Upcycle inspiration: Turning plastic caps into art?

The story of my inspiration came from two weeks ago… One of my classes is called creative climate change, in this class, we have a professor named Patrick Chandler, who presented one of his past work experience, of working with the Washed Ashore Project. The project itself is about reusing the marine debris, trash gathered from the sea, and turn those into giant sculptures.

Like this big shark.

Or this clownfish.

Look at that wave of trash!

And this very vivid looking turtle.


It was super cool seeing these works, and it was very inspiring seeing that trash of human products can be rescued and turned into such beautiful art pieces.

I talk to the professor right after class, having in mind with the idea that I want to create a sculpture like those for my aesthetics class, and I asked the professor about the possibility of getting those marine debris in Colorado, well, there is this problem, we don’t have sea here. So that’s not really an option. However, we did talk about using other trashes, like getting coffee cups from the coffee shops, or plastic bags and so on. At last, we decided on reusing plastic bottle caps, since they are produced in very consistent sizes, so it should be pretty easy to work with those. I’ve been saving up my recyclable trash at the time, and I still am, (they are piling up in my living room). Anyhow, so I got a bunch of cardboard boxes that I can use for my project. One of the idea that I had is to use cardboard as a base and make pictures/ shapes out of plastic caps. However, considering it is challenging to join plastic and cardboard together, Patrick did suggest a couple of materials to use to use that though, I’m still waiting to receive those that I bought online, and we will see how that goes.

Another inspiration that may impact my up-cycle project would be one of my past classmates, Claire’s work. She once built a hanging jellyfish using paper and some sort of loops, if I remembered correctly. So I’m thinking about creating something hangable as well.

Image result for jelly fish hanging

Her work looked kind of like this, but way more colorful and fun.

One more thing that I have to mention. For the last aesthetics exploration, I did polka dots and Yayoi Kusama, so I’ll probably be getting a lot of inspiration from her work as well, since plastic caps are just like real life polka dots.

Image result for polka dots artist

We’ll see how it goes.


Washed Ashore Project:

The Sculptures

Jellyfish picture: https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/proxy/aPqzqL_W5YF5_bFCEVh3YDdvonFUKOAvziktpJZIsjy0vyWd6B0Yuv4w_lPoRyI7gqC406xVuJNGdwNyh7lnz3VmG3B-rcFeFpzXyUIpi_6l

Kusama’s picture: https://bloximages.chicago2.vip.townnews.com/thetandd.com/content/tncms/assets/v3/editorial/0/89/08936ce6-e336-11e1-9c3d-0019bb2963f4/50258356a441d.image.jpg?resize=400%2C267

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2 Comments. Leave new

  • Hi Xiang! This sounds like a great use of recycled materials and I am very curious to see what you come up with. Because we don’t live by the sea and you are not using marine debris, I think it would be more meaningful if you chose to create a landscape or animal found in Colorado rather than a shark or sea turtle (even though they are very cool). What are your thoughts on this? Do you have a specific topic in mind for what you want to make?
    Side note: If you want to connect plastic to cardboard, I would personally recommend using hot glue.

    • Hi, Fiona,

      Thanks for the comment! Yeah, I think it’s a great idea to go with a Colorado animal! But making a buffalo out of plastic caps sounds quite challenging.? I’m thinking about something more basic/minimalism-like, like ordering the plastic according to their colors or sizes. But I’m open to try out something as hard as making an animal. We’ll see how far I’ll get at the end. I still need to count my bottle caps in order to see the colors and sizes that I have, and they’ve been soaked up for disinfection for quite a while. You are absolutely right, hot glue is a good option, but I also got another material online, and I’ll see how that works!

      Again, thanks! : )))))



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