Upcycling Progress Report – Collage Planter

My upcycling project is coming along nicely as I enter into the second week of designing. I’m building a two layered indoor planter. The aesthetic I’m using is the 35mm film aesthetic I discussed in my previous post. At this point in time I’d say I’m about halfway done with my project.

To start out, I acquired all the materials I would be using. I’m upcycling old 35mm photographs and two used candle holders. The candle holders will be used to house the indoor plants. The 35mm photographs are being cut up and applied to the candle holders to create the aesthetic I’ve chosen. Along with the photographs, I’m also drawing designs with a sharpie. This helps to create the haphazard and DIY feeling of the aesthetic. Outside of my upcycle materials I’m also using super glue, tape, and wooden pencils, all of which are store bought.

35mm Photographs and other assorted materials for use

Cleaned candle holders for construction

Before I began to construct I needed to lay out some sketching designs on paper. The structure of the piece is such that the base is the larger of two candle holders. The second tier is a smaller candle that will be supported by a wooden pencil beam. I measured that the height of the large candle was around 9.8 centimeters. This is how tall I needed the support beam to be to hold the second tier. I used an exacto knife to cut a pencil into a 9.8 centimeter beam. This step was very tedious and took multiple tries since I was doing it by hand.

Early design sketching

The methods I’m employing to construct are no doubt lo-fi. I’m not a carpenter by any means and don’t have very much interest in building anything complex. I’m more interested in the decorative design I’m doing on the candles to create my aesthetic. However, this portion of my project is largely what is left. While I’ve begun my artistic designing, this is the portion I will spend a lot of time thinking about. So far I have the background and some image placement locked in on the large candle. I still have some image curation to do on this one though. The smaller candle still requires background choosing and all the image curation. 

Image curation process for large candle

Outside of my decorative design, the remaining steps are to build the support structure. To do this I’ll be mounting the smaller candle to the pencil beam and large candle using liquid cement. I don’t foresee this being a difficult task in the grand scheme of my project. If time allows I’d like to get plants inserted into my completed design. However, it’s unlikely I’ll have time to get to a gardening store this week. Perhaps I’ll make paper flowers of some sort for my presentation. 

The image below (also featured image) shows what the structure of the final product will be.

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3 Comments. Leave new

  • I really like the idea of creating a planter that is personal to you. They look like theyre being designed for succulents in mind. Using candle holders is a really good idea. I cant tell from the design pictures, but possibly finding a way to incorporate drainage holes into the design would increase the variety of plants you would be able to hold in them

    • Hi Ethan,

      Thank you for you comment! Yes, they are being designed with succulents or orchids in mind. I love your idea of incorporating a drainage system. I don’t have much experience with cutting glass but this is something I’m going to look into.

  • I think this is a cool idea and the balance of the final result is pleasing to look at. Is the final product going to be made out of these candle holders and the pencil support? I think it would be interesting to experiment with making this a larger concept made out of wood or even concrete molds. Awesome design approach, I look forward to seeing it with plants inside.


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