Upcycled 3D prints (PLA) artwork, gift for a prince

My high school principal asked us to create a gift with students using recycled materials for Prince Charles who will be visiting the Cayman Islands at the end of the month.

Here’s the progress so far.

We ground up failed 3d prints with PLA and baked them into a thin sheet, slightly thinner that 1/4" to cut on Glowforge Basic.

We live on a small island where our waste and plastic usage is an important concern, and our school community is committed to sustainability. Next, I would like to try the same with HDPE bottlecaps, as they are everywhere on the beaches, washed ashore from surrounding islands.

I’m hoping to create a frame for this, and possibly incorporate more recycled materials. Any thoughts/suggestions?


Welcome to the forum!
Great idea to upcycle that material! Endless supply.
I have traveled and dived my old friend the Caribbean, and I’ve never experienced finer diving than the Caymans anywhere.


Nice recycle! :grinning:


Prince Charles is really big on enviromental issues so your project should be a big hit! No suggestions other than maybe set it into a box lid engraved to fit, or something similar, from plywood or hardwood.


What about separating the recycled materials by color and then melting them down? Once this is done, make one of those cool 3D topographical maps of your island. Different shades of blue plastics could be the different depth of surrounding waters of the island. Then use appropriate colors to make up the different land elevations. This then produces a great piece of artwork representing your island as well as utilizing all recycled materials to make an incredible gift.


@kelvin.johnson - This was my original idea and here was my inspiration!

I really wanted to recreate something similar but had a lot of difficulty finding bathymetric (underwater) depth data for the Cayman Islands, and the filetype necessary to create the contours at each depth. The USGS website provides this information, however not for the Caribbean.

The timeline for the project is very short, so I was thinking of mounting it onto another plastic sheet of lighter color that I made for contrast. If time permits, maybe I can manage to get closer to the original plan.

Thanks for your ideas and feedback!


This is an absolutely wonderful idea for upcycling! Thank you for sharing with us and welcome to the community!

love the stand too!