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Repurposing materials is just worthwhile. As we work to keep more stuff out of the landfill, as well as to avoid demanding more virgin resources be gleaned from the planet, we can find new ways to reuse what we’ve already got. With this in mind, repurposing materials is both an act of revolutionary greenness and a way to delve into our creative sides. In the end, we often get something that’s useful, that we are proud of and that’s less destructive for the planet.

Using old rusty roofing tin has become trendy of late. Corrugated metal provides a rustic look that pairs well with equally hip reclaimed barn wood. It’s a great, lightweight material that works well for covering large expanses quickly, making it a perfect fit for constructing walls, fences, paneling and more. It can also be cut down to tiny metal accents for pieces of furniture or frames.

Easy to come by, typically either very cheap or free, old roofing tin proves to be a versatile repurposed material with which to do DIY projects, both small and large.

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Source: Jon Kneller/Flickr

1. Fencing

Rather than going chain link or wooden pickets, old roofing tin can make an attractive fence that provides both privacy and protection, as well as a bit of panache. Corrugated metal can be framed in wood and turned sideways to make an attractive garden fence, or it can be stood vertically and screwed to wooden framing to create a privacy fence. Some people also like to cut out shapes in the metal, such as butterflies and flowers, to add some more pizzazz.

2. Feature Wall

Putting panels of rusted tin over a wall can make for an interesting accent in a room. It can also be functional in places where water might splash, such as behind a sink or around a shower. Another popular version of this is putting roofing metal above fireplace mantels. Other people choose an exterior wall or area of the house to accentuate. Whatever version might seem interesting, repurposed tin will create a nice feature to break up the monotony of the same old four walls.

3. Shelf Backing

Whether it’s an old shelving unit that needs repair (the backs are always deteriorating on those) or a unit being made of old barn wood, old roofing tin makes great, sturdy backing for shelves. It’ll pair well with the wood, and they’ll get the job done.

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Source: Marie Kaz/Shutterstock

4. Birdhouse Roofs

Birdhouses and birdfeeders are simple DIY projects for beginning carpenters. They are fun to build, attractive decorations and useful for getting wildlife into the yard. Often the roofs of birdhouses are wooden, but using some old roofing tin as the top works very well and will provide some added protection from rot.

5. Door Paneling

Old roofing tin also makes excellent door paneling, either for full-sized doors—particular sliding barn-style doors—or cabinet doors. One of the great aspects of working with this material is that a lot of square footage can be covered quickly and without a huge amount of weight added. This makes tin very useful as panels. This can also work well for paneling the walls of a wet bar or counter.

6. Folding Partitions

Again, working off the notion that wood and tin work together to create the right kind of rustic vibe, individual wooden frames can be built around individual pieces of tin. Then, these framed pieces of tin can be hinged together, and they make an attractive partition that can divide a room or provide some shade or privacy on a patio.

7. Wall Art

There are many simple ways to make a piece of rusty tin into something worthy of hanging on the wall. In some cases, the tin itself is colorful and attractive, so it’s as easy as building a wood frame around it. Otherwise, a shape can be cut from the tin for a negative space effect. A letter can be cut out of a bit of corrugated tin and tacked to a simple backing of wood, or vice versa. Artistic types can actually do a painting using the tin as a canvass. Any of these would look nice at home, or they would be great crafts to sell at a farmers’ market.

One of both the perks and curses of living in an overdeveloped country, such as the US, is that we tend to have so many secondhand materials at our disposal. While it’s horrible to see so much waste, for those of us interested in repurposing, we have oodles of wood, cloth, windows and roofing tin from which to build our own adventures.

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