Upcycle Design Report: Egg carton vase

Context Information:

Scandinavian design is a design aesthetic that started in the mid-20th century in the Nordic countries, including Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Iceland [1]. It is characterized by its emphasis on simplicity, functionality, and a connection with nature. Scandinavian design reflects a minimalist yet warm and welcoming approach. Clean lines, uncluttered spaces, and a neutral color palette, often dominated by whites, grays, and natural tones, are fundamental elements [2]. This design philosophy seeks to enhance daily life by incorporating practical and efficient solutions without compromising on elegance. Natural materials such as wood, leather, and stone are frequently used, promoting a sense of authenticity and connection to the environment [3].


My vision for the upcycle project involves crafting a vase from egg cartons, drawing inspiration from Scandinavian design’s sleek and simple beauty. I want to balance simplicity and efficiency, both crucial aspects of Scandinavian aesthetics. I think egg cartons are not just a practical material but an artistic element that contributes to the overall aesthetic. By repurposing a commonly overlooked material, I want to highlight the inherent beauty in simplicity while showcasing the potential for creative transformation. This project reflects my commitment to sustainable and mindful design, combining functionality with a visually compelling outcome inspired by the appeal of Scandinavian simplicity.

Fabrication Process:

The construction of the plant vase using egg cartons started with a deliberate decision to cut the cartons in half because I thought this would suffice for a medium-sized plant. To capture the Scandinavian aesthetic, I opted to paint the cartons white, aiming for a clean and minimalist appearance. However, my initial attempt to exclusively utilize egg cartons encountered challenges. Despite their visual appeal, the cartons struggled to form a cohesive and structurally sound vase that would also be waterproof. I tried using a plastic sheet to cover the egg cartons in an attempt to make them waterproof, but this did not work. This led me to reconsider my approach and prompted a pivot in the design process.

Starting Materials

Egg cartons after first coat of paint

Applying glue

To address the structural and waterproofing concerns, I modified the construction method by introducing a base. This base became a crucial element in reinforcing the vase’s integrity. I then glued the painted egg cartons onto this base, creating a more stable and functional structure. This alteration not only ensured the structural integrity of the vase but also provided a practical solution for accommodating plants. With this modified design, the plant vase can now safely house a plant, allowing for watering without the risk of structural collapse, while still maintaining the desired Scandinavian aesthetic.

Gluing egg cartons to base

Functional Goals:

The modification in construction, introducing a stable base and gluing the painted egg cartons onto it, was key to enhancing the vase’s structural integrity. This strategic alteration addressed concerns and ensured that the final product was robust enough to house a plant without any risk of collapse safely. Despite deviating from the initial vision, the vase met the functional goals of stability and waterproofing.

Finished product

Artistic Goals:

The artistic goals of the project centered around embodying the Scandinavian design aesthetic, but the final product deviated from the original vision. While the base’s color doesn’t perfectly align with the intended aesthetic, it serves as a potential area for improvement, and I’m considering changes to enhance the overall coherence. The change from the initial plan, however, did lead to some unexpected improvements. The unique shape of the egg cartons, although not precisely as envisioned, contributed to an interesting and dynamic look for the vase. I think that there is room for improvement and will try to improve on the design.

Vase without plant

Next Steps/Improvements:

Considering improvements to the vase, my first goal is to improve its alignment with the Scandinavian aesthetic.  I plan to address some of the discrepancies by selecting a different color for the base that works better with the minimalist palette. This adjustment aims to bring the overall design closer to the initial artistic vision.

Additionally, I am exploring alternative waterproofing techniques that would eliminate the need for a base. This stems from a desire to streamline the design, reduce reliance on additional materials, and fully realize the Scandinavian aesthetic. By finding effective waterproofing methods, the vase could maintain its structural integrity and functionality without the need for an additional support structure.

Nevertheless, for the time being, I appreciate the vase’s functionality in housing plants. While it may not precisely align with the original vision, the unique shape of the egg cartons has an intriguing appeal. The upcoming improvements, such as a color change for the base and potential advancements in waterproofing techniques, would further enhance the vase’s appeal and functionality. The vase, despite deviations from the initial plan, stands as a cool and functional piece, serving its purpose as a plant container while also providing a canvas for further improvement.


[1] Eyþórsdóttir, Katrín. “The Story of Scandinavian Design: Combining Function and Aesthetics.” Smashing Magazine, 13 June 2011, www.smashingmagazine.com/2011/06/the-story-of-scandinavian-design-combining-function-and-aesthetics/.

[2] AphroChic. “What Is Scandinavian Style? We Break down the Popular Style.” The Spruce, The Spruce, 3 Nov. 2023, www.thespruce.com/what-is-scandinavian-design-4149404.

[3] “What Is Scandinavian Design?” Gessato, 4 Mar. 2023, www.gessato.com/scandinavian-design/#:~:text=A%20majority%20of%20Nordic%20style,have%20an%20understated%2C%20minimalist%20appearance.

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1 Comment. Leave new

  • It seems you captured your aesthetic perfectly and I love the idea of using egg cartons for your to capture this as they definetly fit the minimalist but warm feeling after painting them white. I am curious what you used for a base?


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