How to build an intriguing-looking but simple lamp made of plastic bottles

Picture of How to build an intriguing-looking but simple lamp made of plastic bottles
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Plastic bottles have always fascinated me and since I've been busy creating lampshades (see my other instructables), what lay nearer than building one?

After playing around with the bottles and trying out different things I suddenly had the idea of simply fixing the bottles together at their neck with rubber bands, thereby creating a sphere.

This is the key idea and you're probably good to go on your own from there, but let me share some things I learned in the following steps to make it easier and the result more satisfying for you.

The whole lamp easy to build and doesn't take long to make once you collected and cleaned all these bottles. You'll have an interesting looking lamp for not much effort and time/money investment.

With a medium bright bulb the lamp makes for a great ambient decorating lamp. In the immediate proximity you can still see light spots from where the light shines directly through the bottle ends but this evens out quickly, so it can be used as a ceiling light as well. I plan to turn it into a reading / couch light by building a stand for it.

Step 1: Materials & Tools needed

To build this lamp you will need
- about 50 - 60 plastic bottles (I used half a liter bottles but i guess you can use big ones as well). See the next step for preparation / collection tips.
- standard lamp fixture
- standard CFL lamp (I used a medium bright one)
- about 150 - 200 rubber bands (the usual bulk collection of different diameters you can buy at the office supply store is fine, but for optimal results you might have to buy more than one of these since you might not be able to use all of them).

Tools (for preparing the bottles)
- a sharp knife
- 'cleaning gasoline' / soap / label remover (depending on the labels - see next step)
- lots of tissues

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cityup3 years ago
Glad to see others reuseing plastic bottles.
sthomas22164 years ago
Is their some instructions missing? Where is the light?
NerdoMcDorkus (author)  sthomas22164 years ago
I just added the light fixture at the very last instead of the very last bottle to complete the ball. The fixture is just like the one I used in one of my other projects (see below).
tugelblend4 years ago
I tried to buid a lamp using this instructable and failed big time. I guess I'm missing something. The bottles tend to "untwist" the rubber bands and the whole construction is so unstable that it's impossible to put together more than ten bottles. I guess I'll have to try it in another way...
NerdoMcDorkus (author)  tugelblend4 years ago
Sorry to hear that! How often did you twist the rubber bands? I usually put it once or twice around the first bottle neck (depending on the length of it), then twisted the free part only half a time or once to form an '8' and then put the second bottle into the free loop. I did this twist in order to make the rubber bands hold on to the bottle necks more tightly. It is not always necessary, especially if you put the band around the neck behind the 'rim' that most bottles have below the screw thread.
Did you also also attach the 'new' bottle to all adjacent ones using the same technique? In the end, every bottle should be connected to all of its closest neighbors, so approximately 5 to 6 others.
So, basically with the first 7 bottles, you have something like a flower when looking at it from above, with the central one connected to all 6 at the border and the ones at the border are in addition connected to their neighbors.

I hope this helps, let me know whether it works.