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!

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