Monday, February 20, 2012

Stylized Sunflower - from recycled materials

My inspiration for this was a sunflower, but it could also be viewed as a sunburst. One friend said it reminded them of an Aztec design. It was created entirely from recycled/found items, except for the adhesives used to hold it together. It is made from recycled cardboard and paper, and brass toned metal found items. It looks a little more three-dimensional in person than it does in these photos. Though it is only 2-1/2" thick from the very back to the farthest point in the fore-front and measures about 14" across all together.
I began with a gold metallic look cardboard cake rest, the type that a bakery bought cake comes on.
I then traced about 2" around this onto a sturdy piece of cardboard box, making a circle a little larger than the cake rest. Cutting the circle out with scissors, I saved the rest of the cardboard for later use in this project. I found an old round drawer pull that I liked, in my tub of metal found items that I've collected over the years and decided to use this as the center piece, and as the device that holds the two cardboard circles together. I then made several 3" round spacers by cutting circles out of the leftover cardboard, enough to fill the space on the knob's long screw between the the cake rest and the larger backing cardboard circle.

I used a leather awl to poke a small hole in the center of each cardboard circle, then carefully turned the knob's screw point through the center hole of each cardboard circle, starting from the back of the cardboard backing circle, through each of the spacer circles and then lastly through from the back of the gold colored cake rest. Then screwing the knob onto the end of the screw that is protruding through the center of the gold circle, I have attached them all together. I now had the two cardboard circles fastened sturdily together, with a space of a couple of inches between them and a decorative knob in the center of the gold front piece.

Next I began making 'petals' for the outside of the design. I had been collecting the metallic looking liner papers from various discarded cigarette packs, both gold and silver. I began cutting 2-1/2" petal shapes out of gold and silver papers with scissors, and then folded each petal shape in half lengthwise, with the metallic sides brought together. I then folded the half petal shape, using a slanted accordion fold. Upon unfolding the petal I had a petal that has the look of a leaf. I could have used discarded metallic wrapping paper to make the petals as well, but I found the cigarette liner paper a little stronger.

Removing the knob and the gold cardboard front piece, I began gluing petals to the back side of the gold cardboard. I staggered both gold and silver petals, and attached them evenly so that about 2/3rds of the metallic side of the petal was visible past the edge of the gold circle. I let the glue dry thoroughly and then reinforced the glued area with tape, just to be sure they were substantially anchored.
Next, I cut out more petal shapes from both colors with scissors. Leaving some flat and smooth, and crumbling some up and then flattening them out again. I attached these evenly between and behind the folded petals that I had previously attached. I staggered gold and silver petals, using both the smooth and crumpled types alternately. These I glued so that they were between the petals in front of them and stuck out a bit further than the first layer of petals as well, attaching about 1/4 of the petal to the back of the gold cardboard circle. I used different textured petals just for variation and to create a little more three-dimensional appearance to the overall design. Again, I let this layer of petals dry and then taped it substantially as well.

Removing the spacers and then the larger cardboard circle from the screw, I used the same method to place more petals on the larger circle of cardboard. Except this time I affixed the first layer of petals on the front side of this cardboard and the second layer on the back. Both extending out further than the previous layers. I also cut a circle of thinner cardboard with scissors and glued it in place to cover the back of the original cardboard circle to give it a neater appearance.

Then I began to decorate the center of the gold front circle. Rummaging through my metal found materials again, I found several matching brass colored drawer pulls. Placing these evenly end for end around the circumference of the circle I formed a smaller circle just inside the outside edge of the gold front piece. After putting them in place I poked holes with the awl again, where each end of the drawer pull will be screwed to the cardboard. Digging up various small sized screws to use, and then also cutting up strips of an empty thick plastic sherbet container to use as a stronger anchor behind the cardboard. I was ready to screw each drawer pull in place, through both the gold cardboard front piece and the plastic piece behind each.

Once that was done I fastened down the floppy handles of the drawer pulls towards the outside of the circle by using the awl to poke holes on each side of the center of the handles and then rolling up the gold cigarette pack liner paper and twisting it into a chord, I placed it around each handle, pulled it through the holes on each side and then tied it on the back side of the card board, securing the ends with tape.

I then wadded up small balls of the gold paper, to glue in the center which were meant to resemble the sun flower seed texture found in a sunflower blossom. Lastly I used a piece of light wire to loop through the back piece of cardboard and twisted together to make a wall hanger. I also glued one last, perhaps falling, petal in the center design as a decorative accent.

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