Industrial Designer Christopher Stuart Turns Plasti Dip And Cable Ties Into Creative DIY Projects

Industrial designer Christopher Stuart on his essential DIY tools.

Industrial Designer Christopher Stuart Turns Plasti Dip And Cable Ties Into Creative DIY Projects
Photo by Billy Delfs

Photo by Billy Delfs

“The economy made everyone rethink how they consume,”
designer Christopher Stuart. He knows firsthand–after losing his job as
a prototype maker turned industrial designer in 2009, he returned to his
hometown of Noblesville, Indiana, and got to work crafting
industrial-modern furniture pieces from unassuming materials, such as an
armoire from spare flooring and aluminum trim. His work reenergized the
design firm Luur Studio, which he originally launched in 2007, and
inspired his latest project, how-to book DIY Furniture: A Step-by-Step
. “I had to consider how I could open doors for myself,” he says.
“Couple that thinking with a hardware store, which is accessible to
everyone, and you end up with a creativity that’s for the people.”

Grandfather's Pipe


Stuart’s grandfather worked at and later owned a pipe company, and
Stuart now keeps this handmade briar-root artifact as both a childhood
memento and piece of inspiration. “It’s a reminder to continue making
things with your hands.”

Plasti Dip rubber coating

Plasti Dip rubber coating

“As a DIY-er, you look at every single spray paint on the
shelf,” Stuart says. “And one day, there it was, this black rubber spray
paint.” Most recently, Stuart used Plasti Dip to convert blocks of wood
into “fancy” doorstops.

Brass Knuckles

“Ram My Knuckles”
Indiana law
prohibits the sale of brass knuckles, with a bizarre exception: brass
knuckles in the form of a belt buckle. “I found this at one of the
shadiest flea markets in Indianapolis,” Stuart says. One ceramic ram and
a coat of gold-luster glaze transformed the knuckles into a paperweight
for Stuart’s studio.

Deluxe Pit

Cable Ties
“Sometimes you
just need to stick two things together, and fast,” says Stuart, who buys
the crayon-box-colored ties in packs of 500 and keeps them handy for
large-scale projects. “They’re the new duct tape.” ($9 for 500,

Folding Techniques for Designers, From Sheet to Form

Folding Techniques for Designers,
From Sheet to Form

This book by Paul Jackson provides blueprints for more than 70 ways to
pleat, curve, and crumple paper. Stuart adapted the techniques to design
a line of lighting fixtures that can be packed flat and reassembled at
home. ($22,


“Every time I go
to the store and decide to buy a plant, I gravitate to these little,
tiny sculptural pieces,” he says. “I recently saw some hanging
terrariums, and it’s now on my to-do list to make them. I could throw in
some moss that grows outside the studio.”

Mille Bornes

Lighting parts
switching to one of these chrome-faced bulbs can transform a lamp into
something entirely different,” Stuart says of these off-the-shelf
examples. “They’re perfect for DIY lighting.” (From $1,

Photos by Billy Delfs