Upcycle Final Report: Katie Yarnell

This project was called upcycling, because we were told to use recycled material to create it. I ended up using license plates as my used material. And after a lot of changing my mind, I decided to make a key holder.

In the beginning of this design process I was all over the place, I didn’t know what material I wanted to use or what sort of thing I wanted to create. All I knew was that I wanted to make something I would like and actually use. I start with an idea of making a coke can light fixture. But I didn’t have enough coke cans to make it. So instead, I decided to go to the recycling store in Boulder, Colorado. After looking around there I still had no strong creative inspiration. Then, on a weekend I was at my parent’s place and I found a collection of used license plates that they had acquired over the years. I decided on that being my material of choice. And then started researching ideas on what to make. Some examples are shown below.

Figure 1: Welcome License Plate Sign

Figure 2: License Plate Key Holder

After a descent amount of research, I decided that I wanted to make a key holder. I chose to use wood as my backing and similar hooks as in figure 2. Also, I found a cool process you can do to the wood called ‘Lichtenberg Figures’ shown in the figure below that I wanted to do with the wood background.

Figure 3: Wood with Lichtenberg Figures

Having spare wood to experiment with doing and using a Baking Soda and water mixer, a neon transformer, and jumper cords, I thyed to produce the Litchenberg figures. But the wood I was using did not take and so I decided to not include that in this project. Also, as designing this I decided to move the hooks from the face of the wood to the corner.

My design process was loopy. As I started planning the design out and actually working on it, some things that I thought would look good didn’t, so I removed them. Other things just didn’t work, like the Litchenberg Figure on the wood. Things got rearranged and moved around, like the hooks and the placement of the license plate pieces. In other words my design process was all over the place. But that being said, I think it really good to keep altering your design as you go, you end up with a different end product them you expected but one that looks good.

I am happy with how it turned out so far. I think I would like to add to it later, maybe add some skeleton keys on the sides and add some paint so the wood isn’t seen. My goal was to create a project that I would use and I think I will use this key holder after I spend a little more time on it.






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7 Comments. Leave new

  • I like the idea of this project. The license plates have a lot of history to them and it adds a lot to the project. The final product really nice as well. As I look at each part I see something new and different in each piece.

  • Hey Katie,
    In your presentation you seemed somewhat disenchanted with your final result. I think while it was simple, it was still very well-crafted! Don’t sell yourself short! I agree with the others that using a different kind of wood might help your aesthetic achieve its maximum potential. Your idea about running current through wood looked cool. Considering the kind of wood is important, but also how much current it takes. It might be a lot, so be careful! All in all a very nice project.

  • Faisal Al Balushi
    February 15, 2017 12:29 pm

    I really liked the creativity in using license plates and cut them. I kind of wonder where you got them from? Good consistency in the spacing between the key hangers. Since I made a key hanger two but it had different looking keys.

  • This was an interesting process of finding the material first and then finding inspiration. I really like how the product turned out. I also like how the clean the final product turned out and how you were able to turn old license plates into something new.

  • I like the eclectic and rustic aesthetic you have created here! I think the wood could use a stain or nice finish, or maybe even some old barn wood would wrap the aesthetic up nicely. But I like what you have done and the craftsmanship looks good! kudos!

  • The idea of using license plates to spell out the title of your products use is a great idea. I like how you maintained the general squarish shape of an actual license plate but just combined pieces of a few different one together. It looks very clean for a do at home product. Maybe consider using a recycled piece of wood, maybe drift wood. Good job!

  • I really liked the idea of sending current through the wood, I wonder what types of wood are best for that?
    But I like that you spelled out Keys with the old license plates as a back up idea, really cute!


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