Reducing waste through upcycling, repurposing, refashioning and reloving.

Upcycle: South African style...


This refabber was very quiet Nov-early Jan because I was home in South Africa for the first time in over a decade! It was an amazing trip ... restorative and inspiring. And I took a ton of "refab" pictures to share with you! The first set focuses, obviously, on upcycling. It's everywhere! It always has been ... people living below the poverty line (with no capital) create things using found materials. Free materials whenever possible. In the past, most of this stuff was sold on the side of the road. Today, it's easily found in more formalized settings ... everywhere from flea markets to high-end "souvenir" stores in Knysna and Cape Town. Soda and tin cans are an obvious, go-to material. So you'll see a lot of things created from those. But there were some surprises!

Scroll down for inspiration and tutorials... 


Above and below: Flour-sack pants and shorts. They are unimaginably soft ...  




I love these tuna can clocks! I had a lot of fun reconnecting with "South African time" ... things get done "just now" (soon), "now now" (in a while) and ... um ... whenever, I guess. It's all quite loose. Want to make one? Go here.


Beautiful mirrors framed with pop cans ... Some simple instructions here.


The SA version of the vinyl purse ... follow these instructions to make one of your own


DRUM magazine is iconic ... so celebrating these vintage covers in a necklace is fitting. 


Soda/Beer can caps. No tutorial for these... they look very tricky.


I really enjoyed how traditional RSA brands (All Gold, Koo, Lucky Star, Joko etc) are being celebrated in products. "Local is Lekker" (Local is good) is a slogan seen everywhere ... SA pride on display.


Above and below: Candy and gum wrappers rolled up tight and woven into place mats. Huge amount of work!



Oil cans have always been upcycled ... the guitars are famous (more on that some other time). I loved the detail in these airplanes.


Soda can coasters ... simple tutorial for you at The Idea Room.


Fun combination of soda cans and vinyl... lots of work!

Look out for another South-Africa-centric post in the near future ... that one will focus on more high-end repurposing/upcycling and fine art. 




59 comments on "Upcycle: South African style..."
  1. Wow, creativity unlimited by raw materials. Just use what you've got. Amazing. Thanks for sharing.

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  2. I love all the colors. Also, it's amazing how commercial products can be turned into art that looks very individual -- not like a room full of corporate folks designed them for the bottom line.

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  3. I am so glad I found your website!

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  4. I LOVE these! So unique and quirky!
    onecheaplady@yahoo.com

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  5. The giraffe and the coasters are great! But my favorite is that record purse! I would rock that everywhere!

    -Heather Wine

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  6. Lilith Katz1/29/13, 8:06 PM

    The giraffe is fantastic. I love seeing the different ways people find to reuse items that would otherwise be thrown away

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  7. Love these, colorful and fun. Giraffe is sooo cute!

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  8. Very unique. Fun gifts.

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  9. Wow these are wonderful!! I would love to own any of them but love the giraffe

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  10. these upcycled things i have been seeing lately are super cool :)

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  11. Oh I just love all your new stuff! Thank you for the giveaway.

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  12. My sister has had a purse like that and it has lasted a long time!

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  13. I want everything...they are so cool!

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  14. That giraffe would make a great conversation piece!

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  15. wooooow thanks for this chance. hugs

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  16. Interesting post!
    Giveaway is so unique :)
    x

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  17. I have many South African friends and this would be great fun to win!

    Deborah
    pinkscissorsdesign @gmail .com

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  18. I loved all the photos! I bet the trip was awesome:). My hubs is from George, South Africa. He moved to the US when he was 12. That was 28 years ago. He would love to go back for a visit. He has such fond memories of his time there. Now onto your giveaway...I would love to win this for my daughter! She collects giraffe stuff (she is 12) and this is such a cool piece!

    Angie

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  19. Such creativity! Thanks for the chance :)

    marija.majerle at gmail dot com

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  20. i've never seen anything like all of these things. great work and so different!

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  21. These true art pieces are spectacular. Thank you for the chance at owning one.

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  22. The giraffe is amazing! Everything in this post is amazing, but I am in love with the giraffes :D [and that record purse, omg <3 hahaha]

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  23. Love these! Giraffe is very cute :)
    v_theberge@hotmail.com

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  24. the giraffe is cute! i hope to win.

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  25. This is so unique, I adore it.

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  26. thanks for a great giveaway - fingers crossed

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  27. Beautiful giraffe!

    alholm.co at gmail dot com

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  28. Love this prize. What a unique idea. Thank you for the giveaway!

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  29. I love how much was put into each item made! They've really got the idea of recycling and profiting down! Go South Africa!

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  30. awesome prize. Love this work

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  31. This is cute and unique

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  32. So neat! Everyone needs at soda can giraffe!

    hrfarley at gmail dot com

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  33. What fantastic pieces! Fingers crossed!

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  34. What fabulous--and unique--gifts!
    bethelderton59 at gmail dot com

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  35. This is great! Love it!
    hrddiana556@gmail.com

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  36. These are all fantastic!

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  37. That is so neat, I love all the things that can be made out of cans.
    My pinterest name is longsgl

    longshaw4735@hotmail.com

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  38. i LOVE upcycled products! thanks fo what you do!

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  39. Andrea Henry2/2/13, 11:37 AM

    well that's the coolest reuse I have seen.

    caden at pineland.net

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  40. Adorable piece!!

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  41. jodi frasier2/2/13, 12:02 PM

    I would love to win this.. My daughter is a giraffe fanatic and she would get a kick out of this. Thnaks

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  42. This is such a great giveaway! Most of what I own is upcycled in some way :)
    Elle
    hey_wren@yahoo.com

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  43. Everything is so unique and wonderfully unusual!

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  44. that is so creative

    sandradavis07 at comcast dot net

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  45. They all look super cool and creative! Love them all!
    Thank You for this awesome giveaway

    Fiona N

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  46. i love their products, great way to use up old stuff.

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  47. Wow! this is so awesome! I work as a freelance interior designer since I retired at times and I LOVE THIS!!!!! I hope I win. LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!!! What a talent! I can hardly wait to win!!! - Ruth Pople

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  48. FANTASTIC POST AND WONDERFUL GIFT!!
    I WOULD CHERISH IT <3 <3

    deb_oro@yahoo.gr

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  49. Neat looking things . I want some they are kewl

    rwhit_99 AT yahoo DOT com

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  50. I totally love to recycle in a creative way! These ideas are very cool:)

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