For my Upcycle project I decided to make a guitar strap out of recycled beer boxes. I have been playing guitar since I was in the fourth grade and I recently have fallen back in love with playing and learning new songs. Therefore, when thinking about my desired aesthetic I knew I wanted to do something that related to guitar. For the longest time I have only had one guitar strap and I had already been considering buying a new one, so why not kill two birds with one stone and make a guitar strap that holds more sentimental value than now bought online. My plan was to attach the finished product to my acoustic guitar, so I began to think of what I associated with acoustic guitar and what would add to my guitars aesthetic. My brain immediately whet to country music, and behind any good country song is a cheap canned beer. This was also an ideal choice because being a college student means I have boxes from cheap beer laying around to use as material. Building upon the idea of college and cheap beer, I remembered visiting multiple college houses and apartments that had beer walls.
A beer wall is the collection of beer cases, usually 30 can racks, that have been bought by the occupants of a house or apartment. When every beer within the case has been finished, the faces of the box consisting of the logo are then cut out and attached to the wall. Slowly the wall gets covered until you can no longer see the original drywall. Each beer case has a memory attached to it, whether that be a party or just sitting around and being with the people you care about. It also gives an observer some insight into what kind of beer the occupants enjoy and is a way for the occupants to express their taste. I wanted to incorporate these aspects into my project to add the artistic meaning. My goal was to incorporate the logos on the boxes in a way that made them recognizable while also having then in a box pattern to replicate the look of box faces on a beer wall. Functionally, the strap must be able to support the weight of my guitar which I estimate is about 8 lbs. I also wanted the strap to match the length of my old strap so that the guitar is at the same height as when I use my current strap.
I began measuring the width of my current guitar strap to ge an estimate of how thick I wanted my strap to be. It ended up being 2 inches so I cut the faces of beer box faces into 1 inch wide strips so that way the strap could be two strips wide. From there I started weaving the strips together, making sure to align each with the previous strip as well as possible. This allowed the logos of each box to stay aligned so that they would be recognizable. I continued this process with multiple box faces until the total weave was the length of my current strap.I applied duct tape to the back to help hold the weave together and add strength.
The sides were then folded and trimmed to match the desired 2 inch thickness of the strap. I wanted to avoid using glue or tape when completing the fold so I used the flaps on the outside edge to weave the two back halves together. This both completed the fold and continued the pattern of the weave while avoiding eyesores like glue and tape. This completed that main body of the strap. To attach it to the guitar I added a piece to each end that was a piece of beer box that had been folded in half to show part of a logo on each side. I slid each piece into the end of the strap and secured it my stapling it to the main strap. I did my best to add the staples underneath a strip to conceal the staples.
I outlined the hole from my current strap and ut it out to create the correct sized attachment point for the guitar. I finished by cutting a half circle at the end and adding support with a thin strip of duct tape to give the strap a speaker and more finished look.
The final step was to test it out and attach it to my guitar. Unfortunately I am currently missing an adapter on my acoustic guitar to mount the strap so I attached it to my electric which is about twice as heavy.
The weave pattern and the duct tape support gave the strap plenty of support to be able to hold the weight of my electric guitar without breaking a sweat. When in use the strap matches the height of my current strap neatly perfectly. The strap does have its flaws however. The weave pattern on the back tends to poke into my shoulder when in use so, I would like to find a way to secure the loose flaps to improve the overall comfort. The strap is also decently rigid, however, I believe that with continued use the strap will being to loosen and become for bendable. Aesthetic wise I believe that I achieved my artistic goal. The logos on the straps are recognizable if you know the brands and the weave pattern replicates the look of a beer wall. The strap also gives some insight into my life and tells the audience what type of beer (and ciders) I enjoy. Some of boxes used were from beer that my roommates and I bought for specific events, so the memories of my roommates and the events will forever be weaved into this project.In the future I would like to explore the possibility of adding an adjustability aspect to the strap so that in the future if I change my mind on where I like my guitar to sit, I won’t have to make an entirely new strap.
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