For my upcycle project I started with looking at making some sort of clothing out of other clothing that I no longer wear. This idea led me to the internet where I started looking at other upcycle projects. This is where I stumbled upon people making planter boxes out of old household items, so I took a look around and decided I have a drawer I no longer use that would make the perfect planter. The drawer is perfect because it no longer has a use to me, and its old and made of plastic so it would likely just be sent to a landfill if I decided to get rid of it. The drawer I plan on using is shown below. To fit an aesthetic, I have decided to try and get a rustic aesthetic, which is shown below the plastic drawer. This ultimately may be difficult given that the plastic drawers do not resemble anything rustic at all to start with. My plan is to line the plastic with wood so that it becomes more natural looking.
Plastic Drawer & Rustic Aesthetic
Some initial designs I looked at upcycled things like old tires that had been painted such as in the photo below. Other people used a wide variety of things ranging from old tin cans, old shoes, to a variety of kitchen utensils.
I also love plants and gardens and know how tedious it can be to water them every day, so this inspired me to attempt to incorporate a sort of irrigation system that would allow you to fill a bowl of water that would drain into the plants over time. For this, I plan on using old kitchen Tupperware that I no longer use, this way all material that goes into this piece will all be recycled and repurposed.
Moving forward into my garden plant box, I took my initial idea and did a few hand sketches to fully figure out what I was planning on doing. I then acquired my materials from Resource located in boulder. I was able to purchase all of my wood for 8 dollars and 50 cents. I was then able to cut the wood into the sizes needed for my design. My initial concept sketch was transformed to an online sketch done in InDesign shown below.
Since that concept design, I have taken it into reality. With all the materials I needed I began fabricating the final design. With all the wood cut into the desired lengths (which depended on the plastic drawers), I was able to paint them. The paint I chose was called Espresso Brown, which I chose to affirm my natural aesthetic. I hope to complete this project with the final artifact giving a natural feeling. The painted wood can be seen below.
Wood bought and cut to length
The next step was applying the wood to the plastic drawer. I was able to screw in a few of the pieces which set the pace for the overall design. The initial frame can be seen below.
From here, I needed a way to get the drawers to stay open, in a cascading way. To achieve this, I put cross bars perpendicular to the drawers that wedged them open and held them in place. I then applied an adhesive to get them to stay. After this I needed to add support to the overall frame so that it would be able to carry a heavy load of plants. I cut two long bars at an angle and drilled those into the cross bars to fully secure everything. These steps can be seen below.
The next step was creating the plant pots themselves, for this I used old Tupperware that I had lying around in my kitchen. I drilled out holes into the bottom of these so that the water would be able to filter through, I also drilled holes in the bottom of the plastic drawers themselves so that they would nor fill with water. I was able to fit two pots in each drawer, allowing for six total different plants.
From here, I decided to paint all of the remaining grey plastic on the frame to complete the aesthetic. I decided to leave the drawers themselves clear because of a suggestion made in an earlier post, that it would be cool to be able to see roots growing when the planter is implemented.
Painted Base design
The last step was attempting to incorporate the self-watering feature. For this, I cut out a line of acrylic tubing and ran it through the entire planter in and out of each drawer. I cut little holes into the tubing so that when water passed through, it would spray out into the plants. However, with initial testing, the water never had enough pressure to leak into the plant pots, so no water was ever actually going into the plants. Because of this, I removed that feature and left it as it is, although I do plan on adding it in the future around summertime when I can plant real plants in it. To implement I would use a small water pump that are used for garden fountains to drive the water pressure up and actually water the plants.
The end result came out way better than I had originally expected, even though it differed from the initial concept sketches I had done. These major differences occurred because the wood that I was able to find had a certain thickness and width that I could not control, so I was only able to cut different lengths to achieve my aesthetic. Overall, this will make a wonderful present to my parents, especially knowing it is made of recycled materials.
Empty, and Ready for Plants
Fully Loaded with Fake Flowers
Here is the link to my in class presentation, enjoy!