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Repurposing Obsolete Home Goods Can Organize and Simplify Life

I want to share an easy upcycling project that will help organize and simplify your life: repurposing an old window sash into a mail organizer.

If you’re planning on attending the Buffalo Home Show this weekend, you’ll see me present this project live. You can also sign up for my Free Seasonal E-Newsletter for a chance to win this window mail organizer (at the show).

There are a few things that make this project worth the time investment.
1. Old window sashes can be picked up for usually less than $10 at flea markets, garage sales or salvage resources.

2. It’s very customizable – meaning you can make it really elaborate or simple and it’s still attractive and functional

3. Not only are you reusing an obsolete window, other recycled supplies are used for his project.

4. Reusing old windows not only add function, they add architectural character to your home without any remodeling. And don’t we all just love adding character to our home? If you answered, “heck yeah,” keep reading!!

Window Sash
Liquid Lead (found in craft stores near the craft paint)
Vellum (optional)
2 Eye screws
Heavy gauge wire

Ideally I would have loved to have used a beveled, lead glass window, but because they are harder to come by and much more expensive, we’re going to fake the look with Liquid Lead.

Step 1: Create a design with pencil, ruler and paper large enough to fit in the window panes. I used the back side of, well, a beer label print sheet left over from my days at Anheuser-Busch. Wrapping paper works well, too.
Tape your pattern to the under side of the window.

Step 2: Pipe on the faux lead, using your pattern for guidance. The liquid lead is really easy to work with. If you smudge, use a razor blade to push the lead back in line. If you really mess up, wait for it to dry and then peel it off. You can then start over like nothing happened.

Step 3 (optional): If you’d like to add more visual interest, especially if you want to just hang up your window for architectural character, or as a privacy “curtain” like on a patio, you may want to add color with vellum. Vellum is a sturdy, semi-transparent paper.
Cut the vellum to fill in the shapes drawn in liquid lead. Then carefully tape them on the back side of the window so the tape will be hidden by the lead lines.

Step 4: Screw in the 2 eyescrews at the top of your window and wind your wire around them. Your decorative window is ready to be hung.

If you’d like to take your window project a few steps further and make it into a mail organizer / storage organizer, you’ll need the following supplies:

Quilt batting
Fabric (I recycled an old pillow sham)
Packing Tape
Fabric tacks

Step 1: Cut 2 pieces of cardboard to fit over the width of both window panes. There will be one piece for the upper panes and one for the lower panes. Also cut quilt batting slightly larger than your cardboard pieces and fabric, slightly larger than the quilt batting.

Step2: Fold the fabric over the back of the cardboard around all edges and tape down with packing tape. Don’t worry, no one will see it.

Step 3. Flip the cardboard panels over so they are facing front. Position them over the two, side-by-side panes. Hammer fabric tacks through the fabric and cardboard into the window frame. Repeat with the other piece of cardboard.

Glitter, Glue & Paint

If you like DIY projects that are easy, inexpensive, reduce waste and add beauty and function to your home, please check out Living Simple, Free and Happy on Amazon. It is also available at bookstores, home improvement stores and craft stores nation-wide. The book includes 10 upcycling tutorials that take easy to find furniture items and transforms them into customizable, organizational solutions from your home.

What else do you get?

  • Simple techniques that eliminate clutter and keep it from returning
  • A personalized plan to help you reclaim your time
  • Practical (and profitable) ways to sell unused items in your home
  • Tips to eliminate debt and curb consumption
  • Dozens of exercises that help you identify and honor your talents, values, and goals

I’m Cristin Frank (AKA Eve). I love all things frugal and crafty. My mindset is always on upcycling, repurposing, reducing waste and saving money – and Eve of Reduction is my roadmap. You might also want to check out my book, "Living Simple, Free & Happy."

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7 Responses to Repurposing Obsolete Home Goods Can Organize and Simplify Life

  1. Julieta@Locksmith in San Antonio September 10, 2013 at 3:02 am #

    This is really great and informative blog. I really like it. Looks like there are so many good ideas I could gather here. Thanks for posting this. I will definitely bookmark and share this. Keep it up!

    • Eve September 10, 2013 at 2:25 pm #

      Thanks Julieta! This is the way I think so expect more crafty frugal ideas to come!

  2. Denyse @ Glitter, Glue & Paint September 13, 2013 at 6:15 pm #

    What a fantastic idea! I love how it’s so decorative and full of purpose. Thanks for sharing at Throwback Thursdays.


  3. Krista @ the happy housie September 29, 2013 at 2:08 pm #

    I love this idea!! I have so many old windows- none as pretty a yours, mind you! But this is still an awesome reuse idea for them!! Thank you so much for linking this up at the Get Your DIY On Fall Challenge: Spray Paint! We hope to see you come on back over this evening (7pm EST) and bring along a chalkboard project!!
    ~Krista from the happy housie
    Krista @ the happy housie recently posted…Weekend Cuppa Tea: Fall is in the AirMy Profile

  4. Michael October 18, 2013 at 8:14 pm #

    This is such a great post. There are many people up there who have verity of abundant or unused home goods and don’t even realize that it is great material for many different expressions of art and craft. Thank you for sharing.


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