Post 3 – Upcycle Progress – Outdoor Illusion

For my upcycle project I choose to create the illusion of rock climbers climbing up the walls of my room. To do so I decided to use spare electrical wire that I had readily available around my home. To begin this project, I first needed to remove the insulation from the wire by using a set of wire strippers which provided me with the bare copper that I needed for creating the rope and figurines that will encompass my upcycle project. At first I had issues with the wire breaking from over twisting and repeated bending, but once I started to get a feel for manipulating the wire I was able to find success with creating the forms that I had intended. One thing that I have found at this stage in my project is that proper tools are imperative; without a proper set of linesmans pliers, wire strippers, and various size screw drivers I would not be able to make the tight twist and cuts necessary to create the illusion of the rope and the rock climber. As I have begun this endeavor, I have taken some pictures to document my progress as you can see below.

This first image is an example of the technique I intend to use to create the illusion of the rock climbers rope. To accomplish this twisted copper look, I took two pieces of wire and wrapped the ends around the leg of my dining room chair. Once secured, I then took my linesmans pliers and grabbed onto the opposite ends of these two wires and proceeded to twist them until I reached my intended aesthetic. One thing I did realize was that I will need to to have two long pieces of wire for my finalized design in order to create the magnitude of my intended end product.

This next image illustrates one of the techniques I used in order to create the circular shape of the climbers head. What I found was that the bottle neck portion of my screwdriver provided me with a great way to bend the wire into a uniform circular shape, the only caveat with this method was taking the wire off the screw driver takes some care as to not re-bend the wire in the opposite direction.

This final image represents my first attempt at incorporating a climber holding onto a rope. What I found here was the overall anatomy of my copper climber was difficult to gauge; this lead me to develop different techniques that would make the limbs uniform and the overall look to be as human as possible. A big take away from this initial design was how in the world am I going to affix the climbers to the rope for my finalized design. I have a few ideas thus far such as small spots of epoxy, solder, and physically twisting the wire to the hands of the climbers; accordingly, I am open to any and all ideas you may have, so please feel free to send over your thoughts to help me out moving forward.

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5 Comments. Leave new

  • John,
    I really like what you have done with this project thus far. I love the metallic form your project has and it allows for it to be implemented into a unique environment. I think the way you twisted up the wire is very clever, have you worked in the electrician industry before? The climbers seem very realistic and I like how they seem to rotate up the axis. If I could offer one piece of advice or a cool addition to your project it could be using carabiners to connect them!

    • My dearest Alex,
      Yes! I have worked as an electrician before, your insightfulness precedes you. Likewise, I thank you kindly for all the kind words that you have spoken in regards to my project. The twisting of the wire was definitely the hardest part of this stage of my project and creating less of a shaft and more of a rope aesthetic was something that took some difficult handwork.

  • Venkata Sanyasi Krishna Vidhan Rallapalli
    February 11, 2024 3:27 pm

    Great job on your upcycle project! It’s fascinating to see how you’re repurposing electrical wire to create the illusion of rock climbers on your room’s walls. Your technique for twisting the wire to resemble rope is clever, and using the screwdriver to shape the climbers’ heads is a neat trick. As for attaching the climbers to the rope, have you considered using small loops at the ends of the climbers’ hands and feet to hook onto the twisted wire rope? It might provide a secure yet flexible attachment method.

  • Hi John! I really like this project! Even if you hadn’t outlined the methods you’re developing to cleanly twist and form the wire, I would have been able to tell that you are very focused on detail just by looking at the images. The climbers and the rope look very precisely formed, and honestly really beautiful! I’d be interested in seeing you experiment with soldering the climbers to the ropes–I believe you could just use regular lead/tin based solder and then be careful of the wire heating up quickly. Otherwise a little bit of thread or string tying them together would also be cool, and then the climber would be less rigidly attached so there could be more movement if that is something you’re interested in. Good luck and nice job!

    • Hello Katie,
      Thank you soo much for your kind compliments on my project, I definitely had a bit of OCD when creating the life like copper climber, so it is nice to know that someone appreciates my work. Likewise, I think your ideas for affixing the climbers to the rope are great and I can not wait to try them out moving forward.


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