Tag Archives: waste

Upcycling a fish can: The journey of the humble “Toona can”

Who would have guessed that one of my smallest products, would become my most popular?

The idea to upcycle a can came to me about a year ago when I developed the Pea can stationery holder. Read about it here.


As I was designing a product for specifically the tourist market, I realised that this specific can was not practical in terms of size and packaging. So I went back to the drawing board!

I started designing a few icons and lids for the tuna cans…yes…fish cans. They immediately started selling, but the product development was far from done.

I went on to work on a few different ranges from animals to plants, etc. I also had a set-back when the supplier’s laser machine packed up. I quickly had to find another supplier to help me roll out the product fast enough to satisfy the demand.

I found a great supplier who helped me refine the product even further. Since then, I have been supplying some tourist shops in and around the city.

However, we needed another platform to officially launch our product into the market. So we recently took part in an awesome local platform for handmade creativity, called Kamersvol Geskenke, or KAMERS/Makers.

Chatting to clients

Explaining the benefits of the product


Gained some new fans!


Tuis Home Magazine loved it!


A picture sent by a fan/client after the show


The response to the product has really surprised me. Not that I didn’t expect it…I LOVE IT! It really is such a cool way of upcycling tuna cans!


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What is your intention exactly?

Meaning, how do you re-purpose or re-use?  This question drives me daily.  As you might know by know…I am huge on recycling as you can read right here.

Here are a few small projects I have been busy with this last few months:

Let’s start in the bathroom.  I worked on an event project last year and my boss was clearing out her garage.  Being a natural scavenger, I left with a few ‘goodies’.  This included a bag of empty CD & DVD holders and an old dog kennel.  Yes, I loaded an old rotten kennel in the car.

Normally these ‘finds’ would lie and wait till one day I get a light bulb moment as to how to use it.  So later I got inspired by this picture I saw on the Internet:


I made my own version of it in the bathroom.  It is still in progress as I plan to expand it to fill the whole wall.

CD holder art

Then we also needed a duck board in the bathroom.  I wanted a nice rustic look and decided that the weathered wood from the rotten kennel would be perfect.  I would use those pieces that were still in a better condition.  This project took me about 2 hours  and saved me buying one.

Duck board

Also the girls’ room needed a light fixture.

Need some TLC

When we visited Harties earlier this year, I picked up this box with Styrofoam-like stuff at the mall.

Protective plastic for bottles

I had this drum-light but it needed some spunk.  I loved the organic look of the foam.  So I slowly fixed it to the drum with a hot-glue gun.  Hot, sticky stuff for sure.  I still have a few blisters as a result.

Busy me

This is the end result:

Recycled drum light

I am still working on the design of the girls’ room as mentioned here.  So the light might change, but I like it for now.

Food for Thought:

The average person generates about 2.04 kilograms of rubbish every day – about 1.5 tons of solid waste per year. Although it is estimated that 75 percent of solid waste is recyclable, only about 30 percent is actually recycled.

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