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the research, process, and final outcome of creating the product

Emma Thea Hoop | Personal Project: create | Mr. G | 11.29.09


1. Traditional cutlery 2. Wheat cutlery 3. Din-ink, biodegradable pen-cap cutlery set 4. Bio-degradable wheat cutlery 5. Credit Card Cutlery, fork and spoon set 6. Children’s “grip” spoon and fork 6. Plastic, all-in-one set 7. Metal, “open-air” handled cutlery 8. Bamboo and metal sporks

mood board

initial design

- flat-pack design - the utensil needed to be “assembled” by the user - to create a 3d ‘spoon’ area, the utensil was twisted in towards itself - the material had to be scored to achieve the right spoon shape after twisting - the fork had rounded points; more of a scooping device - the whole utensil served as the plant tag - the prototype was laser-cut out of chipboard

why re-design? - find a practical material - refine the design as needed due to material constraints - take the project from concept to market-ready product

re-design criteria utensil

- ergonomic - user-tested (i.e. it actualy spoons and forks food) - plant tag is less bulky; some punch-out or ‘leave behind’ of whole utensil - practical and cost efficient - eco-friendly/sustainable material - has the same aesthetic qualities as the first concept - market-ready and realistic

packaging - readability for both utensil & wrapper - re-designed for target audience - fasteners/closures/glue that are eco-friendly - each individual utensil, but also package as a whole

branding - company branding/message - overall packaging and shipping (i.e. how many to an order, how many in a pack, different herbs offered, etc.) - where it would be sold - pricing, cost of manufacture and specialty materials

target audience

The target audience for Seedling Silverware is varied. People that would use the utensil includes: - young, hip, modern, city dwellers aged 20-30 - families that are teaching children a ‘green’ lifestyle - already ‘green’ people (that recycle, compost, etc.) Seedling Silverware can be used in daily situations OR for special events: - parties, banquets, weddings as an alternative to plastic cutlery - picnics - to-go food (could be used at fast food places?) - lunch away from home (at the office or school) - novelty gifts *Need to make sure that this product is pushed past the “usual” alternative cutlery i.e. cutlery that looks like traditional stainless steel variety, but simply use a different material like starch or bamboo


The essential things that it needs to do:

- bend

- hold food

materials criteria what is “eco-friendly”? An “eco-friendly” material is any material that is acceptable for humans to take from the environment and use, that doesn’t hurt the humans or the environment This would include any material that is recyclable, re-used, re-furbished, fast-growing, easy to grow, easy to maintain, naturally occuring and flourishing, doesn’t hurt the soil or environment when grown or harvested, doesn’t pollute the environment when refined or used, and/or biodegrades

what about eating?

- needs to make it through the entire meal - consider temperature of the material while interacting with hot or cold food (i.e. metal being too cold with ice cream) - different food textures - wet, dry, crunchy, hot, etc. - material texture in mouth - should consider food absorption - odor of material while eating - process of cutting out material & if that affects eating (burrs from cutting metal, burning smell from cutting wood)

what is ideal?

- can bend & give without breaking - feels smooth in hands & mouth - is durable enough to be used as plant tag (or at least a remnant) - is food-safe

materials research initial brainstorming Utensil - aluminum - bamboo - birch - cork - corn starch - crepe - hemp - jute - paper - plastic - spring steel - starched fabric

Packaging - cotton rags - soy ink - carpet fibers? - saw dust? -> some sort of remnant from production of the utensil or something else of that nature


Material Qualities - Pros soft, durable, lightweight, malleable metal nonmagnetic, nonsparking, conducts heat 100% recyclable without any loss of its qualities the most widely used non-ferrous metal Material Qualities - Cons can be toxic in super high concentrations reduce plant growth in acidic soil



Material Qualities - Pros pulp from sugarcane stalks made into a paper-like substance can be molded into different shapes and products heat tolerant like paper; can be put in the microwave can hold liquids & absorbs grease more enviro-friendly and renewable than traditional paper will compost in approx. 45-60 days replaces styrofoam Material Qualities - Cons crushing 10 tonnes of sugarcane makes only 3 tonnes of bagasse, so it’s not very efficient dust from making the pulp can cause lung & medical problems


Material Qualities - Pros fastest growing plant on Earth! naturally strong fiberous generates more oxygen than other trees highly adaptable plants

Material Qualities - Cons super popular & possibly over-used doesn’t seem flexible enough no good precedents uses natural food and habitat of endagered species


Material Qualities - Pros Hardwood, fine-grained, pale color, satin sheen Nice, fragrant smell Pulp has short fibres, good for for making paper Good for veneer & furniture Birch plywood used for skateboards; strong and ‘flexy’ Has been used in Russia for footwear Bark was used in the past for canoes, bowls, and wigwams because of it’s lightness, flexibility, and ease of gathering from trees Material Qualities - Cons Burns really well 15-20% of hay fever sufferers are sensitive to birch pollen grains


Material Qualities - Pros impermeable, buoyant, elasticity fire resistant, low thermal conductivity low density and good energy absorption sustainable production, easy to recycle products & byproducts cork oak forests prevent desertification and are the home of various endangered species Material Qualities - Cons popularity could be detrimental to environment

corn plastic

Material Qualities - Pros PLA (polylactide) is made from lactic acid from corn Corn is a renewable resource look and feel just like regular plastic; 100% biodegradable and compostable Is competitively priced with PET plastic & is less expensive for some products Current products include: cups, cutlery, food containers, trash bags and more Material Qualities - Cons Weaken if in hot and/or humid conditions Hard to ship long distances


Material Qualities - Pros is strong & grows quickly can be used to clear impurities out of wastewater and for weed control Don’t need pesticides while growing precedent usese are: paper, textiles, biodegradable plastics, construction, food and fuel Can be combined with concrete to strengthen it for construction Material Qualities - Cons Same plant as marijuana, just less THC no specific precedents for hemp products involving eating


Material Qualities - Pros is a long, soft, shiny vegetable fiber that can be spun into threads one of the cheapest natural fibres is second only to cotton in amount produced and variety of uses is a ligno-cellulosic fibre that is partially a textile fibre and partially wood makes burlap is a rain-fed crop with little need for fertilizer or pesticides biodegradable Material Qualities - Cons already a large market for it in other countries; could put too much pressure on them to produce more crop no specific precedents for jute products involving eating


Material Qualities - Pros (specifically paper straws) spiral wound from a thick paper, coated for liquid fully biodegradable, compost-friendly and 100% chlorine free (could use this as an example for a thick, paper origami utensil) Material Qualities - Cons Could further hurt the wood-pulp-paper industry The production of wood pulp paper still claims one of the highest carbon dioxide emissions by industry How long would it really last through a meal?

materials research secondary brainstorming General Ideas - materials that are moldable after heating them - memory materials - flat-packed, die-cut metal with precise bending points -> i.e. measured to make sure there is no spring-back - different methods of beding and curving wood (kerfing, steaming, soaking in water) - woven materials -> using the properties of already researched materials in some sort of tightly woven material to give flexibility, but retain their original qualities New Materials to Research - Ash wood (flexible, strong, tough, straight grained) - Bendywood™ and/or Flexywood™ - blackwrap i.e. “rigid origami” - Coconut fiber board (?) - Hytrel© thermoplastic by DuPont - PET (polyethylene terephthalate) -> one of the most recycled plastic resins - Polypropylene (PP) “molded origami” - Polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) biodegradable plastic - Poplar wood -> Droog orange peeler precedent - Proflex© steel (by Corus Packaging Plus) - PVC (polyvinyl chloride) in it’s more limp state - Tyvek© (HDPE) plastic-paper


Material Qualities - Pros hardwood, straight grained flexible, strong, tough, flexible super workable when steamed has good machining qualities, and is quite easy to use with nails, screws and glue typical applications: hockey sticks, tool handles Material Qualities - Cons makes good firewood



Material Qualities - Pros flexible at room temperature available in different hardwood timbers can be worked as normal timber chemical-free Material Qualities - Cons Bendywood, the product, is not waterproof and cannot be used for food


Material Qualities - Pros heat resistant pliable keeps it’s shape can twist, paint, wrap, stick, etc. made of aluminum & is recylable indoor & outdoor use “feels like a cross between thick aluminum foil and paper. More rigid than foil & has a matte black paint finish” Material Qualities - Cons Have only found it supplied by photography & film stores so it’s expensive and hard to find

coconut fiber board

Material Qualities - Pros excellent durability rot-resistand thermal and acoustic insulation enviro-friendly almost odorless used for: rope, yarn, doormats, rugs, water filters, etc. Material Qualities - Cons hard to find a lot of information on it


Material Qualities - Pros thermoplastic polyester elastomers provide the flexibility of rubbers, the strength of plastics, and the processibility of thermoplastics strong, tough, stiff, resists hydrocarbons and other fluids resists tearing, flex-cut growth, creep and abrasion good for anything that needs to bend, flex, twist, open, compress, turn, squeeze, etc. Material Qualities - Cons specifically made my DuPont hard to find information and/or other products that use this material because it’s new and unknown


Material Qualities - Pros recyclable resistant to chemicals dimensional stability tough, durable, good impact strength excellent surface finish Material Qualities - Cons competitively priced with PLA, which is possibly a better material choice


Material Qualities - Pros flexible & can flex repeatedly without breaking high heat resistance resistant to chemicals low water absorption well balanced between toughness, stiffness, and hardness low cost, low density, low coefficient of friction commonly recycled with a number 5 Material Qualities - Cons chain degradation of the material if exposed to UV rays from sunlight (couldn’t eat outside with a utensil made of polypropylene without adding fillers)

polyvinyl alcohol

Material Qualities - Pros film forming, emulsifying, and adhesive properties resistant to oil, grease and solvent odorless and nontoxic high tensile strength and flexibility, as well as high oxygen and aroma barrier properties biodegradable, environmentally sound, can be transparent Material Qualities - Cons can be biodegradable and “wash away� but would be bad for food that disolves it!

poplar wood

Material Qualities - Pros pale colored wood tough for its weight good resistance to splintering as a softwood straigh & wolly grained good workability trees grow big & tall Droog orange peeler precendent Material Qualities - Cons poor for steam bending


Material Qualities - Pros ultra-thin flexible, ductile, formable, tactile 100% recyclable Material Qualities - Cons Hard to find information about it; doesn’t seem to be offered by Corus packaging anymore


Material Qualities - Pros easy to form & color, cheap water and chemical resistant flexible, limp incredibly versatile & comes in different forms from rigid (PVC-U) that is used for pipes (upper right) Material Qualities - Cons the additives required to make PVC flexible can leach out of the vinyl, and are possibly unhealthy is most likely not a good solution for the utensil


Material Qualities - Pros super strong, lightweight, tear resistant provides a barrier against liquids resists continuous folding and flexing keeps properties across a variety of temperatures chemically inert, nontoxic, unaffected by most chemicals approved for contact with food Material Qualities - Cons hard to recycle; is a plastic-paper


Kerfing is the process of using a saw blade to remove material from wood to allow it to bend and for the interior curve to press into itself. The degree of bend depends upon how far apart, how many, and how deep each slice is. Utilizing kerfing can allow one product to be made out of one single piece of wood. Kerfing does not change anything about the cellular structure of the wood like steam and heat bending do, but it does subtract material and leave literal gaps - which can be filled in later if necessary

wood bending

Wood can be bent by steam and heat bending. With heat bending, the wood is soaked in water. The moisture and heat from the bending iron reorganizes the structure of the wood and prevents bendback. Harder needs to be soaked in water for longer. If this process could be done at home with a thin piece of wood, it could translate into a fun family project

concepts 1. aluminum * it bends * it’s recyclable * it could be easily die-cut and flat packed * simple! 2. kerfed wood (a process of taking away material from one side of a piece of wood to allow for it to bend) * the lines scored into the chip board prototype were an attempt at kerfing without knowing it * can still use bamboo or birch or some wood * this is the closest to the original design * this would push it past something that looks (and probably feels) like a throw-away item (like aluminum or thin plastic) * would hopefully be able to easily un-bend and be ‘flat-packed’ again for trips, picnics, etc. 3. DIY at home kits for bending wood * a craft project that the user gets to participate in (choose your own adventure) * could use steam or heat or both * it wouldn’t un-twist that easily -> wouldn’t be very portable anymore; becomes an at-home keepsake 4. plastic * unoriginal * plastic can be colored and recycled and washed * lots of fillers can be added to plastic for different end results * some interesting “plastic origami” projects already exist 5. something woven * this is the most “out there” because it involves things that don’t exist yet * a really tightly woven fabric would be flexible and strong * lots of opportunities with different natural fibers that haven’t been utilized yet

Create Cutlery  
Create Cutlery  

research, information, thought process