Hanger Lamp





Introduction: Hanger Lamp

This instructable will show you how to create the 'Hanger Lamp' I have designed as part of my BA Product Design final project. My project is based on democratising Upcycling by making designs freely available for re-creation by anyone, I chose to do this as I had noticed that although Upcyled designs are made from free and abundant materials the prices being charged for such designs were pricing many out of the market and creating an exclusive style club for the rich. In order to prove my concept I will need other people, across the globe, to recreate this design and post it to me in London to be displayed at my degree show in June. Please visit my blog Design Democracy for more information, designs and news.

Step 1: Tools & Materials


1. Drinks can (500ml is best as it long and has a large diameter)
2. Wire coat hanger
3. Length of 2-core wire (2 metres is a good length)
4. Standard Plug
5. Pendant Bulb holder (the type used on ceiling lights)
6. Small energy efficient bulb


1. Permanent marker
2. Scissors
3. Wet & Dry abrasive paper (320 grade)
4. 2mm drill bit
5. 30mm hole cutter
6. Hacksaw, Band saw or Stanley knife
7. Mole grips (Vice-grips)
8. Pliers
9. Can cutting template: download from here

Step 2: Print & Cut Template

Print the can template and cut around the bold outer lines.

Step 3: Mark Can for Cutting

Take your template and affix it to the can, then draw around the edge of the template to mark the can. (I usually just wet the paper and dry off the areas of the can immediately surrounding the template, this saves glue and you don't have to wait for it to set!)

Step 4: Drill the Bulb Holder Hole

Remove the template and drill a small hole in the centre of the can's base. For this you will need either a pillar drill or a friend that trusts you enough to hold the can whilst you drill. Once the small pilot hole is drilled it is safe to drill the larger hole to fit the bulb holder. Following the pilot hole use the hole cutter to SLOWLY cut the larger hole.

Step 5: Cut Off the Top

Cut the top of the can off using a hacksaw, Stanley knife or, if you have one, band saw.

Step 6: Cut the Can to Shape the Shade

Using the scissors, cut around the line marked earlier with the template. The corners can be tricky so avoid them in the first cut and remove the bulk first.

Step 7: Clean Up Sharp Edges

Clean up the cut edges of the can using the Wet & Dry paper, you will get a better result if the paper is wet but not soggy. Ensure you remove any burrs (sharp, spiky bits), the best method is to sand parallel to the edge of the metal then lightly sand round each side of the edge at a 45 degree angle. Let the can dry fully before attempting step 11, unless you like to live dangerously of course, I prefer to keep water away from electricity as it really hurts when it goes wrong!

Step 8: Bend the Hanger Into Shape

Bend the hanger into shape, for best results follow this order:

1. Bend the hook into a smaller circle around the bulb holder. This is easiest using the mole grips and pliers
2. Bend the base of the hanger in the middle to about 90 degrees, the end result will be less than 90 as it will spring back but this is desired
3. Bend the base of the hook (just below the twist) away from the apex of the bend made before

Step 9: Attache Bulb Holder to Hanger

Remove the top of the bulb holder (domed part) and push the thread through the hanger's hook and replace the top. Form a loop in the wire behind the holder and press into the slot in the hanger beneath the twist. Attach the bulb, place the lamp on the table and adjust the bend below the twist until it stands on its own

Step 10: Attach Shade

Remove the bulb, unscrew the bottom of the bulb holder (cone shaped part) and push the exposed thread through the hole in the base of the can, replace the bottom of the bulb holder and bulb.

Step 11: Finished!

Now that you have completed your lamp, why not make another and send one to me, for the fantastic opportunity to have one of your own creations displayed alongside my original at two design shows in June. The first will be at my degree show at the Truman Brewery and the second at New Designers, both in central London! For details please visit my Design Democracy Blog.

Thanks for reading and enjoy creating, remixing and tweaking the hanger lamp!



    • Oil Contest

      Oil Contest
    • Woodworking Contest

      Woodworking Contest
    • Casting Contest

      Casting Contest

    We have a be nice policy.
    Please be positive and constructive.




    I like this simplicity of this lamp. Nice work!

    A classy project. I think a FOSTER's beer can would be interesting. Some ot the electrical fittings were difficult or me to see and discovering you location in London, I understood. Maybe someon in the USA could do the project and the parts would be a bit more recognizable for the novice in the states.

    Nice tut! I like the look of the lamp, although your lamp has that extra touch thanks to the fabric on the wiring. Where did you get that fabric-covered wire?

    Totally nifty design: sound & elegant. Nice Instructable, too. :) Just a brief note from the "Two Countries Separated by a Common Language" Dept. - What are "mole grips" (presumably not some sort of tool specialized to the purpose of grasping subterranean rodents)? In the US, we have a type of locking pliers known as "vice grips" - do you know if these might be the same as "mole grips"?

    7 replies

    Cheers! After a quick Google I can confirm that mole-grips and vice-grips are indeed one and the same, I knew about the spanner/wrench thing but this is a new language lesson for me!

    There are a seemingly infinite number of language lessons awaiting we who try to communciate across the pond. It's not even the first time I'v been (figuratively) tripped up by a mole - you should have seen my Aussie friends when I asked them if it didn't take an awfully large number of moles to make a pair of moleskin trousers. :)

    A picky little point from the "Hope You Don't Mind" Dept.-
    Was re-reading this today (am seriously thinking about trying to making one), and happened to notice:
    "step 7 - Clean Up...
    ...Let the can dry fully before attempting step 14."
    But we're done in step 11. While this does ensure that the can will indeed be fully dry long before we ever get to step 14, I'm not sure that's quite what you'd intended. :)

    Thanks for pointing that out! This whole mass collaboration thing is really useful! I think I had written a guide in word beforehand which had a few more steps but when I adapted it for Instrutables I must have forgotten to change that bit.
    Please, please do make one, It will help me out so much and you'll be able to say that something you have made has been displayed at a design show in London! Send me a message when you have finished or visit my blog (http://designplant.wordpress.com) and I'll get the postal address to you and sort out paying for your postage!

    Oh - you'll be able to pay/reimburse for the postage? ...The needle on my feasibility meter just took a big jump towards "positive." :)

    And while I'm getting ahead of myself -
    - Would you want just the stand & shade, or all the electrical parts as well? I think you have to use adapters to get US electrics to work on UK circuits; but then, you might want to do that to emphasize the whole "globalness" of the project.
    - And would you need/want me to ship the bulb? I might be able to pack it well enough to get there in one piece, but if UK and US bulbs are interchangeable (are they?), it might not be worth the bother.

    You must be living right - I wouldn't drink Red Bull on a bet (well, not on a small bet, anyway :), but yesterday some un-civically-minded litterbug left an empty 500 ml can just where I would find it. :)
    (Imitating yours as closely as possible will be good for my first attempt, but I'm also keeping an eye out for some very "American," or at least distinctly un-British, beverage can to use for the one I'd send to you. Budweiser, maybe? Or (shudder) Coors?

    Yeah, I will definitely pay/reimburse for postage, whichever way round you prefer. Ideally I'd need you to send all the electrical components too because, as you correctly pointed out, this will emphasise the "globalness" of the project. You don't need to send the bulb though as I can get a bulb to fit here and UK mains supply is 240v so it'll blow a US bulb immediately! A first ayyempt is a good idea as cutting the can can be a bit tricky at first and if you can get hold of a particularly American can then that again would emphasise even further the "globalness". Thanks for helping out, you've really got me excited about this project again, I was beginning to think I'd never be able to get anyone to help prove my concept!

    Great - we can work out the details on the postage thing once I get the thing done, it's just good to know what to plan for. No worries re shipping the electricals (it makes good sense now that I think about it), and not having to worry about packing a light bulb for trans-atlantic gorilla transport is good. I'm sure there's a better & more proper word than "globalness," but I don't seem to be able to think of it. :)

    My guess, as un-educated as it may be, would be the part where you start adding wet cans to electrical wiring... I would be interested in knowing where step 14 is though and what indeed it is meant to contain.

    I see "Stripe", Red Bull and San Miguel: which is your favorite, for drinkin and for a lamp? L

    2 replies

    I think Red Stripe and San Miguel are best for both as I'm not a fan of Red Bull (tastes like medicine to me) and the can has a smaller diameter so it is harder to cut and assemble, any 500ml can is best really.

    I think San Miguel has the better look, but I'd rather drink Stripe. L

    Most excellent project indeed.

    I love how resourceful this project is. The final result actually works really well! Great work!