Introduction: The Castaway
Hello fellow instructabees! This is an instructable on how to build a big, beautiful, hanging lamp just like this one I have hanging in my room. You may be saying to yourself, "But Tommy, why would I want one of these wonderful, room warming, hipster-huggin, mood makin, hanging gems of glorious beauty?". I'll tell you why. These babies are built mostly from material straight from mother nature herself. The rest of what you need is probably in your toolbox already. They are fun to make, they are greener than green, they look amazing, and they are cheap! Let's make one, shall we?
Step 1: Get What You Need
The materials for this project are quite simple and dirt cheap. Chances are, you probably have all or most of them already. If not, maybe you should.
1. VINES - Obviously, you need vines/twigs to build this lamp. I pulled mine off of the fence in my back yard. It doesn't matter what kind of vine or twig you choose really. It just needs to be bendable but not flimsy. If you can't form it into at least a half circle then you can't use it.
2. LAMP CORD AND SOCKET - You can either take apart that old lamp you aren't using, or find one at your local thrift store. I got the pieces I'm using from a lamp at Goodwill for 50 cent. <-- "Like a fat kid loves cake"
3. SCREWDRIVER - Just for wiring up the lamp. It's very simple, but here's a pretty good tutorial on doing that.
4. Twine/String/Rope/Wire - Any will work. It's your prerogative.
5. Scissors/Wire Cutters - Depending on what you choose for #4
6. Light Bulb - It would be weird without one. I would recommend an energy efficient bulb since we're batting for the green team here.
Step 2: Get Framed
Once you haul all of your vines into your workshop (or old, moldy, floody basement/workshop in my case), pick out two or three of the thicker vines in the bunch. You will want to use them to make the basic frame of your "stick orb", because they will hold shape better than the thinner vines.
Take one of the main vines you picked, and pull it into a circle. The size is of your circle is up to you. Mine ended up being just around 3.5' in circumference when I finished it. I would recommend making sure the circle is big enough to fit a bulb inside with at least 4 inches of space all around it.
You may be noticing that it is nearly impossible to force the vine into a perfect circle, but don't worry. Get it as close as you can, and as you add the smaller vines later, you can place them around your main frame to give it more of a sphere shape. I honestly enjoy the way that the lamp eventually shapes itself based on the way the vines grew naturally.
Once you have the vine in a good enough circle, cut a pretty long piece of twine and tie it where the two ends meet. This is where you could use some wire instead to make the frame a bit sturdier. I've found that if the twine is wrapped a few times and tied tightly, then it holds up fine.
Next, take another of your stronger vines and do the same with it. Turn it sideways and tie the two pieces together (see picture). This will be your basic stick/vine/twig frame of greatness! Good job.
Step 3: It's 'Hang and Make' and I Helped!
You may assume this step isn't necessary, but I've found that it really helps when trying to build your frame. Unless you can focus the inner most power of your skull-juice and make this thing levitate... You'll want to hang it from something as you work on it. I conveniently found a rafter just above my table that worked perfectly. I've even attached my cord to a broom stick and closed it in a window before. Whatever works.
This part is important. Before you hang and start adding to your frame, you need to attach your electrical cord to the frame itself. The best way I've found to do this is to wrap the cord (see my in-depth how to illustration) around the frame and SECURE IT WITH TWINE. Do not make a knot with the cord itself. I don't know if a knot would technically be bad for a wire but it seems like it would be.
Here's where thinking ahead can save you some twine. Assuming you are going to hang this beautiful baby in a room, you should make the twine that you secure your cord to your frame with long enough to reach the ceiling when you hang her up. If you don't do this now, then you will have to cut more twine and tie it up later. "What's the point of that?", you say? Here's the point of that... Although the final product isn't very heavy, you need to let the twine take the weight of the lamp when you hang it from the ceiling. Not the electrical cord. That would be bad.
At this point, I usually go ahead and wire up the socket. You can even insert the bulb and build your frame around it. It is it a bit easier to do it now instead of trying to reach through a bunch of vines and do it later. It's up to you, but don't say I didn't warn you...
Step 4: It's Starting to Look Like Something
Here's the fun part. By now, you should have your main frame attached to your cord, and hanging in front of you like a small ominous twiggy death star. Now, you can start adding the rest of the vines to your frame. I've taken a picture of how you can actually find spots to let your twigs kind of "wedge" themselves into spots of other vines without having to secure them yet. If you find spots like this then you can keep adding more vines over that, and save twine by securing them all together in groups instead of cutting one piece for each vine. I've also attached a picture of a spot where I tied a clump of vines together using one piece of twine. Remember to leave a section big enough to reach in and change your bulb if you need to replace it.
You should also note that if you use a strong knot, then you don't have to wrap the lighter pieces as many times as you did with your main frame. A little twine and a good knot can go a long way! Be smart.
Step 5: Awesome Lamp, Great Job!
Wow! Doesn't it look great!?
Now that you have secured your entire globe of stick glory, you can either go ahead and hang that baby, or add a little eye candy. It's really up to you at this point. For my chandelier, I used an over-sized energy efficient bulb that I found at the local Habitat For Humanity store. I also decided to add a couple spots of thicker twine to mine just for kicks. One way to do that is to take two pieces of twine and roll them together into one thick piece and wrap a section with it. If you have a drill lying around then you can do this really quickly. Just take out your drill bit, and insert the two ends of twine where your bit was. Then tighten your drill around them and spin! Fun and easy!
If you feel comfortable hanging the lamp yourself, then go for it. Here's a pretty good tutorial on how to do that. If not, don't be a hero. You can always let an electrician take care of it for you. It won't make you or your lamp any less cool.
Enjoy the new sensual, woodsy, DIY vibes that your room takes on. I hope you had fun making them.
I'd love to see how your big, beautiful, green chandelier turns out. Feel free to email me some pics or any questions you have. I may even make the last page of this tutorial a gallery of sorts if anyone wants to show off.
Be safe and have fun.
Step 6: Gallery of Sorts
Here are a few shots of the final product for inspirational purposes. Get pumped.