T-Shirts into Bags Need a book bag for the library ? If you've got a patterned t-shirt that's seen better days and was otherwise destined for the charity shop, save yourself some money and turn your old shirt into a simple cotton recycled bag- with minimal sewing skills required. There are a ton of tutorials online and on YouTube, and cute Pinterest images too for further inspiration. Be warned, though: cotton is stretchy, so don't overload your upcycled book bag unless you want it dragging on the floor! Those with more advanced skills (or just a little more time) can line the bag to prevent this overstretching.
Wine Bottle Lights These really require little to no skill on the part of the upcycler, but the results are amazing! This upcycling trick works best with larger bottles and jars, or large glass vases from the charity shop or a car boot sale if you can find them. Simply take your large glass vase or wine bottle, and a set of cheap fairy lights (battery operated work best, as you don't have an unsightly wire hanging out). Put the lights inside the glass container (coloured glass is pretty) and you immediately have an artistic lighting solution with change from a fiver.
Mindful Living with Tin Cans Next time you open a tin of beans, keep the can. Once the label's removed and the can's fully washed and dried, you've got a great item for an upcycling project such as a pen holder or a tin can lantern (perhaps sand down the edge if it's sharp- you don't want to cut yourself next time you reach for a pencil). To make a lantern (and WikiHow have a good tutorial here ), make holes in the can in any pattern you like- stars can be quite romantic. Top tip: fill your can with water and freeze it before you begin punching your holes- this will prevent the can from buckling out of shape.
Use an Old Ladder as A Bookshelf Wooden ladders (especially ones which have seen a bit of wear, and are covered in nicks and splashes of paint) make surprisingly great upcycled storage. Stand the ladder vertically, and arrange your books on the steps, or if you're feeling confident, hang it horizontally on the wall as shelving. Got too many books to fit? Why not sell some for some extra cash while you're at it!
Use Wine Cases or Old Crates as Tables or Shelving Simple wooden crates (available for free at the end of the day ar your local market stall- just ask nicely) make amazing upcycled storage. Use larger crates as simple bedside tables, or create a simple shelving unit by decorating the back of the crate with a patterned vintage-style wrapping paper and stacking the crates neatly together. There's some brilliant crate upcycling ideas to be found just here .
A Wine Corkboard Do you notice a theme developing? You might find yourself drinking more than usual quantities of wine to achieve this project (or getting a job in a bar). Wine corkboards are really simple to make, and look amazing. Simply take a large picture frame- the bigger the better- and remove the glass. Stick all of your gathered corks down horizontally, within the frame, leave to dry, and...you have yourself a handy noticeboard that's also a fun talking point.
Reused Broken China If you have a teapot with a broken lid, a chipped mug, or even just a pretty jar, don't throw it away. Fill the cup with a little compost, and plant some seeds. The contents of a camomile teabag ripped open and scattered on a bed of compost with some water will grow a new camomile plant (yes, really). Pretty, environmentally friendly, and, best of all, super easy.
Useful Links 15 tips for frugal student living
Top eco friendly universities in the UK
5 postgrad degrees that could benefit the planet
Student saving tip: learn to sew