With a new political season already shaping up, the landscape is soon to be colonized by millions of bright plastic signs blaring one message or another. Unfortunately, after victory (or defeat), most of these signs end up in the garbage -- dirty, bent, mangled by angry opponents, or otherwise generally un-recyclable.
After this fall's set of elections, I harvested a few choice signs from median strips and vacant lots to experiment with. Some years ago, I made a chair (http://www.instructables.com/id/Cardboard-Chairs-101/). This time around, I was looking to take advantage of the translucency of the corrugated plastic, so I made a simple lamp inspired by this project by Andrew Thomson (http://www.thomsonforthewin.com/post/882287812/buckminster-for-president). His is a geodesic masterpiece -- this one is much simpler, goes together with no fasteners or glue, and uses no parts other than fixture and sign. It takes about a half hour to put together, and once you get the hang of it, endless variations are possible. I made mine for free, salvaging the electrical parts out of an old studio lamp, but even if you have to buy a fixture new, it shouldn't run you more than eight or ten bucks.
Make sure to only use CFL or LED bulbs; conventional incandescents will get hot enough to burn or melt the plastic.
You will need these materials:
Corrugated campaign sign
Light socket with cord and switch
You will need these tools:
Box cutter or X-Acto knife
Step 1: Cuttin'
Cut a strip of sign 12" high by 26" long. I sized and placed the strip on the larger sign in order to make each side of the lamp have one letter on it. Make sure the corrugations run from top to bottom of the strip.
Divide the strip into four rectangles 6" wide, leaving a 1" strip on each end to accomodate the tabs that hold it all together. Mark a line 4" up from the bottom all the way across the strip. Mark out three arrowheads on one of the 1" side strips. Mark out three corresponding slots on the other side. Cut out the slots and arrowheads. Cut four slots along your 4" line, each slot centered in its respective rectangle. Make all the slots about 1/8" wide, perhaps a little thinner, for a tight fit. Carefully score along all your vertical marks, cutting through one layer of the sign only.
Mark out a square 5-7/8" to a side. Draw out a shallow point to each side. Cut out, notching the corners. Cut a hole in the center to accomodate the socket.