The inspiration for my upcycle project is my mom. Being that she loves trendy art that is suitable for display in our house, I figured I would create her a wall piece to hang in our house. My mom is originally from New Zealand (hence the reason the featured image is the New Zealand flag) and she is also a huge fan of wine!
From these simple facts about my mom, I decided why not make a piece of wall art that incorporates both! So, my plan for my upcycle project is to acquire a large quantity of used Wine Bottle Corks from various different companies with different labels (to add variety and intricacy to the project) and arrange them in the shape of New Zealand.
– image: https://www.enchantedlearning.com/oceania/newzealand/outlinemap/
– image: https://www.mnn.com/food/beverages/blogs/case-cork-bottle-stoppers
The Wine Cork will be arranged atop recycled plywood that will be initially cut in the shape of New Zealand, to act as a “panel” on which I plan to super-glue the cork to. This will enable the cork to be securely fashioned in the shape of New Zealand, as well as provide a “hard” substance on which I can attach “wall hooks” so that my mom can then attach it to her wall. The plywood will most likely be cut into this shape utilizing a template that will be placed on top of the plywood to ensure the accuracy of the cuts being made.
DESIGN / FABRICATION:
As described in the inspiration for my project, I wanted to basically take recycled wine cork, and create the outline/shape of New Zealand. The design for this was fairly simple. I primarily mirrored the shape from an image on my computer (such as the one shown above) and started with an outline of New Zealand on the recycled backboard that I found in the basement of my house. This took a couple tries because initially, I had placed the outline off center of the backboard, which decreased the amount of available space I had to make the island as proportional and to scale as possible. Once I realized this, I scrapped my first try, and re-positioned the outline so that it allowed for the best scaling and proportionality. This process took me roughly one hour before I was satisfied.
Once the outline of the Island was set in stone, I then started to fill in the outline with the remaining cork. My initial plan was to place the cork tightly together to fill in the outline. However, halfway through this process, I realized I didn’t have as many recycled wine corks as I thought I would need. Therefore, I couldn’t tightly pack the cork together as planned. So, I decided to spread out the cork within the outline to have all area covered as much as possible. By the way, nothing has been glued down yet, which was problematic (I found to my dismay) as I once accidentally bumped the backboard and a quarter of the shape toppled over.
Once everything was finally arranged to my liking, I started to super glue each cork to the backboard piece by piece. This was a tedious process and during the assembly, I realized I had to be very careful at where I placed the glued cork because if I bumped other cork while doing so, the shape would become distorted. The picture below shows the type of super glue I utilized during this process.
The glue was quick to take hold and dry to the backboard which was very convenient and efficient. The total time spent on securing each piece of cork to the backboard was roughly around one hour and thirty minutes. Each cork quickly dried and became functionally secure in under thirty seconds. Once everything was secure, the project was finally complete and turned out wonderfully! The featured image (displayed below again) depicts the final product. I honestly could not have been more happy with how this turned out!
As described in my inspiration for this project, I want to keep this piece for my mom as a gift. I am still going to do so after completing the project, and will most likely hide it away until mother’s day to make it even more special of a gift.
One thing to improve this project, if I had more time and the option to do so, would be to engrave Maori tribal tattoo designs into the background to tie the project even more with New Zealand and it’s rich heritage and culture. Despite not doing this, the rustic look of the backboard still provides a natural look that is aesthetically pleasing.