Coconut flesh is delicious and nutritious. The coconut shell has uses too, and finding ways to repurpose coconut shells you’ve got left over can prove an eco-friendly way to create a few things for around the house that help you out.
Here is a list of ideas for re-purposing used whole (with top off) or half coconut shells:
- Container: Use the coconut shell to keep trinkets, treasures and small items in. Things to keep inside might include rubber bands, keys, toys, pens and pencils, twist ties, your stash of used plastic bags, etc.
- Plant holder: Grow a small plant in the coconut shell. While half a coconut shell can work, having it cut about three quarters of its height is usually the best size for a coconut shell plant holder. Drill or pierce some drainage holes in the base of the shell first, and line with sphagnum moss.
- Hanging plant holders are another option.
- Bird feeder: Turn into a hanging bird feeder. Drill some holes at even spaces around the top and thread through some heavy twine or thin rope. Tie at the top with a ring or similar to allow for hanging. Fill with birdseed and hang in an appropriate place. Clean regularly.
- An alternative is to fill the feeder with suet/fat and seed mix, using the shell as the mould and container for the mix.
- Children’s crafts: Have the kids use their imagination to turn coconut shell halves into heads, faces, toys, decorations or anything else that takes their fancy.
- Basket: As with the idea for the bird feeder, add heavy string or light rope to form a hanging handle. Use the coconut shell basket to carry things in, such as freshly cut herbs and flowers, freshly laid eggs and seeds from your garden.
- Natural candle holder: If you like making your own candles, use the coconut as the container into which you tip the wax. Keep the wick centered and it’ll be a great candle for many hours.
- Bowl: As a bowl, the shell can hold anything you like. A fun thing to try is a bowl of nuts still in their shells; try macadamias, Brazil nuts, almonds and walnuts, for example. Keep a nutcracker nearby to encourage snacking on healthy nuts.
Add your own ideas and help this to grow!
Other (advanced) uses
If you’re craft clever, you might be able to turn the shell into sculpted, carved or sawed craft items.
- Lampshade: If you’re good with carving, you could carve a whole shell with neat holes in a pretty pattern. Add a globe and lamp base and you’ll have a wonderful lamp with many light patterns glowing from it.
- Jewellery: Carve pieces of the shell into necklaces, earrings and other jewellery. Designs for barrettes and elastics can be carved for hair accessories.
- Painting: If you have good artist skills, paint an image on the coconut shell.
- Coconut buttons: Carve buttons from the coconut shell fragments. Durable and pretty.
Things to be mindful of
- Clean out the shell and let it dry before using. Flesh and/or fluid left inside the shell may rot and encourage mould growth, depending on the end use and placement.
- A split shell may not be suitable for the purpose you’re intending. Be sure about the strength required before using a split shell.
- Use appropriate care when handling hammers and sharp tools to manipulate the shell.
- Coconut shells are natural and will break down over (a long) time, more so when exposed to severe elements.
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