Projects by the students of the
Bachelor Major in Art, Major in Design,
and the Master in Eco-Social Design

DIY BAMBOO FIBER: from single use bamboo chopstick


MA Practice Based Course




DIY BAMBOO FIBER: from single use bamboo chopstick

If there is one material that has always fascinated me the most it is bamboo. More than fascinated, every time I see it leaves me embarrassed. It leaves me embarrassed because it is able to take on so many forms and so many physical characteristics that each time, I am amazed to see it used in that or that other way. In the traditional Japanese green tea-making tool, it seems to take on the characteristics of harmonic steel and yet in the classic Chinese steamer, the material takes on three different forms in a single object, from the slats for the support grid, to the curved laminate, and finally to the lace that sews the components together. It is this intrinsic mutability of bamboo that intrigues me to investigate further.

After an initial phase of research where I investigated the actual structure of the material, identified the element that makes it so versatile, the fiber, and finally collected the different methods of processing bamboo itself, both industrially and by hand; I translated what I had learned to a smaller, domestic and affordable scale. Using caustic soda, commonly used in the textile processing of bamboo, I dissolved and processed bamboo chopsticks, considered a waste material after its first use and easily available in large quantities. With this easily replicable process, I am able to extract the cellulose fibers from the chopstick and use them to make new objects.

With a good library of samples, experiments, and possible processes, I present a publication of a few pages where the result of my research is briefly presented and finally contains three recipes of different difficulties for making simple everyday objects from reused bamboo chopsticks.

In conclusion, I am very surprised at what I have been able to and in general is possible to do with simple scrap materials and common home tools. Precisely for this reason, although I am very interested in the potential of my research expanded to a larger scale, I believe that the strength of this project lies in the simplicity and self-production, not only because of the possibility to recycle something, but also to be able to raise one’s awareness about everyday waste and the use of organic materials.