Upcycling Final Report

My vision for this project was to make something that I could use every day. The expectation for something that I put my time into is that it must be something that I can either build off of, or learn from. My artistic vision was an item that would incorporate more than two materials. Most items around my house are made from two or less, but the nicest items are made from 3+. When cork came into the picture, my vision shifted from just having 3 materials to having an earthy aesthetic.

The inspiration of this project came from my house key. I was fumbling around with where to put it in my room, and came across my cable holder and a cork. I started brainstorming and flipping through pins on Pinterest to find projects that people had done with corks for keys or reminders. The three below were the most common projects done for keys using recycled wood. I fell in love with the stained wood cork aesthetic as well as the metal hooks. However, I wanted to mix it up a little and not copy a design found online.

Therefore, I combined a couple keys rack ideas with a smaller cork backdrop. I took the cork and wood frame idea and combined it with bottom hanging hooks seen above. This allows me to hang reminders on the corks and the keys on the bottom

However, I then came across my succulent still in the orange plastic pot it came in when I got it during finals week last year. I realized that instead of buying a glass pot from the store, I would find a way to up-cycle a new pot for it an integrate it into my key holder. I have a lot of natural light in my front walkway, and succulents are pretty hardy.

self watering planter made from recycled wine bottle

The design process consisted of a couple iterations. The first iteration was done with the chop saw. The original idea was to create the frame without the addition of a stain. However, after the glue set, the enclosure expanded causing the frame to have fractures. This led to the creation of the second iteration involving a Watco stain. The wood for this iteration was thicker and taller which had to be cut with a table saw. The wood was nail gunned together after applying a thin layer of wood glue, the holes were filled, and the project was left to dry.

The wood had to be sanded before it was stained and each coat had to be left for up to 30 minutes. Three coats of stain were applied, but some of the wood did not take the color as well as the rest due to the wood filler and glue. To make sure that the fit was not an issue again, pieces of the cork were sanded off. The frame had to be backed to allow the corks to blend in with the frame. After using 5 minute epoxy to glue the corks down, an old drying rack from my sink was used. I cut the holders off with the band saw, sanded the edges, hammered them flat and drilled them into the bottom of the frame.

Word to the wise: do not use gorilla glue for projects. The glue has a yellow stain to it, and the glue expands when it dries. The glue is easy to scrape off, but does not create a beautiful aesthetic. Save at least a week to a week and a half for iteration, redesign, staining, and drying.

What I achieved was a functional upcycled product with 3 materials. My functional goal was to be able to hang this on my wall and use it. I succeeded in doing just this. The hooks hold over 10 keys perfectly, and handles the weight perfectly. However, I also wanted to include the planter idea with the key rack, and chose not to. I am still using the bottles to hold my plants right now, but did not attach them to the key rack. This is because the corks added the earthy aesthetic that I was looking for and the bottles made the project look cluttered. The bottles by themselves add an earthy feel, but in a totally different way. I was not expecting this, but adapted them to work in my room anyways.

My artistic/functional goal was to create an earthy feeling without the look that the product was made out of recycled materials. When walking into the room, I feel a sense of relief to have something that was upcycled, but also very grounded. When seeing a cork it reminds me of two things: wine and cork boards. Therefore when I see this product it reminds me to grab my keys, but also gives off a relaxing home like feeling.

The future for this product will be hanging on my wall. My room has a lot of darker stained wood furniture pieces and no art work, so the cork blends in very well. However, one day I will get new furniture and need a different stain, so I will remake this. I will also separate the hooks a little further out, or only use three instead of four. I will recycle/reuse the rest of the materials used for this project including the leftover wood, corks, sandpaper, metal, and epoxy.

Include a link to the video you made of your live presentation: https://youtu.be/ADaBsc-ZCnQ

1. http://moxandfodder.com/2012/03/10/diy-wine-cork-chandelier/ 2. https://www.architecturendesign.net/30-magnificent-diy-projects-you-can-do-with-wine-corks/ 3. https://homesthetics.net/21-truly-creative-diy-wine-cork-projects-that-you-will-simply-adore/ 4. http://waploft.co/ideas/ 5. https://unlimitedhomedecor.com/products/wooden-honey-comb-shelf-with-antique-brass-finish-metal-mesh-frame 6. https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/wellmade/rackless-the-key-rack-that-makes-your-keys-float-i 7.
http://www.architectureartdesigns.com/20-diy-creative-key-holders/ 9.

Previous Post
Up-cycle Progress: Inspiration
Next Post
Upcycle Progress

10 Comments. Leave new

  • Nicholas Degenhart
    February 11, 2019 1:42 pm

    This was a great showcase of an upcycled material. I really enjoyed how you described the iteration of your design process and made sure to point out the mistakes you made in your process. I enjoy this design for its versatility in terms of aesthetic.

  • The project overall really captured what you were going for with the earthy feel and the functionality of holding up the keys. I like the idea of the metal adding to it, in what way would that be incorporated, as an aesthetic addition or a functional one? Overall well done and it has a clean and professional finished look to it.

  • Nice! I really like how your final product turned out, it looks very functional and it achieves the earthy aesthetic you were after. I wonder if you had a larger grid of corks if you could also use it as a board to pin things on to like cards or photos.

  • Eleanor Pearson
    February 11, 2019 1:42 pm

    I like this project a lot! I was picturing something much wider during the explanation but I really liked that the final product was a square. If you make a new one will you make more room to hang things from the cork board?

  • Hussam Alzahrani
    February 11, 2019 1:40 pm

    Hey Rachel,

    In your presentation, I agree when you said when you said that a lot of household materials around the house are usually made from a couple materials that we can reuse. It was a very good point when you mentioned that wood gorilla glue can cause some expansion that made some pieces crack. I like the final product you showed was really good looking and functional, sticks to your earthy theme/aesthetic.

  • Professional presentation! Good posture and word articulation. Good explanation of what you learned about woodworking techniques. Were any bottles of wine consumed specifically for getting corks for this project?

  • Great woodworking skills on the cork board. I think you mentioned that metal would have been a nice touch which I agree with. Maybe a border of cast iron or something. Other than that great job and look forward to the next project!

  • Yousef Alqattan
    February 11, 2019 1:39 pm

    Very well documented presentation, you showed all the steps that were taken to make this project a reality. You put a lot of work into this project and it shows. I have no additional comments as I thought your presentation was very well rounded and had all the information to convey what this project is, what it represents and how it was made.

  • This is a very interesting and creative up-cycle project. I have always enjoyed projects that have to do with woodworking and creating something that is very useful that you never knew you needed. Maybe sometime you can add a planter aesthetic to your project as well. Or you could drink more wine to get more corks.

  • Jared Campbell
    February 11, 2019 1:36 pm

    I think it was nice that you created something that you couldn’t find on the internet. In busy houses in Boulder everyone is always losing their keys so this serves a great purpose. Well done, maybe next time you can test how many keys it can hold!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.