Upcycle Progress: Patterns of Circles

I was considering repetitious use of circular designs in my sketches. Also there is a possibility of using the bottoms of the water bottles as flowers.

I had envisioned an upcycling project that would use either water bottles or these 3-inch dia. lids in repetition to make a sculpture. There’s a caveat when it comes to upcycling: It had occurred to me that I really needed to stake claim on someone else’s trash in order to use it in my “treasured” art project. Water bottles are a fantastic material due to their relative cleanliness, but the mentality of the average person in this world is to throw it away. Thus I cannot find enough water bottles without laying claim to them ahead of time.


I picked these lids up from the Environmental Center’s table at the UMC, just enough to start prototyping, and I was able to make a basic octahedral “Tensegrity” sculpture. Tensengrity (or tensile integrity) is a structural principle wherein a skeleton of a material in tension (in this case, kite string) holds together parts in compression (in this case, the lids) without the compressed members touching. I was able to use one strand of string to thread through holes in the sides of the lids that I cut with an Exacto-knife. I recommend safer approaches in the future, such as a single-hole punch. The holes of the lids were cut approximately every 120 degrees thus turning the lid into a “triangle” as the face of an octahedron (like D8 dice). The “not touching” part didn’t happen, but I used the tension in the string to pull the lids together. It was really difficult – so I should try to simplify that process.

Thus, I continue the search for circular materials to find something that really ‘clicks’ for my sculpture. I was imagining a chandelier. Perhaps there is a more aesthetically pleasing way for it to come together.

All Pictures by Luke Collier

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3 Comments. Leave new

  • […] Upcycle Progress: Patterns of Circles […]

  • I like the idea! many sculptures are made of unique and unusual items and turn out great. I think its good that you have begun the prototyping process. I wish I had started that earlier to get a earlier start on the project. I agree with Clare, you should test out some other kinds of materials for your lids as well.

  • Luke,

    I enjoy that you thought through the water bottle concept, and chose not to use them. Often times people try to up-cycle bottles and don’t realize to up-cycle them, they contribute in creating waste to begin with. I did find your lid design intriguing. Have you thought about soda can lids? I know you can find many of these in the trash piles. Or maybe the bottoms of beer bottles? What about scrap wood that you engrave circles into and can cut out? I guess from what I’m reading you want more of a chandelier look. Does this mean a see-through material? If so, you may be able to find some scrap material in the laser cutter room in the ITLL. This might hang better as part of your project. Let me know if this helps!


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