8 Zero-Dollar Projects You Can Make Using Your Leftover DIY Materials

published Jun 5, 2021
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image

If you just finished a DIY project, you’ve likely got some scraps on your hands: leftover paint, strips of wood, perhaps some leftover fabric. And if you let them, those scraps can easily pile up to take over your toolbox or even closet. So what do you do with all those tiny bits of material that are remaining? Tossing them feels wasteful, and donating such a small amount of leftover materials doesn’t feel very helpful. The best solution? Use it.

To avoid buying yet more materials, aim to use up what you have in one go. If you need inspiration, we have you covered: The eight projects below all require minimal materials, so you can easily recreate them yourself using whatever you have on hand.

Craft an easy soap holder.

What comes first: the design or the leftover materials? For DIY specialist Natasha from Little Red Industries (@littleredindustries), it was the leftover materials that inspired the design.

“I love working with dowel and save all the little pieces of timber to reuse,” she says.  “The design for this DIY soap holder actually came about because I have too many and needed to use them up.” You can see her full process here.

Make tiny ornaments to gift or to decorate with.

Bridget (@bridgetcetera) had some leftover avocado-dyed yarn and rope scraps that she wanted to put to good use. 

She writes: “They looked sad in the basket on my bottom shelf, plus I needed the space to store some other supplies.” Rather than throwing them out, she made a tiny fiber rainbow ornament. This DIY would make for adorable curtain ties, and would look great as part of a gallery wall, too.

Credit: @meg.spitzer

Weave some wall art.

Meg Spitzer (@meg.spitzer) made this beautiful woven tapestry out of leftover rope scraps from a large diamond macrame project she had just completed. She combined that project’s leftovers with other fibers she had lying around and the end result is stunning.

If this looks too complicated, there are plenty of beginner-friendly options that will help you get rid of your excess rope, yarn, or even fabric.

Turn scrap wood into a mosaic design.

DIYer Michelle (@pieceofmeesh) made this art piece out of scraps of plywood, but you could use the same idea to customize the inside of a plain tray, a frame, or some coasters. Michelle shows how you can customize a piece like this in a tutorial on her blog.

Make a planter.

Michelle (@pieceofmeesh) also made these adorable geometric wooden planters out of scrap wood and paint as a part of a quarantine challenge. She cut the sides of her wood blocks to create some interesting angles, drilled a hole big enough to pop a succulent into, and then painted all three planters with a mix of gold, black, and white paint. The same design would also make for a lovely tea light holder.

Make your own millwork.

Designer and DIYer Angelica Winkler (@thegoodsitter) had to get creative in her rental kitchen makeover by reusing as many materials as possible from other projects.

“I was running low on my budget (always) and determined not to buy any new paint, spray paint, or wood.  Everything was reused from past projects,” Winkler says.

But that didn’t mean she had to sacrifice her vision. Winkler customized her own millwork around her kitchen door frame by using leftover scraps of wood from a wood wall art project. The result is fresh, creative, and renter-friendly. You can see her entire makeover here.

Create your own paint color.

Have a little bit of paint from one project and a little bit of paint from another? This is a great way to use them up.

Winkler mixed leftover paints together to make a custom color for her rental kitchen backsplash. Instead of opting for peel-and-stick, she DIYed a striped backsplash from the leftover paint mix. Zero waste and zero dollars spent is a good day in the DIY world.

Revamp a pendant light.

Another zero waste endeavor, Winkler used some leftover spray paint to revamp a pendant light in her rental kitchen makeover, as well.

But this came with a twist. “I actually didn’t have enough spray paint in the can to do the whole lamp, which is why it ended up being two-toned — gold on the inside, black on the outside, which I actually ended up loving,” said Winkler.  “Classic instance of having to get more creative when working with restrictions.”