Upcycling – Succulent Garden

My upcycling project will center around a music-themed succulent garden. The basin for the plants and soil will be a molded vinyl record with the label at the base. I have several scratched or otherwise damaged records with vintage 70s surf-style record labels which I plan to mold using a plastic cup and heat gun. Without relief cuts, these will develop an appearance like coral and the hole for the turntable spindle will help with drainage when watering.One of my damaged records (Marvin Gaye) that I would use for this project.

I also have a damaged guitar neck which I will defret, cut into 3 pieces, clean up, and bore holes into in order to house these vinyl basins. The ends of these cut neck sections will need to be secured at each end to prevent truss rod movement, potentially with epoxy, but preferably, this could be done with recycled plexiglass or urethane. These neck sections will be suspended using old guitar strings in the interest of upcycling, with the ball ends used as stoppers and the free end wrapped around and pinned to a salvaged .75″x3.5″ pine board to make the length adjustable.

This style most closely follows the aesthetic of the 1970s that Grant posted about – the use of records (the ones I have in particular are soul/RnB and disco records from the 70s) gives the vintage feel described in his post #1 and the guitar neck came from a Fender Telecaster, which was exceedingly common and popular throughout the late 60s and 70s. The headstock of the guitar neck also bears a decal from my former lutherie company which shows my old logo written in late 70s-style hand script. The golden frets and patina on the tuning machines in combination with the muted wood tones and figuring give a glimpse at the retro nostalgic aesthetic of the 1970s. Even the flowing curves of the sculpted vinyl records reflect the popular aesthetic of the 70s. I have intentionally gone for a hippie and vintage music-centered style which I may later complete with a small mural behind my project, using the vibrant colors and flowing patterns of the 70s to match. These materials are readily available to me, as I already enjoy creating and consuming art in the aesthetic of the 70s, and it will give me a chance to prevent waste and find a use for what would otherwise become trash.

An overall concept sketch to illustrate positioning and basic design.

Potential roadblocks include the cutting of the neck, as it is a composite of maple wood and steel. The bending of the records to achieve a reproducible and aesthetically fitting/matching shape may also be difficult, but testing with sawn holes in scrap wood will allow me to test the fit before making permanent alterations to my materials. Additionally, 3 points of contact with the supporting guitar string will be needed in order to prevent rotation when the load of soil and plants is added.

First image source: http://how-to-recycle.blogspot.com/2012/10/recycled-vinyl-record-crafts.html

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1 Comment. Leave new

  • I think the vintage look with the freshness of nature and little succulents will be such a cool vibe when you pull this off. I know a lot of people love their little plants. Records, plants, and trippy vibrant colors is such a cool combo. I like how you also detailed possible structural/technical roadblocks to your design!

    Is it likely that you would need to consider a flow rate of water through the hole where the spindle goes. For instance, if the hole is too big and not enough water is retained or if you need to cover the hole and make several smaller holes so that soil doesn’t fall out.


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