I would like to talk about my explanation of the word upcycle first then explain my project.The aesthetic I would like to use in my Upcycle project is Minimalism. Well, to be more specific, a Scandi Style stationery that I can decorate on my desk every day. I would like to cut a piece of solid wood and make a nice-looking design smartphone stand by myself. I have done quite a few paper sketches about its look and cut the piece of material just for testing the weight and getting familiar with the saws in the BTU lab. The reason why I chose this aesthetic is that it not only fits the theme but also corresponds to my life philosophy. Since I am studying abroad alone, I have no idea if I would stay in Boulder or not after I graduate from grad school. Therefore, I would like to keep my belongings as less as I can. Keeping life simple can also save my future efforts on moving from this place to another. To recycle something and make it better is the definition of the word upcycle in the dictionary. The very initial vague clue about my plan was that I just created my logo the week before the Spring semester started. It’s a combination of the character of my first name and last name(Andrea Wang) as AW.
The product I want to make is simply heavily inspired by the cardboard smartphone stand-making tutorial on Youtube(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFnLHOCWO3o&t=201s). But I would prefer another material than cardboard for me to make my smartphone stand and have better sustainability and quality of use. It would be something like wood, or metal with some solid decoration that can be easily approached on or off campus. At the first glance of the word “Upcycle”, I directly connected this word to the word “Recycle”. To my knowledge, I should build something that uses recycled materials and made them meaningful to me and my daily life.
Upon receiving the location of all the abandoned treasures somewhere underground on campus, I went on an exploration and found a nice solid wood board, I guessed it was once used as a desk in the EC building. I picked up the wood and went to the BTU lab’s wood-making workshop orientation. This was the first time that I used any kind of saw. The sound was scarring at first, but soon I found wood making was quite satisfying, especially for the moment you see your rough material being polished and becoming very smooth.
To be honest, I met some problems during the very first step of wood-cutting. The shape I designed for the stand was too hard for me to cut, and it takes some math that I have never learned in the past to calculate the angles. Therefore, I switched to my plan B immediately. A multifunctional stand will also be a choice for me to create the upcycle project with the same material, and it fits the aesthetic of minimalism as well.
I name this multifunctional stand “Stand by my side”, which means I would definitely put it on my desk or elsewhere I may look at it every day. This stand serves various functions, including holding my iPad, iPhone, or even notebook either vertically or horizontally. The depth and the width I had estimated to cut were based on the reference of a real smartphone stand on my desk, which was a gift from my dad.
The whole set of my multifunctional smartphone stand was made of two parts, which include the stand itself and the supporting wood. The supportive wood can hold the smartphone if you want to place your phone horizontally on the stand.
It perfectly reaches the functional goals. However, as for artistic goals, it fails at the point of staying consistent because of not keeping all the corners in the same radius. I might revise it in the BTU lab by fixing its inconsistency, that’s exactly the next step I would like to take.
So far I am quite satisfied with it on my desk, and the sound that the blocks hit each other is quite satisfying as well. I really enjoy woodcutting and hope I can make more woodwork in the future.
This is awesome! I’m glad you found woodworking to be satisfying, and the end result of your project looks very neat and uniform! Do you plan on any future woodworking projects?
Thank you! I will probably make some similar simple smart phone stands for my friends since I still got a bunch of nice wood in my place. Maybe no big project in the near future, unless I get enough practice and the confidence on all the cuttting tools!