UPCYCLE with these DIY Hacks

This post was sponsored by Tai Pei and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not the most crafty person in the world, but I do love a good upcycle challenge!  Last week, I attended a dinner where local Dallas artist Rachel Rushing taught us several different crafts (aka DIY Hacks) for reusing Tai Pei single serve meal containers in unique ways.

Upcycle with these DIY Hacks - The perfect crafts for reusing Tai Pei single serve frozen entree containers

When we arrived, I had no idea what to expect during the evening.  I knew I would be meeting and hanging out with a lot of people I usually only communicate with via keyboard, so that was exciting.  When I found out we would be getting our hands dirty to do an actual project, I was a little bit nervous.

Tai Pei Life Hacks Event Dallas with Rachel Rushing

Let’s face it, as a mom, I sometimes dread getting out of my comfort zone.  This time was a little different, though.  We were going to be starting out by making our very own Pinhole Camera!  I don’t think I had heard that term prior to then, but the thought was intriguing.  As Rachel was talking, I kept thinking, “You mean to tell me we’re going to actually make a functioning camera out of a frozen dinner container?  This is supposed to really work?”  Spoiler alert: YES.

Tai Pei Life Hacks Event Dallas with Rachel Rushing Teaching

While we were learning about the fun hacks that had been thought up for us, we were able to sample some Tai Pei Asian-inspired frozen entrees.  I love that the containers are single-serve, but it’s a generous portion.  I love a big serving when it’s something like these – stuffed with high quality ingredients like tender vegetables, flavor-infused rice, and chunks of perfectly seasoned meats. Drool.  We had some Beef and Broccoli, General Tso’s Spicy Chicken, and Chicken Chow Mein.  They also spoiled us with Chicken Potstickers and Eggrolls.

Tai Pei Chicken Chow Mein and Potsticker

The best part of this party’s food was that I can recreate the exact same flavor experience at my house any time I want without slaving away in the kitchen or paying an arm and a leg.  Score!

Upcycle with these DIY Hacks

Here are the cool ways that we were shown to reuse our Tai Pei frozen dinner containers.  I was excited that we got to take one of each home.

Upcycle DIY Hack Pinhole Camera Set Up

The set up to take my photo.

1. Pinhole Camera

I’m describing this in greater detail at the bottom of this blog post, but basically we made the camera and got to take and develop our very own photograph!  Mine actually turned out really well for it being my very first try.

Upcycle DIY Hack Pinhole Camera - Resulting Photograph

My photograph!

2. Concrete planter

This one looks really neat!  I’ve heard of these before, but using things like water bottles or jugs.

Tai Pei Concrete Planter DIY Upcycle Hack

Basically, what you need here is an empty Tai Pei container, some fast-setting concrete mix, a piece of PVC pipe and a piece of the Tai Pei lid cut out and attached to one end of the PVC pipe to cover one side.  You’ll fill the Tai Pei container with the concrete and then insert the covered end of the PVC pipe where you want the “vase” part to be in your planter.  Let that sit around 8 hours and remove the pipe (otherwise, it’ll become part of your planter!).  Let the concrete sit until completely hardened to handle it.  Once it’s done, you can peel off the Tai Pei container and use it as is or paint the concrete to match your decor.

3. Pinata-Inspired Lamp

This one is super cute!  Just cover your Tai Pei container with your favorite color of tissue paper, glued on.  Then use scissors to cut some fringe on there.

Tai Pei Pinata Inspired Lamp

You can use this either open side up or open side down with an LED light or battery operated tealight candle as your light source.  This is a CUTE, quick, and cheap idea to spruce up a child’s room or a guest bathroom.

Tai Pei container hack Pinata-Inspired Lamp

4. Homemade Fire Starter

This is the easiest of the bunch.  If you love to go camping or have a fire pit, you’re going to smack yourself on the head, this is such a simple idea!  To make, simple place dried branches (Rachel used an old, dried out, real Christmas tree) inside of your Tai Pei container.

Tai Pei life hack - Easy fire starter

To transport easily to your next camp-out, simply keep the lid on and you’re ready to go.  The dry branches will quickly catch fire, thent he Tai Pei box will begin to burn, and eventually it will get the rest of your fire going as well.

5. Concrete Origami Vase

I never realized that an origami vase was a thing, but they are, and they are so cool!  This hack is actually a take on it that will make it last longer and match that planter mentioned above.

Tai Pei Hack - Origami Vase DIY with Concrete
Open your used, cleaned Tai Pei meal container and cut one side and along the bottom to make it lay flat, like a sheet of paper.  Find an origami vase pattern online that you like and cut your container to the right size to use as your origami paper.  Once you have created the paper vase, fill it with quick-setting concrete and be sure to create a small space at the top for a stem or two of flowers using a pencil or stick.  Once the cement is set, you can peel off the paper to reveal your new vase.  Feel free to paint or decorate however you’d like.  It’s so dainty and different!

Tai Pei Meals

With just a microwave and a couple of minutes, your next meal is served.  My kids love the Chicken Fried Rice the best.  They say it’s better than when I make PB&J tortilla roll-ups.  Fine, fine, they’re right.  I like that they’re so easy to make that my big kids can handle it on their own.  The food itself is high quality, and the packaging is SO easy to use.

Tai Pei frozen individual Asian-inspired dinners

My husband takes them to work for a quick lunch that’s hearty and made with wholesome ingredients.  There are several varieties to choose from, so I try to keep a few in the freezer so he can just grab and go without ever getting bored!  His favorite is probably the Beef and Broccoli.

MY favorite Tai Pei flavor is the General Tso’s Spicy Chicken.  I was psyched when they sampled this at our event, and I may have snuck a second helping for my sample plate.

Looking for Tai Pei near you?  It’s in the freezer section, and check out this store locator to find out where.  We buy ours at Kroger, but it’s also here locally at Tom Thumb and Wal-Mart.  They’re already a great value (WAY cheaper than take out), but you can even save more money by printing out a Tai Pei coupon to use on your next shopping trip!

DIY Tai Pei Pinhole Camera

If you’re interested in making your own pinhole camera, it’s actually quite simple.  I’m attaching these instructions here for you so you can give it a try!

Tai Pei Pinhole Camera DIY


Empty Tai Pei container, with lid
BLACK Gaffer Tape (the other colors are for decoration – knock yourself out if you want to decorate yours!)
Small box cutter or similar blade
1 small rectangle or square of aluminum cut from a used aluminum can
B&W Photographic Paper
Something to pierce a small hole in the aluminum (I actually borrowed another gal’s earring and it worked perfectly!)

To Make:

  1. Begin by covering your Tai Pei container completely on the outside (including the bottom and including the lid) with the gaffer tape.  You will want to do this to make the camera completely opaque so no unintentional sunlight gets in.  Decorate on top of that if you want to once you’re done.
  2. Using your small box cutter, cut a small window on the container.
  3. Cut a rectangle or square piece of aluminum to go in the window, making it larger than the window and taping it down with your gaffer tape.
  4. Poke a small hole in your aluminum, and now you’ve created the pinhole for your camera.
  5. Cover your pinhole with a small piece of gaffer tape to keep it opaque until you are actually ready to take a picture.
  6. IN A DARK ROOM SETTING, place a piece of B&W photographer paper IN your Tai Pei pinhole camera on the opposite side of your pinhole.  The curve of the photo paper will match the curve of your container.  Place the lid back on.

Now, it’s ready to use!  There are many posts on how to use the camera, as well as how to process it with darkroom equipment.  I found a blogger named Ashley Hackshaw to have some amazing tips and advice, so just search her name and pinhole camera and you should be set!

What are some of your favorite DIY Hacks to Upcycle?

About Jenn L

Jenn lives in Fort Worth, Texas with her husband and 5 children. The family likes to eat healthy and try new recipes. Jenn homeschools all of the kids. She is heavily involved with local bloggers and is slightly addicted to social media.


  1. that was quite interesting to read. Glad I stopped in!

  2. I don’t really understand the purpose of a concrete planter. Is it so that your plant won’t blow over outside? Sorry if I’m asking a dumb question. I’m a little slow on the whole gardening thing! 😉

Speak Your Mind


CommentLuv badge