Upcycle Final Report


The inspiration for my upcycle project was born from necessity and the materials I had available to me. I originally knew that I wanted to turn this assignment into a project that I could use in my daily life. With this thought in mind, I decided I wanted to make a piece of furniture, either a table or chair, with a cool aesthetic to it that I could add in my apartment. My next step was wandering around my apartment looking for materials to work with. I realized that my friends and I go through a lot of beer cans, so I decided to use those empty cans in my upcycle project. I then did some research on previously made beer can furniture, and found the picture below. The way he was able to create a well functioning table with just beer cans inspired me to go ahead with my idea. I planed on using roughly 30 beer cans to make a beer can table. I was excited for this idea because I thought it will be an interesting project, and I could use this table on a daily basis with my friends in my apartment.

Image Credit: Matenak
Image Credit: Matenak

The vision I had for this project was to make a beer can table with an appealing aesthetic while also being functional. My functional goals for this project were that the table should be relatively sturdy, be able to be used outside (sun and water proof), and that it could hold roughly 5 pounds safely. I am planning on putting this table on my porch and using it for food and drinks, so it needed to be able to support some weight without toppling over. My artistic goals for this project was to make a table with a Keystone Ice aesthetic, while also looking like a real beer table. I am glad I went through the trouble of spray painting the words ‘Keysone Ice’ on the table surface because it gives the table a focal point and I think it looks really good. I added the 4 coasters on the edges to hide the ugly glue that could be seen through the glass, and so that people know it is there to hold drinks. I think I met all of my functional and artistic goals in this project.

Materials used

Above shows the materials I used in creating this project. I used 24 empty Keystone Ice cans, gorilla glue, duct tape, 4 coasters, a glass panel, spray paint, a stencil, an exacto knife, and blue spray paint. The only materials I had to buy for this project was the coasters, so this was a true upcycle project. The real cost of this project was time, as it took me a whole day to completely glue everything together.

The picture above shows the four beer can legs. I attached these together using gorilla glue and letting the glue sit for an hour before adding another can. It was a tedious process, but the beer can legs were sturdier than I was initially expecting. I used 6 cans per leg, so the table stands a little less than 3 feet tall.

I then created a custom stencil in Word and printed it out at Staples on 120 lb cardstock. I then used an exacto knife I had left over from one of my previous engineering projects to cut out the stencil. I taped the stencil to the glass panel and used the blue spray paint to get the stencil on the glass. After spray painting, I let it sit in the sun for about 45 minutes before removing the stencil.

I plan on keeping this table outside my apartment on my porch. The one thing I am worried about is the wind knocking it over, causing it to fall apart. If I could do this project again, I would add more beer cans to the legs to make it sturdier. I would still keep the 6 can height for the legs, but add another column or two so the table has more support. I am also thinking about doing this again with a different beer brand aesthetic such as PBR, IPA, or Corona. I have also had the idea to make a corresponding chair to go with the table, however, I will need a lot more empty beer cans for that.

Above is a picture of after I glued the legs to the glass table. I used cut out pieces of cardboard as an insert material between the cans and glass to get a more even surface for the glass panel. You were able to see the glue marks from the cardboard to the glass, which is why I ended up adding the 4 coasters to give it more of a professional look.

I am really happy with the final product. The only thing I wish I did differently was find a larger glass panel so that more could fit on the table. The glass panel I used was only 11″ x 14″. I also really like how you can see through the table surface to see the Keystone beer can legs. Overall, I am happy with my upcycle project and has inspired me to look more carefully at unwanted items to see if they can be made into something useful.

Link to video presentation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHqiU-PRte0&feature=youtu.be

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11 Comments. Leave new

  • […] Upcycle Final Report […]

  • Jordan Nahabetian
    February 12, 2019 9:51 am

    You achieved a nice, cool blue aesthetic with this project. The dark lines on the wooden coasters match the black cans. The final product looks really good!

  • Hi Tanner,
    Nice project and presentation! I really like how creative you were with this project using something that you had an abundance of at home. Also, I really liked how the final product turned out! It looks very well done and the contrast of colors look great.

  • Alexis Nibbelink
    February 11, 2019 4:15 pm

    Tanner, the table turned out well. I like the logo aesthetic and the coasters you added are also pretty cool. I’m impressed at how sturdy it looks, though you may have to drink some more beer to give it more support

  • Abdulrahman Alnoaim
    February 11, 2019 2:14 pm

    Hi Tanner,
    You did an outstanding job during your presentation. You explained every single detail of your design, which allowed us to understand all of the aesthetics behind it. I would recommend using 6 x 2 soda cans for each leg, in order to get a better support for the table.

  • Gabe Coffman-Lee
    February 11, 2019 1:50 pm

    Tying functionality into your project was a good idea, especially since you’ll probably see some decent use out of this in the future. For future designs, I would suggest maybe using a variety of tallboy cans and alternating their order, which would increase the aesthetic variety. Also as was discussed, making the legs thicker (maybe 2×2?) with a supporting rod would likely make the structure much stronger. Very cool!

  • I was considering making a table out of cardboard beer boxes and covering the top with a clear glass layer, sort of similar to this. I like the Aesthetic; Especially in college, this is a very popular one. The fact that it holds weight is impressive too. I might have added some sort of material inside that wouldn’t weigh too much but would add some structural support to the aluminum.

  • I like this idea because it not only considers an aesthetic, but you also had to design for functionality! I am surprised it was able to hold 5 lb so great work! I’d say use three columns per leg next time and see how much weight it can hold. Now it time to make a bigger one for me.

  • Chris Mcfadden
    February 11, 2019 1:16 pm

    Great use of something we all have lying around! I thought spray painting the glass was a nice addition. Maybe try to reinforce the structure to make it sturdier. Maybe some can cross members?

  • Hello Tanner, I really liked your presentation. You did a great job breaking your project into sections and summarizing exactly how you went about doing your project and why you did it. Your table came out really great, and I am impressed with what you were able to make

  • Morgan Benninger
    February 11, 2019 1:14 pm

    Cool idea! It’s clear you put a lot of time and thought into this project. Props on actually getting it to hold weight.


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