Tupperwall

Throughout seven years the coworkers at Liberdade 229 piled up dozens of Tupperwares. Most were donated to a food distribution charity, but not without setting 27 aside to a long envisioned piece to be placed in the kitchen

The exact disposition of the Tupperwares underwent many versions: by color, size, orientation, shape. In the end both a hint and an exception to all of those felt best.

Once the layout was settled, every Tupperware was bathed in scorching hot soap water and brushed thoroughly, and then cut open in the back using a small router.

The base (a 1.6cm dense MDF panel) was cut into a rectangle and with the tupperware in their place each position was marked by pencil to be drilled and cut through. Given the very irregular shapes of each Tupperware this took much longer than expected.

One of the layout experiments

Now the frame came on, made out of pine stripes cut at 45º angles and screwed directly through and into the base. After sanding and spray painting (first the white primer and then a glossy white finish) the frame had some small gaps towards the base on some places, which led me to drowning them in paint until gone.

In hindsight I should have filled them with plaster or some other material first, because laying all that paint on one spot generated some “lakes” of paint that had to be scraped off, ultimately creating some small imperfections.

Cutting the holes for the tupperwares
Cutting the holes for the tupperwares
After painting
After painting

Once dry, I first tried gluing each Tupperware into their place but that failed miserably (guess plastic didn’t like that glue), so the solution was using small screws to permanently fix each into place, which is a much more solid solution anyway.

Soldering the LEDs
Soldering the LEDs

With that in place work on the back began. First came on the hinges, which ended up being L-shaped, so that the whole panel has a distance of ~3cm from the wall to allow the light to scatter back and forth, and ultimately through the Tupperwares and as a glow around the whole panel.

The LED is a 5m stripe cut into three smaller stripes and soldered together, fixed indirectly with little bits of wire stapled into the base on each side. The power adapter just barely fits behind the panel, and the on/off switch is a tiny infra-red sensor, so one just needs to swipe the hand to the side of the panel to switch it on or off.

Just when all of this was done I decided the back should also be as white as possible instead of the wooden natural color, so I hand-painted as much area as I could without ruining the Tupperwares or the LEDs. This way the light reflects better back and forth, creating a better spread and more power through the plastics.

A quick white coat on the backside to improve reflection

Final montage was easy, specially because the wall had a plug right behind the panel where the adapter went straight in, avoiding any cabling being seen. It looks fabulous in the dark, but even with daylight you can still see the LEDs bringing the Tupperwares’ colors to life, some more than others, depending on their material and opacity.

Daniel helped me set it up on the wall and took great pictures
Daniel helped me set it up on the wall and took great pictures
Pedro came up with the name Tupperwall
Pedro came up with the name Tupperwall
Each Tupperware is slightly raised to allow the light to shine through the walls, which produces specially nice effects when they're colored
Each Tupperware is slightly raised to allow the light to shine through the walls, which produces specially nice effects when they’re colored
Appropriately placed in the kitchen
Appropriately placed in the kitchen