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.
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.
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