Remembrance of a Real Tree




About: Student

First post ever in instructables.

I have retrieved hundreds of discarded coffee cups and fashioned it into a life size tree. With this artwork, I wanted to communicate and raise awareness about the issue of non recyclable cups and encourage a sense of personal responsibility for the wasted cups that are destroying natural beauty and damaging the environment.

This might be a big piece, but whoever reads this and creates one themselves. We can all collaborate our piece and turn it into a forest and bring a bigger message=)

Step 1: Material

  • Hot Glue gun

  • scissor

  • exacto knife

  • ruler

  • Scrap material (wood, pipes, and anything strong)

Step 2: Plan Ahead

  • Draw sketches on how your tree will look like.

  • Draw an internal support for the tree.

  • determine how many cups you want to collect.

Step 3: Collecting Process

  • find a location that you know will have lots of thrown out coffee cups (in my case I distributed around my school.)

  • collect as much coffee cups as possible, before constructing


    * as a suggestion, advertise your concept to the public. Ask for their support to make a difference to achieve your project


    *Remember when collecting your cups, wear gloves

Step 4: Preparing the Material

    *You will need scissor, exacto knife, and ruler

  • with your collective cups, wash out the residue and let the cup dry before cutting it.

  • Prepare to cut the cups

    • Cut the bottom of the cup, and cut it open into a flat sheet.

  • Lay it flat and cut the top and bottom , so it looks like a rectangle

  • Step and repeat until all the cups are done. (Be patient on this, when it is all cut you will be really happy =))

    Untitled from Richard Chang on Vimeo.


Step 5: Internal Structural

  • Create a base with scrap materials to support the structure

  • Create an internal frame to support the trunk and branches. ( I used plastic pipes that i collected from the  junk yard for my internal frame.)

Step 6: Constructing Begins

    *You will need a hot glue gun and scissor

  • with the cut out coffee cups, attach a couple so you have a longer strip

  • the first ring you make is going to be the base.

  • From there on, start gluing more rings on top of each other until your satisfy with your trunk.

  • After the trunk is completed, start making branches around the pipes. By taking the cut cups make cones out of it and stack it until you get your desire branch..

  • make as much branches as there is pipes ( In my case there is four big pipes)

  • When your tree is fully constructed with a trunk and branches, don't stop there. Continue, start making twigs and leaves to make your tree more lively.

    Contructing from Richard Chang on Vimeo.


Step 7: Result

  • Your Done!

  • Use your tree and show it to public ( maybe the location where you collected the most coffee cups). Let them remember this was once a real tree.

Runner Up in the
Coffee Cup Challenge



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    20 Discussions


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    You'd think that an established artist would be able to use grammar and spelling properly.


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Let me entertain the possibility that you are Richard Chang - have you ever published any papers, and which educational-establishment do you /did you attend?
    (You've put nothing your profile)


    Logan Drfabioc

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

     You posted videos authored by Richard Chang, Lemonie is most likely just making sure these ideas are authentically yours.

    Btw, this is fantastic


    9 years ago on Introduction

     That is a wonderful project.  Reuse is a great thing, but raising the awareness also brings to mind there was a "use" step in the first place.  Reduce is just as important as reuse.  Thanks for the post!  Outstanding example of artwork driving home the point. 

    1 reply

    Wow... I think this is a wonderful way to raise awareness!  Love that you want to put it where you found the most coffee cups.  Talk about target audience...You could try at the source to (maybe people will think twice about not using a re-usable cup.   I had thought I could find the most cups AT the coffee shop (boy was I wrong).  I have to admit I miss tim bits  :-)   sigh! 


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Gorgeous artistic work!
    I think that is a good project to fight also for the big prize in a parallel competition ;o) - this sculpture real influences on the human imagination!

    PS: Do you glued to the blue cup red on last layers?


    9 years ago on Introduction

     GO RICH GO!!!! Finally a better use for tim's sludge buckets. Awesome work dude =D