The husk, which contains useful fibre, known as coir , is not discarded but is set aside to produce, for example, coconut matting.
All he had to do was paint the face white, stick bits of coir from a coconut for ears and a red beak-like nose of colour paper and presto!
Elegance and durability are even now the factors that stand in favour of coir products and coir has climbed high to occupy the pride of place in every interior decorator's purchase list.
Oxfam's Matara team has also helped workers previously employed in the coir (coconut fibre) and lace industries.
Some even of these - like jute, sisal, coir , and kapok - only began to be imported into Britain from the nineteenth century onwards.
Somewhere in between, a group of three old women in traditional attire - with big earrings - make coir from coconut husk using rusted machines.
But now, Sabu often works in the same place with simple materials such as plaster of Paris, coir fibre and gunny cloth, things that charm him forever.
Standard potting mixes made up of finely milled bark chips can altered to a specific plant's special needs by mixing them with other potting compost ingredients such as vermiculite, perlite, coir fibre or leaf mould.
Products from coir , coconut shells, sisal, jute and a variety of other items can be put to good use, he feels.
The compost, including the addition of coir (fibre taken from coconut husk) can then be used to replace the peat normally used in a garden.