Does anyone know a good material for making a custom light fixture other than glass?

My mother's birthday is coming up soon and since two things I know are that her current light fixture is crap and her favorite flower is a cala lily I want to make a cala lily light fixture.  Most of it is uncomplicated enough I can do it no problem.  (wiring, attachment, etc.)

The one thing I am a bit worried about is the actual bloom part.  I can negate the heat issue by using an led system to keep the heat down (I prefer it anyway) but I can't think of any material which I can easily shape to the desired form.  I don't have the tools or experience to do glass or metal on a serious level.  I briefly considered polymer clay, but that seems like a rather large piece for it.

I am an adult and I won't hold you responsible if it all goes pear-shaped so any advice is welcome.

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canucksgirl5 years ago
I would modify a big old lamp shade and reuse the rigid material from inside and discard the outer cover and I would do something like I tried to illustrate in this quick drawing. (Thrift stores have a big supply of old '70's lamps). I would make a smaller diameter wire ring for the bottom portion and use that to mount to the lamp. I would cut the lamp material like shown, to make the shade and with some heat, you might be able to curve the pointed area down (similar to an actual calla lilly). What might also look rather neat, is to get (or make) a stamen for the lilly with a yellow tube LED light and install it like shown.

You'd be better off using some construction paper to start, to ensure you have the right sized shade before cutting. Then you could easily cover the shade with fabric like a traditional lamp shade.

Hope this helps. ;)
BTW, however you decide to make it, do an instructable so that we can see how it turned out. ;)
Acrylic sheets are ideal for this, and are widely available.

It can be easily cut and shaped with basic hand tools, and looks good when illuminated. It is also easily bent using heat, but complex compound bends can be difficult to achieve.

You might want to look for some polymorph. It is plastic which melts in hot water, allowing you to shape it by hand, although I'm not sure what is available in terms of colours.
(Polymorph is translucent white, and would probably sag in the constant warmth of a bulb, especially if it's a tungsten filament or halogen bulb.)
Look at polyproplene sheets - soft colour, easily cut, formed in the hands AKA "milk bottle plastic"
blkhawk5 years ago
Some people have shaped acrylic in different shapes using a rotary tool like a Dremmel®.