Picture of Big lamps from Ikea lampan lamps
This Instructable shows you how to build large spherical lamps out of Ikea lampan lamps ( $4.99 each ). The lamps are based on platonic solids. With this method I have built large spheres up to 32 lamps.
In the PDF below i included three templates: for the six, twelve and 32 lamp versions. These are all generated from a python script in the Maya software. I calculated that the largest sphere that could be build has about 120 lamps and i would love to build that one; but it will be heavy and bright and probably needs some serious thinking on the structural integrity. Drop me a mail if you are interested in having one.

See the flickr set for more pictures and my log.

Step 1: Tools

Picture of Tools
You need a couple of tools. I burn holes in the lamps with a soldering iron and connect them together with 'tie-wraps. You need also tools to strip the wires and connect them together. I use piggy-back connectors (used in cars). They come with a nice tool to squeeze them together, but there are various other ways.
You can use a clothes hanger to mount the lamp on the ceiling.

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MeetaL16 days ago

very very cool!

ludivego6 years ago
Just an FYI. It will not look like this if you do this in the US. There is not color coding. I did use a voltmeter when I did mine to make sure that I wired up the same wires to each other. I also soldered the connections and used shrink tubing instead of butt connectors. As for the safety of it. When I bought my lamps at Ikea I also bought the compact fluorescent bulbs (about $4.50 each). They are rated at about 7 watts each so for 6 the lamp is about 42 watts. I have left it on for several hours to see if it would overheat or if the wiring would "melt" so far after about 10 hours of use no problems. All in all I love the lamp and I am thinking of building the 12 lamp version.
 when connecting wire for US. how did you use the voltmeter to makesure the wires were right

It is impossible because there is no "wrong" way. Either way is equally safe and viable and the lamps will be fine.

MarkF28 MarkF2823 days ago

Let me clarify. The only wire that matters is the one with the switch that plugs into the wall. Wire up the system with the switch OFF and no light bulbs in the sockets. Plug the plug into the wall. Check the voltage (AC) between the light bulb socket and a convenient ground (such as a water pipe). Turn the switch on and you will see there is 120 volts AC inside each socket. If you do not see 120 volts when the switch is on you aren't testing the right points, or your ground isn't good. Now turn the switch off. There should always be zero volts between the socket and the pipe when the switch is off. If the sockets show 120 volts with the switch off, you have the wires on the switch connection flipped. Swap the two switch wires and you are good to go.

When you say, "... wired up the same wires to each other", do you mean positive-to-positive and negative-to-negative?  Since there's no color-coding in the U.S. version, I heard that the wire with writing embossed in the plastic is the "hot" wire?  Does it matter, as long as you're consistent?

It does not actually matter, because the power is AC and each fixture
works independently. Switching wires only puts the electrical connection
of that light bulb 180 degrees out of phase, but it still works and
there is no harm done. Try it and you will see. There is no such thing
as "positive" and "negative" terminals in AC power, except in the
transient sense that every 1/120th of a second each wire changes from
being positive to negative and then back.

Yes it does matter and you do need to be consistent. So Positive to Positive and Negative to Negative.

I used a Digital multimeter and tested the wiring to make sure that it was all consistent.

Nice work! And heve you seen these DIY lamps? http://www.yeahmag.com/the-10-best-diy-lamps-for-you/#1


When I first read "the bird lamp" I laughed my coffee out...

BartholomewH4 months ago

How could have I never thought about lamps!
This is kinda hilarious since it's been quite some time I do Ikea furniture assembly as a living..
I think I have a good idea what we should add to our "Ikea furniture to do" list.

janvanhulzen made it!1 year ago

The lamp is very nice, i like it a lot. Connecting the lamps was a bit of a puzzle. In the end i made two clusters of three connected lamps, then attached three lamps to each cluster in such a way that the loose lamps would not touch each other and were connected to two of the lamps in the original, three lamp cluster. Thanks for coming up with the design and posting it...

ikea hack.jpg
Mvmeerkerk made it!1 year ago

I met Daan at a festival in 2011 and it is still the centerpiece of my living room.

stigm made it!1 year ago

If you are using a temperature controlled soldering iron, I used 230°C (446°F) which melted the plastic for the holes without burning.

I also soldered the wires and used white heat-shrink. Took much longer but the inside of the lamp looks great ('nexus' of white wires).

The lamp makes me think of a Katamari ball from Katamari Damacy
Lol yeah katamari damacy ftw!! Someone should make a katamari lamp or ball though glue random objects together that would be awesome!
nillusius4 years ago
I just build mine (6 lampan version), didn't take long at all!
Very interesting idea. I just discovered it.

I'm planning to build the x12 version. I have a few questions:

1) will the standard power cable be enough to support the tension generated by 12x7w LED bulbs?
2) I'm planning to use 11x black Lampans +1x red Lampan. In this sense, I would like to use 1 high power bulb in the red lampan (e.g. 40w standard bulb). Considering the particular wiring of the project, would this represent a problem in terms of... I don't know... power balancing? or something?

I'm not an technician and would like to have your advice on this. Thank you in advance.
holotropic5 years ago
4 lamps.....tetrahedron............3 holes (evenly drilled in the base of each lamp)
6 lamps.....cube........................4 holes
8 lamps......octahedron............3 holes
12 lamps....dodecahedron......5 holes
20 lamps....icosahedron..........3 holes (not always possible(may overlap)) more possibilities use peda polypro software and find incredible numbers
thats so cool! :D
EyTommy5 years ago
I was building my dodecahedron the last three days. It wasn't such difficult as is thought. Thank you for sharing this instruction and the time you've spent in developing the whole idea.
B.oom5 years ago
i love how the red one glows when its turned on!

please have a look at my lamp i created over the weekend

>Chinese take out lamp<

surfturf5 years ago
Its a uite "steep learning curve" here from unpacking the lamps to Print out the appropriate page(s) of the template PDF". Maybe you should present the pdf:s and the usege of those holes earlier? Good idea though. I WILL make this one..
kronflux5 years ago
aw crap not roller mines again.. >,>
rewena6 years ago
cooool!!! can u just get a light bulb and hard paper around the light bulb like the ones in the starbucks bathroom on ocean gate hey that gave me an idea for an instructable!!!!
imrobot rewena5 years ago
post it!
tokechamp5 years ago
fantastic easy way to build a great designer lamp and i builed it in red NAJZ
GETLOST6 years ago
it was really cool, but I have a question. what colored lamps did he use in the picture of the Instructable(the orange one). dono, but I read somewhere in comment section it was a red base and white shade. if so, is there ne way I can buy the shade and the base by them self from ikea? thnx in advance :) p.s. im new to the hole instuctable thing; sorry for being anooyyyyiiiing.
LePyro6 years ago
Dude they look like rollermines from half-life 2!
aadjan6 years ago
And here is big one: a no92 (it's even interactive!). Took a bit more work than say a no12. or even a no32. There is an internal supporting frame inside otherwise the poor lampans would crush each other and the lamp would not look particularly spherical.
There is a more info on this page: http://waprile.weblog.tudelft.nl/
(Image credits: Walter Aprile)
This is mine, This instructable really helped allot! I hope you like it, I sure do. Thanks, Bob
missus_s6 years ago
I probably don't have the skills to build one of these, but I must say that I'm glad i came across it. I saw these little lamps at IKEA, but the warm plastic smell plus enclosed bulb worried me about fire hazards. However, just one would be perfect for a little space that needs light in my house. Knowing you successfully built lamps with multiples, i.e., without burning down your house, is just the push I needed to go get one of these cute little lamps. Thanks!
2004123756 years ago
SWEET, very Brilliant.
quoa6 years ago
My boyfriend and I just finished building our own dodecahedron lamp! It really looks great - now I just need to find some cheap energy-efficient bulbs. We put a bunch of 40 Watt incandescent bulbs in it just to see how it looks, and it's seriously bright and very, very hot. I'm thinking 7 Watt bulbs will be okay. Thanks for the tutorial!
This is simply awesome. I'm seriously considering building either a 12 or 32 lamp version. If I was crazy enough to build the 32 lamp version (and I'm pretty crazy...), would it actually fit in my house? Roughly what is its diameter? For that matter, how big is the 12 lamp one?
daan (author)  p996911turbo7 years ago
The 12 version has a diameter of about 75 cm and the 32 version about 95 cm. The 32 version pushes the limit: it is quite heavy and I'm not certain that it is suitable for hanging.
Mr. Lemon daan6 years ago
dude i built the 32 it has been in my room for over a year
Post a pic?
Yeah, reality has gripped my now disappointed mind, and I've realised that the 32 lamp version has a few downsides: 1) It won't fit through my doors - I'd have to build it in the room I want it to hang in... 2) 32 Lampan lamps in this country will cost me AU$254.40 and I'd have to buy 32 bulbs too... 3) With 32 bulbs I'll be constantly replacing them unless I go for LEDs ($$$) I think the 12 lamp version is a serious bet though. I can afford it, it still looks awesome, it fits through doors and 12 bulbs isn't completely insane (just a bit crazy). Would it cast enough light to fully light a large room or would it be more of a decorative chandelier that needs lamps to provide the useful lighting? Obviously that's dependent on the bulb used and colour of the shade. So let's say the white shades and a 7W CFL.
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