Upcycled Wearables


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Have students view the jewelry of Yuma Fujimaki here. Ask students to describe the materials that the artist uses and to describe what makes the work unique.

Discuss the difference between recycling and upcycling. Consider that up cycling happens with materials which can’t traditionally be recycled (like computer parts or old machine parts). Share that engineers and designers both identify problems and then seek out new ways to solve that problem. Ask: What are items that we can upcycle in our school and how can we create something new, useful or innovative out of these items?

Lesson Process:

Step 1:  Provide students with a variety of old “non-recyclable” materials such as circuit boards, machine parts, and other so-called “junk”.

Step 2: Students should each brainstorm ways to take these parts and upcycle them into a piece of wearable art. Students will need to investigate how to create their wearable art through various building/adhesion techniques. Create a sketch and journal building steps.

Step 3:  Students create their wearable art using the materials and techniques they explored. Students must make adjustments as necessary through their design process.

Step 4:  Students present their finished upcycled wearable art as a gallery presentation to their peers. Provide a written statement that describes the process, materials used and how the parts were transformed for a new purpose.

Time Required:
30-45 minutes

Materials List:

  • Non-recyclable materials: circuit boards machine parts, nuts, bolts, etc.
  • Sketch paper and pencils.
  • Nails, screws, straight edge, tsquare,
  • hammers, hand saws, power tools,
  • cutting mats, tape measure, screwdrivers, x-acto knives


Purchase Card.

As students complete the gallery walk to view items made by their peers, they will fill out a purchase card of items they would like to “buy”. Must include how much they would pay for the item, how they determined its value to them and a description of pluses and deltas for the selected pieces.