Turns Out, Cheap Dinosaur Toys Can Make Shockingly Stylish Decor

published Oct 31, 2018
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(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

If you thought those cheap plastic dinosaur toys from your youth would only come in handy when you babysit, it’s time to think again. Turns out those colorful cuties can be repurposed into some surprisingly snazzy home decor items—it just takes a little imagination. Read ahead for a few fun ways to upcycle those old plastic dinosaurs you and your cousins used to play with.

1. Succulent Planters

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

The only thing better than a charming succulent planter is one that you made on your own. Case in point: DIY dino toy planters, which you can make at home with an extra sharp utility knife and some spray paint. We used these dino toys for the planters above, and spray painted the T-Rex champagne pink, spray-painted the Brontosaurus silver, and used Martha Stewart acrylic paints on the other two. Or you can just buy a cute one someone else made for a reasonable price on Etsy instead.

2. Bookends

Believe it or not, those dorky dinosaur toys make some unexpectedly eye-catching bookends when repurposed correctly. For this we suggest using bigger dino figures, like these brightly colored playthings from Trouva, to better anchor your bookends. Simply cut a dinosaur in half (down the middle), use hot glue to mount either side of it to a bookend—you can make your own with blocks of wood—and voila: you’ve got your very own Jurassic bookends to jazz up your bedroom bookshelf with.

3. Upgrade your Chessboard

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Searching for an inexpensive way to liven up an old chessboard (or make your own)? When covered in pretty hues of acrylic paint, tiny plastic dinosaur toys make adorable chess pieces (to replace your standard humdrum chessmen with). And if you’re feeling really ambitious, you can use the same colors to paint a coordinating chessboard to boot. We used this set from Amazon.

4. Holiday Ornaments

Why settle for a candy cane-covered holiday tree this year when you can have a dinosaur-clad one instead? Per Parents.com, you can make your own batch of Jurassic jewel ornaments at home by twisting a small screw eye in a plastic dinosaur, coating it with tacky glue, and then sprinkling on any color of glitter you chose. Once it’s dry, add a long piece of string and hang on your holiday tree (or house plant) accordingly!

5. Jewelry Holders

(Image credit: Joe Lingeman)

Still not sold on the idea of jazzing up your apartment with dino-decor? Don’t forget these multicolored cuties make great jewelry holders, too. Employ a long-necked species (like a brontosaurus) on your bathroom counter to stack your rings in style or place a tall T. Rex on a wall-mounted floating shelf to drape a necklace from. Painting the toys a metallic color will add a sophisticated touch. We used these toys from Amazon and painted one rose gold and the other rose copper.