Make Something Amazing

The most environmentally friendly product is the one you didn’t buy.
– Joshua Becker

Want to learn how to do it? Bingo! We can turn you into a crap-to-fab master in no time. Learn more about our classes.

If imagination and creativity can change the world, just think what they can do to piece of furniture thrown in a dumpster.

Crap to Fab was started by four artists: Kim Murray, Norma Frank, and Manuel Medrano. The idea was to keep stuff out of the landfill and turn it into works of art. Take a look at our project gallery and you’ll see what we mean.

You can do this. Anybody can. It’s all about mindset, some knowledge, and a little bit of creativity. The best part? Once you start rescuing items that would otherwise be tossed — you’ll soon be addicted and start seeing possibilities everywhere. This is loads of fun – not loads of junk!  And guess what? You can even profit from doing this. Picture putting these adorable pieces up on Craigslist. People love it.

Oh, and just to be clear, we’re not asking you to become a dumpster diver (unless you want to). You can visit garage sales, ask friends if they have stuff they want to get rid off, or even visit grandma’s old attic. Junk is literally everywhere. And more often than not it’s freeee! Sometimes your future masterpiece is right in front of you. It’s time for a perspective change.

Almost anything can be used again somehow.

Get creative! What do you need in your house? A shelving unit? Drawers? A new bathroom sink? Something to creatively cover a wall maybe? Start with a plan, then go find the pieces to create what you’re looking for!

You can hit up garage or estate sales, cruise down the street or alley on trash day, peruse through Craig’s List, hit up thrift stores, or ask your friends and family if they have something they want to get rid of. (Who doesn’t?! And if you offer free offloading, they might get pretty excited.)

« This twin bed frame became a divider wall!  Scrap wood (from a pallet and a shelving unit) was combined with a canvas, paint, and some creativity to make something beautiful and useful!

Fix it up!

Did you find something that would be the perfect addition to your home if only it looked better or actually worked? If it’s broken, repair it!  If you don’t have the know-how to get started, Google or YouTube it. People have amazing ideas that will inspire you!

If it looks bad, that’s easy. Sandpaper, paint, and supplies for tiling are pretty inexpensive (especially if you get creative with what you’re using for tile.) With a few supplies and a little effort, you can cover the surface with a fresh, new look. The landfill won’t miss it.

« This old “piano bench” was super cool and unique…but it was pretty beat up. With some sanding, paint, and tile accent strip at the bottom for fun, it’s now a great window seat for the cat.

Think outside the box!

Sometimes, bits and pieces you’ve been collecting can be made into a collage of sorts. Who knew?!  You can connect everything with brackets, twine, wire, or whatever you’ve got. Lay it all out and you’ll get ideas as you go along.

There are so many cool ideas and photos online – it’s an endless resource for inspiration.  If you haven’t ventured into the realm of Pinterest, you may want to start there. People come up with all kinds of amazing stuff, often utilizing the exact item(s) you’ll be working with!  It’s less expensive to find something to start with – and it will keep those things out of the landfill.

Also, there is something to be said about “rusty treasures” when it comes to embellishing your masterpiece! If you happen across a junk pile, don’t look the other way!

landfill bin

Rescue items that would otherwise be tossed.

Some stuff can be cleaned up and refinished to look great again. Other stuff may need repair, a bit of an overhaul, or be reinvented.

The biggest offenders in landfills are bulky furniture and particle board pieces. You know…those drawers you bought for cheap because you didn’t have the money at the time to buy something nicer. It doesn’t take long for those pieces to start looking shabby and beat up – and for you to want to get rid of them.

So if we can take some bulky items away from the landfill pile, maybe there will be more room for trash that should be in the pile. Novel idea, right? Take another look at what you’re about to toss. Can it be redeemed? Can it find a new home where someone could really love it? You may shock yourself and never want to get rid of it! Let’s find out!

Project Gallery

Gold Rush
White Drawer Before

Artists Behind it All

Kim Murray
Kim Murray
graphic & web design, painting, furniture refinishing, décor creator, color/texture junkie

Kim loves a good challenge and can see the potential in nearly anything. In addition to proudly digging through the landfill-bound assortment of goodies, she’s also been known to venture over to a pile someone irresponsibly dumped at the curb (what is wrong with people?!)

Kim especially loves tiling things and has a passion for color. No amount of “ugly” can stop a few layers of paint from making it look fantastic!

Norma Frank
Norma Frank
web developer and programmer, furniture refinisher, occasion ambiance strategist

Norma gets excited when she is able to use her imagination and creativity to improve the look and functionality of the pieces she rescues. She loves being able to use her hands and get dirty – she doesn’t get to do tht at her desk job. Norma feels great when a piece headed for destruction in the landfill gets an opportunity to be useful and beautiful again. Converting an old piece into something completely different is a great challenge she loves to take on. So bring it!

Manuel Medrano
Manuel Medrano
environmental services manager, landfill rescue expert, repurpose artist

Manuel Medrano has worked in the sustainability field for 15 years and is focused on recycling, hazardous waste management, business development and public education. Manuel strongly believes that a solution to our waste problem is to reuse, repair or repurpose items rather than sending them to area landfills. Manuel belongs to several multi-agency committees and working groups focused on cross-border (U.S.-Mexico) environmental health.

And in his “spare time”, he has a wonderful family he enjoys spending time with.