Upcycle Progress: Environmental Artwork Piece

For my upcycling project, I decided to create an artwork display to fit into the environmental aesthetic. I wanted to create a modern industrial town that was running off energy produced by wind turbines. I also wanted the town to be filled with plants that were planted on the roofs and sides of the buildings. I will be making this by drawing the scene on cardboard and then using the corrugations of the cardboard to add texture and a sense of motion. I will then add the illusion of plants in the town and on the buildings by cutting out pieces of cyanotypes I previously made, rolling the pieces up into little beads, and placing them on the cardboard to add more dimension and color. I first drew out a sketch of what I wanted the art piece to look like when it is on the cardboard. This sketch can be seen below.

Sketch of my upcycling project

The industrial town will be in the forefront with the wind turbines in the back. The scattered blue lines are where I want to add the cyanotype paper cutouts to make it look like the town is being integrated into the nature around it. Then, the brown waves at the top are going to represent the wind that is turning the wind turbines. This will be made from the corrugations of the cardboard to hopefully add movement and texture to the piece.

The cyanotypes that I am going to use are in the picture below. I created these a while ago, but I didn’t have any use for them so I thought I would turn them into something new. I may create a few more that are different shades to add more depths of color.

Cyanotypes I will repurpose

Then, I wanted to practice cutting out the top layer of cardboard to create a design with the corrugated texture. I saw this idea on Instagram by Reem Altwaim (1) and was really excited to try it out. Below was one of the pieces that I was inspired by.

Reem Altwaim (1)

I’ve now practiced this technique on a scratch piece of cardboard which can be seen in the picture below. 

Cardboard practice

At the top of the cardboard, I first just tried out the technique by cutting the cardboard with a box knife and peeling the top layer of cardboard off. I wanted to see what it would look like and how large the corrugations were. I then drew a wind turbine at the bottom of the cardboard and cut out some wavy lines around its blades to add the corrugated aspect. I really like the texture this added, but for my final project I would like to find some cardboard that has corrugations closer together. If I cannot find this, then I will make the artwork larger (poster board size), so that more corrugations show.


  1. Reem Altwaim, 2017, https://www.instagram.com/reemtwaim/
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2 Comments. Leave new

  • Riley Menke
    May 7, 2024 5:28 pm

    Hey Kyra, I like your original take on this assignment. I think its cool that the the aesthetic is idrectly reflected in the materials you chose to use.

  • Hi Kyra! This is a such a cool project! I love the variety of methods you are using. I think it is very fitting to use recycled materials like the corrugated cardboard and even your old cyanotype art projects. That blue will add some awesome color. I’ve never seen the corrugation of the cardboard used creatively like that; it adds a really interesting dimension to the piece. I personally think it looks great with that density of corrugation but you should do whatever fits your vision!


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