Intro: Upcycle an Old Electronic Into Art
Want to make something creative with your own hands? Enjoy disassembling things? Need some geek art that soothes your little inner computer nerd but costs you nearly nothing? Give this instructable a go!
Step 1: Find Something Electronic That You (or Someone Else) No Longer Needs
Old computers are a great find, they are full of wires, plugs and interesting components. Old TV's or sewing machines or telephones or just about anything will work. I scrounge verge pick ups and all of my friends know not to throw away anything remotely interesting without consulting me first.
Step 2: Make Sure You Have All the Tools
You will need at minimum a couple of screwdrivers, one flat, one phillips. I recommend have a set of small screwdrivers also. Some of the screws you encounter (particularly in computers) are very small. A set of odd screwdrivers, the star shaped ones for getting through weird fastenings on hard drives etc, are very handy also.
I like to have a pair of pliers and snips or scissors handy also.
Step 3: Protect Your Work Surface!
I work on an old table. It is an old office table that used to be my kitchen table but I destroyed it by using it as a work surface. If you need to use a surface other than a shed bench then lay down and old cardboard box or at least a towel over it. Electronics are sharp and scratchy and will score your surface.
Another reason to place something down before you work is it makes clean up easier. Old computers are full of dust, old toasters are full of crumbs, old keyboards are just gross in general and full of everything known to man. a towel means you can just clear off your components when you are finished and toss all that grot into the washing machine and out of your life.
Step 4: Have at It!
This is the fun part! Start unscrewing everything you have access too. Pull off the bits you don't need and bin them (large outer casings and glass panels usually go into the trash/recycling). Keep all the screws and interesting bits and pieces you find inside your electronic object. Keep the cables too, if you like, they can add interest to an art piece. Organise things as best you can, my collection is pretty organised these days but started out as a couple of cardboard boxes full of snaplock bags with a myriad of bits inside. I just have too much laying around these days not to have it organised better.
Step 5: Find a Frame
I often use cheap picture frames I can get at my local crafting store or departments store. I grab a bunch when they are on sale. I just remove the glass and use the backing board as my crafting surface taking into account the width of frame so that it will fit back on once I am done.
The second hand store is always an option for frames but you need to purchase one with a backing board or buy a suitable board to fit the frame. You can use the large external casings of computers or laptops as a board also.
Sometimes I just use a large piece of MDF and frame it myself or use components to build a frame around the piece while I am working on it.
Its up to you, it is your art.
Step 6: Begin Your Arrangement
Start piling things on your backing board (make sure to draw a pencil line inside the frame onto the board first so that you know where your edge is) arrange things to your liking, try to build something that looks like it would work or just pile stuff up until the resulting mess looks good to you. Don't forget that you can paint this if you'd like so the colours could change.
Start gluing things in place. If you are afraid that you will disturb things that look good right now when you start gluing then take a picture with your mobile phone. You can always reference it later so that you can replace things where they were if they move.
I use a hot glue gun most of the time but also use other glues if necessary.
Step 7: Decide If You Want to Paint
Most of the time I paint my creations and primarily I paint them black and lightly brush some metallic over them to pick out the textures but sometimes I go to town with the colour an make them really vivid. Sometimes I don't paint them at all. It is up to you, it is your art and you are decoration your space. Do what works for you.
After painting I like to spray varnish my creation. This is purely personal also. If you want to then do it, if you don't then forget I said anything.
The piece here (called Emergence) was not painted but just spray varnished as you see it here.
Step 8: Replace Your Frame and Enjoy Your Art!
Fix your frame in place around your new art piece and stand it or hang it where ever it pleases you most. You have created something amazing from scrap that was going to become landfill. You can enjoy having a unique art piece that you created with your own hands. You can try to tell me that it is not addictive but I have an entire crafting room that refutes that claim! Now go and find more things to disassemble!