A friend of mine gifted me with 15 unused KFC buckets (you know, the kind you see in commercials, brimming with fried chicken). They were left over from some work event, probably used to collect tickets or donations. She had no use for them, but figured I would (and she was right).
They’ve been great for sorting materials while I prep for different projects and I decided I would use them when I visit schools, to create a buffet of supplies, neatly organized, but easily accessed.
First, however, I knew I had to re-cover them.
Because I know at least one friend will tease that I may have too much time on my hands if I’m pausing to decorate paper buckets, allow me to explain.
Upcyclers walk a fine line between chic and cheap. I frequently find people don’t know (or don’t believe) there’s a difference between upcycling and recycling, let alone understand the goal of crafting a more sustainable world. In jest or in judgement, the process and products of upcycling are often dismissed as frugality gone too far.
So, despite the fact that these buckets are uber-useful (not to mention a FREE resource for an educator/artist), if the logo is left visible, that’s all some people will see; “Oh, how clever. You used chicken buckets.” But, if I cover that logo, the focus remains where it should: on the container’s function and its contents.
No, I didn’t put a lot of time or thought into covering them – just a quick coat of Mod Podge and pages from old books once bound for the trash, plus washi tape to cover some scraggly seams – but look at the difference.
In the end, each time I’ve used them I’ve been unable to resist sharing the humble origin story for these buckets. I get the same reaction every time: people stare at them for a moment, then smile in recognition and marvel at how they didn’t notice (until now).
And there’s a teachable moment in that, too.