Danny Seo Shows Us the Beauty of Upcycling

Danny Seo Shows Us the Beauty of Upcycling

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It's completely fitting that environmental lifestyle expert Danny Seo's birthday falls on Earth Day! (Happy Birthday, Danny!)

Saving the environment has been important to Danny since he started a teen activist charity at 12 years old. Today, Danny is the author of numerous books and has his own line of eco home product. He is also a regular guest on NBC's The Today Show.

Danny visited the Honest offices and told us about his love of upcycling and how crafting is a lot less intimidating than people think.

"A lot of people associate crafting with fine arts, but it's not the same thing at all," he says. "Upcycling takes less skill, then say, painting or sewing. And traditionally with crafting you have to spend a lot of money for supplies, but that's not so with upcycling."

"What's great about upcycling is you're using stuff you would have thrown away anyway, so you're not wasting money and, if it doesn't work out, it doesn't really matter," he adds.

The creative process of turning trash into something beautiful is what Danny thrives on.

When Danny was 12 he started Earth 2000, a grass roots organization that sprung from his desire to save the planet. It was a small group of his friends that germinated into a national organization and actually challenged legislation in congress. It lasted seven years and taught him the ethics and savvy he brings to his business today.

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His book Upcycling and Upcycling Celebrations contains tons of clever ideas for turning everyday items into usable, stylish pieces. And the projects are simple—every project in his book is three steps or less.

Danny Seo's Tips & Tricks

  • You don't need a lot of tools to be an upcycler. The best thing to invest in is a good pair of sharp scissors. Forget the large pack of 10 for $9 and get the good professional ones. "A good, sharp scissors is the best way to get good results with everything," he says. A glue gun also comes in handy.
  • He avoids glitter because they're actually microns of plastic and glass, which can be dangerous with kids if it gets into the air and they breathe it in. He makes a non-toxic glitter using salt and food dye (you can find naturally derived dye at natural grocery stores). Mix the two ingredients together and then spread it on a baking sheet. Bake it for 10 minutes at 350 to dry it out. It's not as sparkly as glitter, but it's non-toxic and affordable, Danny says.
  • You don't have to be boring and beige to be eco-friendly. He tells clients to focus on the big picture and not get caught-up on the small stuff. Invest in an eco-friendly sofa, floors, paint, and appliances before you look for small eco items.
  •  To find furniture, Danny goes to flea markets and antique fairs. He doesn't buy upholstered things that are vintage because there could be mold, mildew, or unwanted pests inside. He buys solid wood pieces.

Danny Seo's Top 5 Eco-Friendly Tips

  • Use batteries until they're totally dead, or switch them to another appliance.
  • Replace bulbs with LED bulbs.
  • Mulching in the garden can be expensive, but you can call your local transportation department. When trees fall, they haul them away and mulch them. You can call and get that mulch for free.
  • If you don't have the money to swap-out your windows for eco ones, you can pin sheets of bubble wrap on the inside of drapes to insulate your house.
  • Give your old bath towels, sheets, and blankets a good wash and donate them to your local animal shelter because many rescued animals have to sleep on concrete floors and any warmth from the textiles will be put to good use.

Say hello to Danny and wish him a happy birthday on Facebook, Twitter (@dannyjseo), and Instagram (@dannyjseo). And stay up to date on his eco ideas and tips at DannySeo.com.

We aim to provide you with the most honest and credible information possible. This article was reviewed for accuracy by The Honest Team and was written based on trusted sources that are linked at the bottom of the article.