Introduction: Floppy Disk Lampshade

Picture of Floppy Disk Lampshade

My first instructable so please be kind!!

Trying to find something new to do with floppy disks, everyone has seen the pen pots and courier bags. I was determined to do something different, so here's my take on a lampshade... floppy style!

You will need 17 floppy disks
a drill and a 3 or 4mm drill bit
44 small cable ties plus some spares
a craft knife
some bag ties

1. drill extra holes in all of your floppies, flick the lock switch up to create a hole... you should have four holes in each floppy, one in each corner.

2. next remove the internal disc from the casing. a sharp knife should be sufficient to remove the metal sliding cover and split the casing without damaging anything. remove the disc and reassemble the casing, glue should not be required. if you have a handy pendant fitting you will notice that the hole that is left is almost big enough for the pendant to screw into.  You will need to cut that hole through to the other side of the disk using the craft knife. once complete try screwing the pendant fitting into it, most likely it will not quite fit so using the craft knife start shaving bits off the hole until it is large enough  to screw the pendant fitting into it.

3. layout the floppies in the pattern shown and start to tie them together loosely using the cable ties, starting with the central band of eight. once the central band is loosely connected start to tighten each cable tie, ensuring the joins between each disc are even and firm.  once satisfied all the connections are good and solid AND tight you can snip off all the excess plastic from the ties. you may want to use pliers to assist in the tightening.

4. start attaching the upper and lower floppies, again leaving the ties loose until you've fixed them all then gradually tightening them all until you're satisfied. Leave the top section and the floppy with the pendant hole until last as things start to get fiddly by this point. once all floppies are connected and the ties tightened, clip off all the remaining excess from the ties, attach to a pendant fitting fit a bulb... et voila!

Note: I have no idea if this is a safe way to connect a lampshade to a pendant fitting, I have conducted a fire test and floppy disks ignite easily when exposed to a flame and burn freely. As such it would be best to use low temperature energy saving bulbs (LED based bulbs are the best option but CEFl bulbs should also be fine) and modern electrical equipment to reduce the build up of heat. I have also tested this with a relatively old pendant fitting, there was no appreciable build up of heat over a periods of several hours.

I welcome comments from anyone who knows whether there are regulations governing this sort of thing. This is just me trying stuff out, and I welcome any input.


moonchylde (author)2014-12-18

Now I know what to do with the 400+ floppy disks I trash picked last year! Thanks!

bhaail (author)2012-09-16

I want to make this! no idea where to buy floppy disks anymore...

moonchylde (author)bhaail2014-12-18

Try Walmart. I'm not joking, I've seen brand new floppy disks for sale at several walmarts, for a couple bucks a twenty pack.

Technohippy (author)bhaail2012-09-17

Ebay is your friend!!

just picked up 40 for £5 and decided not to get 300 for 99p... i know, I know, what was I thinking?

ImakeTV made it! (author)2014-12-16

Sorry it took so long to upload photos. Thank you so the inspiration!

Technohippy (author)ImakeTV2014-12-16

Oh awesome! great job, and that lamp looks really cool.

I ended up removing the bottom 4 disks to let more light out, kind of necessary in the area where I have it. It still looks cool though.

Really nice to see someone elses effort

tmilham (author)2013-05-31

Wow, cool project!
Just wanted to let you know that your project was linked to in a news article!

Technohippy (author)tmilham2013-05-31

Wow back atcha!

Many thanks for the feature, thats really cool!

jonesr895 (author)2013-03-21


Computothought (author)2012-10-31


dll932 (author)2012-09-16

Try it with CD jewel cases. A little light sanding will frost them to diffuse the light. I did this once and it looked pretty good.

Technohippy (author)dll9322012-09-17

cool idea.

How did you connect them? I would be nervous of drilling as I did here, because they are quite brittle

dll932 (author)Technohippy2012-09-17

I did it different. I superglued six of them in a vertical hexagon on top of a disc I made of acrylic. I drilled holes in three of them near the top to hang it with.

Technohippy (author)dll9322012-09-18

ah cool... good to know!

alex4point0 (author)2012-09-16

if you don't have many floppies but want to try this instructable:

try breaking the floppies in half, just flex them a bit to see how they're joined together.

if you want to keep the metal sliding cover, cut them in half along their bottom edge with a pair of tin snips or straight cutters.

you can also remove the magnetic/plastic disc from inside as well, which will make your lamp lighter, and you don't have to worry about the plastic releasing any noxious material. and *cough* less combustible material too.

for anyone who's a light touch at soldering, what about leaving the plastic disc inside the floppies, pulling or gluing the covers back, and attaching LEDs behind them? they're slightly transparent...

Technohippy do you have many more floppies? would you consider making anything larger or 'minecraft'-cube themed?

Thanks for taking the time to share your design with us.

Technohippy (author)alex4point02012-09-17

I have about 100 floppies remaining. I want to make at least one of these each in blue, black and grey to sell on ebay... then I'm thinking about a simple phone dock.

I like the modularity of a disc with holes in each corner, however that does limit the constructable shapes. the phone stand will have holes in other places too... watch this space!

Technohippy (author)alex4point02012-09-17

All good thoughts, thanks for commenting.

There are so many permutations to how floppies can be used.

My primary concern here was getting something rigid that wasn't... er ... floppy

obviously triangles are the strongest shapes and cubes are only rigid if all 6 sides are included.

I have thought about larger, more complex designs primarily based on star wars... a tie fighter with this shape at its centre would be my starting point.

Not very big on minecraft, my step son loves it though so I might be able to rope him in on some design work... I'll run it by him.

geekOmat (author)2012-09-16

What is a floppy disc?

Technohippy (author)geekOmat2012-09-17


meanpc (author)2012-09-16

The design reminded me of this Rubik's cube toy:

Technohippy (author)meanpc2012-09-16

Ah cool a rubik snake... I had one of those (maybe where the idea really came from!!)

meanpc (author)2012-09-16

That picture of that floppy disc in flames will scare just about anybody off from this project - it is a legitimate concern though. It would be terrible to hear about someone's house getting torched because of the floppy disc lamp shade. I agree that low-wattage LED bulbs would be the way to go.

Do you need UL certification to sell this as a product?

Would like to see the shade in translucent, neon discs.

Technohippy (author)meanpc2012-09-16

Lol honestly that was kind of my intention. I didn't want to be accused of playing down the risks! However this one has been up for days now and has only got slightly warm. Also that disk was ignited with a flame, I believe a hot wire test is what determines the flammability of furnishings.

I haven't been able to find any regs for lampshades sold seperately, only those sold with lamps.

Funnily enough , what inspired me was this one with coloured disks which give a nice effect

Oldbear (author)2012-09-16

At first I thought it was a Death Star Lamp... An 8-bit Death Star... but that was my first thought. Nice job and great instructable

Technohippy (author)Oldbear2012-09-16

Lol cool... hmm I have some beige disks... maybe an atat?... or an xwing?

Thank you

eXtremeSomething (author)2012-09-13

This is so cooool. I bet if you used the transluscent / colored floppies, it would diffuse the different colored light. You might have to take the actual disk out though.

thanks dude.

thinking of selling these on etsy, I'll be interested to see if people actually buy them!!

Ohhhhhh snaaaap

cokecola (author)2012-09-13

This would look good if you use the transparent colored disks.

Technohippy (author)cokecola2012-09-13

Thanks for the comment.

Yes you're absolutely right... just using what I have at the moment. I have seen lights which use opaque coloured disks which light up quite well too ... look at this

looks pretty nice.

Penolopy Bulnick (author)2012-09-12

Awesome! I'm glad you thought ahead about the heat the floppys will be enduring. Not sure if I would have thought of that ahead of time and it's a good thing to keep in mind :)


If i could have thought up a way of using a metal gimble instead i would have done that, but I looked at the pendant and the hole in the floppy and thought it was a no-brainer. got a little worried after the fire test though hence the disclaimer!!!

thanks for the comment :D

About This Instructable




Bio: I have struggled to come up with a label that accurately describes what I do creatively. Some days I’m a musician, some days an ... More »
More by Technohippy:A simple pallet gatePallet BenchesFloppy disk phone dock
Add instructable to: