We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs.

When someone gifts your child an unattractive plastic toy, you know they mean well, but the thing is, you’re the one who’s stuck with storing (read: hiding) the thing. Australia-based stylist Geneva Vanderzeil, author of Home Is Where You Make It, has learned how to get creative with the items her 18-month-old, Frankie, inherits. Vanderzeil’s most recent project: a $3 scooter that her mother scored at a thrift store. “It hurt my eyes,” she recalls. So the pro DIYer immediately went to work on upcycling the toy (pun intended).

The transformation (see the step-by-step on Vanderzeil’s blog, Collective Gen, here) came down to some strings of rope, a hot-glue gun, and a few cans of paint. The trick is getting the color to stick: If you use ordinary acrylic on poly plastic, it will just chip off. Vanderzeil started with a satin white primer made to bond to tricky surfaces, waited for it to dry, then covered the whole body in two coats of matte blush pink paint. Next, she used a super-durable terracotta paving paint to accent the handles and seat. To protect the wheels from the paint job, Vanderzeil covered them with plastic bags. 

Next came a touch of texture: She lined the handles in hot glue and slowly wrapped two rows of rope around them before tying the ends off in a tight knot. Vanderzeil took a similar approach to the seat, outlining the edge in glue before encircling the whole thing in the cotton cord. Now little Frankie is riding in style.

See more stories like this:  Bubble Glazing Isn’t Just Satisfying to Watch, It’s a Cinch to DIY How to Turn a Vase Into a Lamp—With Zero Electrical Know-How I’m No DIY Pro, But This IKEA Hack Took Me 10 Minutes Flat