Six workshops designed to show participants how to reuse and upcycle have been organized by the Iowa City Recycling Division, offering participants a chance to learn something new while simultaneously avoiding the winter doldrums. There is no fee to participate in any of the sessions, which will be held at the East Side Recycling Center’s Environmental Education Center at 2401 Scott Blvd. SE.

Materials will be provided for each class, but participants are also encouraged to bring their own materials and/or projects-in-progress for assistance.

The Winter 2016 Reuse and Upcycling Series of workshops includes:

Small furniture project for kids

Wednesday, Jan. 6, 6 to 8 p.m.

Workshop leaders:  Regeneration Factory’s Amy Smith Pasley and Madonna Smith

Children aged 7 and older, along with an accompanying adult, will learn how to design and build their own small furniture, including chairs, couches, tables and footstools for their favorite dolls and action figures. The instructors will even help students create a small room, if they bring a box to class. Other items students are encouraged to bring, if possible, include orange juice cans, boxes with lids, Pringles cans, berry crates, and square and round plastic food containers. This class will involve working with scissors and glue, and conducting simple assembly. 

Mending 101

Wednesday, Jan. 13, 6 to 8 p.m.

Workshop leaders:  Mary Palmberg, Becky Ross, Kristin Simon

Brush up on basic sewing skills during this workshop, or learn for the first time how to replace buttons, hem up seams, and darn socks. Led by local sewing and mending experts, participants are also encouraged to bring in more complicated sewing projects for advice or assistance, if they like. This workshop is suitable for participants of all ages, including children aged 7 and up as long as they are accompanied by an adult.


Wednesday, Jan. 20, 6 to 8 p.m.

Workshop leaders:  Jen Jordan, Brooke Butler

Learn how to make useful items from old maps:  stationery, gift boxes, gift bags and more! The leaders have lots of old maps to share, but participants are encouraged to bring other paper-based materials, as well as additional ideas for upcycling with paper.  This class is suitable for all ages, including children aged 7 and up with an accompanying adult.  

Installing a salvaged hardwood floor

Saturday, Jan. 30, 2 to 4 p.m.

Workshop leader:  Mike Haverkamp

Do-it-yourselfers are invited to join the Salvage Barn and Mike Haverkamp to learn how to reburbish and install a salvaged hardwood floor. It’s not only an eco-friendly process, it also saves money and materials. The seminar will include information on getting started, stripping and refinishing, and the tools used during floor installation, including the use of a pneumatic air nailer.  The workshop will present tips of the trade for the do-it-yourselfer and also provide strategies and ideas for those who would like a little more assistance.

Creating rugs from scrap material

Wednesday, Feb. 3, 6 to 8 p.m.

Workshop leader: Jennifer Hobbs

In the last class of the series, join local upcycling crafter Jennifer Hobbs to create rugs from scrap materials. Some material and scissors will be brought for use, but class members are encouraged to bring a sharp pair of scissors and scrap fabrics or old clothes to cut up and use for their project.

Repurposing pallets to home decor

Wednesday, Feb.10, 6 to 8 p.m.

Workshop leader:  Jeni Michelson

Turn scrap pallets into beautiful, functional items for your home. In this session, create a hanging wine bottle and glass holder and get some great ideas and patterns for other projects, too. This workshop will also teach tips and tricks to make pallet projects simpler and quicker. 

To register

While registrations are not required, they would be appreciated. To sign up, or for more information on classes, contact City of Iowa City Recycling Coordinator Jennifer Jordan at 319-887-6160 or

Date of publication

Tuesday, December 29, 2015