daisy bloomed.

Daisy is simple, unassuming, quiet, wild and free. She bends with the wind, soaks up the sunshine and dances in the rain. She doesn’t try to be a rose, because she is happy with what she is. Daisy looks to the sun all day. She brought with her a “head in the clouds” perspective that she used to dream and create.

Denim is the foundation, strong and solid. Denim represents the everyday, the hard work, the practical. He’s sensible, not afraid to get dirty and cleans up well. Denim is logical and will prevent you from gardening in your silk dress. He brought with him a calm, roll up your sleeves confidence that will bring you exactly where you need to be.

When denim and daisy unite their superpowers, almost anything is possible! We plan on offering ideas and tutorials for things you never thought you could do anything with but throw away. We intend to teach the skills necessary to repair, refurbish or recreate, because these skills are dying out. Daisy just can’t wait to design and produce her line of upcycled products, including exclusive designs using actual denim and daisies of all kinds! We have some adorable vintage collectibles from our treasure hunting available now at with new inventory added frequently. We’ve only just begun!

We love comments, feedback, questions, ideas and inspiration so don’t be shy!

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