Repurposing Goes Classy in UpCycled Style

UpCycled Style sells a variety of useful and lovely products repurposed from discarded bottles. Photo: Courtesy Candi Karsjens

UpCycled Style sells a variety of useful and lovely products repurposed from discarded bottles. Photo: Yours Truly Photography

Candi Karsjens is an ecopreneur in every sense of the word. She is an environmentalist, who repurposes and upcycles other people’s cast-off bottles into gorgeous glasses, bowls, vases, and more, giving each one an entirely new for years to come. She also creates candles and creams free of toxic chemicals and even pours candles into her upcycled glass holders. Karsjens has two built-from-the-ground-up small businesses she’s now combining into one: Aromatic Infusions/Upcycled Style.

Next weekend, Candi’s products will make their first appearance at the Des Moines Farmers’ Market. If you’re in the area, I encourage you to meet the designer and see her full range of cool products.

In this post, I’ll focus on the Upcycled Style products we tried. In my next post, I’ll review some of her Aromatic Infusions products.

Wine-Bottle Tumblers

UpCycled Style focuses on repurposing bottles that would otherwise be trashed. And the old saw, “One man’s [or one woman’s, thank you] trash is another’s treasure” couldn’t be more fitting for this part of her business.

UpCycled Style's product packaging is also environmentally friendly and made from recycled cardboard. Photo: Courtesy Candi Karsjens

UpCycled Style's product packaging is also environmentally friendly and made from recycled cardboard. Photo: Yours Truly Photography

At my son Aaron’s birthday dinner last weekend, Joe and I served beverages in beautiful cobalt blue glasses. At first glance, the seven glasses on the table looked like a perfect set. But three of them were store-bought drinking glasses, and four were Candi’s handcrafted, upcycled glasses made from wine bottles.

It took a few minutes for our family members to figure out the difference. The cobalt color was exactly the same. The shape, though, was the giveaway.

The store-bought glasses were wider at the top, while the upcycled glasses were straight-sided cylinders. One other thing—the upcycled glasses were as thick and sturdy as, well, wine bottles. (Have you ever tried to break a wine bottle? Not as easy as it looks in the movies.)

When she realized what she was holding, Joe’s daughter, Megan, exclaimed, “I love it!”

Our other family members agreed. They all liked the color and we amazed at how well they matched our other glasses. Others were impressed that the manufacturing markings remained at the base of each bottle. And we all liked the solid feel of the heavy glass in our hands.

The rims aren’t quite as rounded and smooth as you might be accustomed to in a store-bought glass. But we found them perfectly comfortable for drinking. Karsjens’ uses a three-step cutting and polishing process that does a remarkable job of transforming wine bottles into esthetically pleasing tumblers.

The tumblers came to us packaged in a cute, recycled-cardboard, four-pack carrier. My first thought upon opening the box was that these would be a perfect house-warming or wedding-shower gift. (Admission of selfishness: I love these too much to give them up. I’ll have to buy another pack for my next gift occasion.)

Soda-Bottle Juice Glasses

Carter gets a "drinking lesson" from one of Karsjens' Orange Crush glasses. Photo: J Wasson

Carter gets a "drinking lesson" from one of Karsjens' Orange Crush glasses. Photo: J Wasson

Our grandson, Carter, is learning to drink from a glass. While he’s far too young at 11 months to be trusted with a fragile glass all by himself, he enjoyed slurping from another of Karsjens’s creations while his dad, Kyle, held it.

This juice-sized glass was originally an Orange Crush bottle, cut just the right size for our little guy. I admit to being a bit nervous at the sound of his tiny teeth hitting the rim, but he didn’t actually chomp down on it. And it’s far too tough for him to break even if he had. The glass was made from a soda bottle, after all, which was of necessity designed for tough use.

The soda bottle’s contours make the glass both attractive and easy to grip. Take a look at an Orange Crush (or Grape Crush—we received a sample of each) bottle in the store, and you’ll see what I mean. This glass won’t easily slip even in a child’s hands.

One interesting feature of many of Karsjens upcycled products is that they retain their original labels, as you may be able to see in the photo at right. If you’re a fan of Orange Crush, Grey Goose, or Patron, for example, you can order products bearing those labels for your home bar or kitchen. Or, you can buy products without the labels, and just enjoy the glass itself.

War on Trash

Karsjens got started upcycling wine bottles after her son expressed shock that she would commit to the trash heap glass that takes “thousands of years” to break down. She began her own war on trash, which she describes in her blog of the same name.

She takes this war personally and has committed her resources and time to reducing landfill waste by creating beautiful and useful products. Karsjens says:

What I love most about what I am doing is that I can fill a need with sustainable, recycled and repurposed items, and it helps to reduce the amount of trash we create. Whether a person believes in man-made climate change or not, the truth about trash is that we simply create too much of it as a species.

Watch for our next post on Karsjens’ Aromatic Infusions products from this Iowa ecopreneur.

Where to Shop

Des Moines Farmers Market

300 Court Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa

Meet Karsjens in person!



216 5th St.

Historic Valley Junction

Des Moines, IA


Green Goods for the Home

East Village

333 E. Grand

Des Moines, IA


The Styling Lane Salon & Gifts

840 12th St. NW

Mason City, IA


Shear Bliss Salon

700 Ken Pratt Blvd, Suite 115

Longmont, CO


That Iowa Girl

Iowa distributor for UpCycled Style and Aromatic Infusions

Contact Information

Candi Karsjens

Facebook: UpCycled Style

Etsy: AromaticInfusions

Blog: War on Trash

The Small Print

Blue Planet Green Living received complimentary samples of the products reviewed in this post. No other compensation or incentive was provided.

Our policy is to review only those products we feel merit overall positive comments. If we do not like a product more than we dislike it, we do not review it. We are not influenced by free products and provide our honest opinions. For more information, please visit the Policies tab on the top navigation bar.

Julia Wasson


Blue Planet Green Living (Home Page)



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