Design Challenge: Everyday Upcycle

Most people have some material which they naturally generate as a waste product. For me, that is my bad habit I never set aside time to cure: Soda. I most often buy the 12 pack fridge cases, occasionally the 24 pack cases. For some of you it may be cereal boxes, or maybe a common small size cardboard box from Amazon.

Identify one or more materials that you just always generate. Ideally something which is too small to be very useful as a test cut for future custom designs. Then, plan to use the material in as optimized of a manner as possible (least material tossed in the recycle bin/trash).

What you use the material for should be something consumable (not edible… but something that cannot be re-used hundreds of times), or something nifty enough to give away to random people and put a smile on their faces. Because this is a material you will be generating at least once a month.

You could go the other direction, and plan something massive (like the cardboard full sized car) which will be made using your common generated trash of choice. But aiming for the one-off should result in files which can be shared with other GF users. Little give-away items are absolutely my preference, since you can carry a few with you and hand them to random strangers.


Cat food cases and cardboard dividers in between layers of cans. I have a whole box of them now. I don’t have too many soda can 24 pack boxes, but I have enough that they will come in handy. Now if I can figure out something to do with cat food cans and lids using the GF. I liked the Make Magazine mention of the tiffin can stack out of tuna cans, but haven’t gotten around to that. A topic like this can go a long way into breaking the efficiency cycle down into a manageable procedure.Small town Midwest doesn’t make it easy to recycle. It really has to be intentional.


I have a plethora of small yet large-enough-to-still-be-possibly-useable 2x4 scraps that I intend to saw in half and laser. it counts as consumable, cause I am always building something

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You really have my mind spinning now. The number one consumable scrap that I have been trying to find out how to repurpose is the 3" cardboard cores from rolls of vinyl. I had previously thought about cutting them into 1/4" and 1/2" bands that could be used as the core of some homemade bracelets but they are a little big for that. Not sure I’ll be able to come up with a way to use these in the Glowforge because of the height limit but now, because of this thread, I’ll be working on that in the back of my mind.

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If you have a band saw, you could cut them in half, then make base units for edge lit acrylic signs.


Great idea! I’ll keep that in mind.

I’ve started keeping my tubes instead of recycling them. Not sure exactly what I will make with them yet, but plenty of ideas. Inspiration Here!


Those are some very creative ideas! I have seen a couple of them before but most were new to me. I have kept every tube in the year and a half that I’ve had my printer. I’m starting to run out of places to store them until I come up with a good use. These ideas may lead to ways I can incorporate some of them into furniture/decor in my studio.

I have several heavy duty tubes from Food Saver bag material. They were just such great quality I couldn’t bring myself to throw them out or even recycle them, but all the same…don’t have one bit of use for them. Yet.

Many cool ideas there. Thanks. I love the miniature artwork inside tubes. I don’t have quite that many tubes saved up…and mine are not very big around. I’ll keep an open mind. Open like a tube where ideas can flow in one end and a project can flow out the other?

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They would not need to be particularly wide. In fact the smaller ones will be more impressive.

Laser cut the piece you want to be in the tube, but leave a large trailing end. Fold the desired artwork to flare out at 90 degrees from the trailing end, then use that long end to insert the art into the tube.

Possible precision only limited by resolution of the Glowforge. Getting the art mid-tube is trivial with the trailing end approach. Just have some skewers/chopsticks you can stick in to manipulate things. Use long cotton swabs to bring in glue. You should be able to moisten the trailing edge to get it flexible enough to push down flush with the side of the tube (papier mache style)

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another style cardboard/tube chair:


I really like those ideas. They sound completely ‘do-able’. I especially like the idea of making the trailing end by which I could manipulate the artwork. Maybe make some pinhole lights in the tube above the work? That would be a very fun and evolving project. Thank you.

I’m in love with the hanging cardboard tube displays…what a clever idea to dress up window shops! And love the inspiration of intricate little storybook scenes through a cardboard “eyeglass”! Great ideas!

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HI. Swerving off topic here, but only briefly. I’ve seen lots of people change a hyperlink as you have done here…will you please tell me how to do that? Thanks!

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You can use the Hyperlink button that looks like a section of chain (fourth from the left in the comment-box tools). Enter the web address in the first field, and use the second “title” field to type what you want it to appear as onscreen.

Or, if you have already typed a word and want to make it a link, select it and then hit the hyperlink button and just enter a web address in the first field, Discourse turns the selected text into a link.

-edit- the hyperlink button in the comment-input field uses the same icon as the “share a link to this post” icon that appears under posted comments, don’t let that confuse you!


Thanks. Don’t know if I’ll ever have a need for it, but I understood what you described. Do you, by chance, know of a way to do that in ‘real life’ outside the forum, say like when typing an email or something like that? Or is that even possible?

I’m not sure about Mac, but on my PC I always just type the words I want to be the link, highlight them, then right click and choose either the add or edit hyperlink option, then paste the URL in the URL field.


If you are using the Mac Mail desktop app, right-click (or control-click) a word and select Link > Add Link

There are instructions for doing it on iOS, which did not work for me on my iphone5

For full on html formatting in an email, I would point you towards a service like MailChimp. Free with MailChimp branding/limited number of recipients or paid for higher volume/unbranded.


Welcome @natalievmadison! So glad you joined the forum. Lots of possible introductory topics but you might want to begin with the QOTD category and share some details and aspirations.