Introduction: Plastic Bag Lamp

Picture of Plastic Bag Lamp

Some of you may remember the plastic bag lampshade I made last year.
This new lamp is very similar to that lampshade, and it's mostly an experiment I did to try a different structure that came up to my mind. I didn't like the paper mache structure I made for the previous one and I believe that this new version is actually better and faster to make.

I would love to see a taller version of this lamp, I think the effect would be amazing. I can't do it at the moment, but if you do, please share a photo, I would love to see it! :)

I always looked at this lamp as an experiment so I didn't expect much from it, but I really hope that some of you can find it useful and it inspires you to create your own upcycled lamp :)

Materials & Tools:

  • Cardboard
  • plastic bags - I'd say at least 3 or 4 big ones
  • 12 wooden skewers
  • white glue
  • bulb holder and LED light bulb*
  • cutter
  • compass
  • long needle
  • ruler and pencil

*the LED light bulb is very important because it won't burn the cardboard.

Step 1: Make the Base

Picture of Make the Base

Draw a disc on a piece of cardboard with a diameter of about 18cm (7 inches).

Cut the disc (I did it by hand using a cutter) and divide it in 12 equal sections drawing lines with a pencil.

Measure 5mm (0.19 inches) from the border of the disc and make a sign on each line.
Make a hole where the signs are, using a long needle.

Draw the outline of your bulb holder in the middle of the disc and cut it out to obtain a hole.
You'll insert the bulb holder through that hole when the lamp will be done.

The base is done!

Step 2: Form the Structure

Picture of Form the Structure

To make the structure you need 12 wooden skewers.

Measure 3cm (0.11 inches) from the flat side of a skewer and make a sign on it.
This will be the distance from the base to the table, as if they were feet. This distance is very important because it will contain the base of your bulb holder. For this reason, I recommend you to measure your bulb holder's base to make sure that 3cm are enough.

Do the same on all of your 12 skewers. Try to be very accurate when you measure this distance so that the lamp won't move because of different feet.

Apply some glue on that part of the skewers and insert them in the holes you made in the cardboard base.
As you insert them, look at the other side of the base (where the skewers come out from): stop passing them through it as soon as you see the signs you made coming out from the cardboard.
This way you'll have the 3cm feet coming out from the bottom, and the rest of the skewers will be used as structure.

Step 3: Prepare the Plastic Pieces

Picture of Prepare the Plastic Pieces

Cut many strips out of your plastic bags.
Their size is not really important, but make sure that all of them have the shortest side of the same size. I made it about 5cm long (1.96 inches).

Take one of the strips and fold it as if you were making a fan.
To do this you need to fold it up a little bit starting from of the short sides, then turn it and fold it again at the same distance. Turn it again and repeat until you reach the other end.

Open it up again and gently fold it about 4 or 5 times to obtain a shorter layered piece of plastic.

Do this with all of your strips.

Hint: I didn't know how many strips I needed when I started making them, so I simply made more as I put them on the structure.

Step 4: Compose the Lamp

Picture of Compose the Lamp

Insert one of the longest sides of your first plastic piece in two skewers.
Insert the others this way all around the base.

After the first round, insert a plastic piece in other two skewers, right where the free spots of the previous round are.

When the second round is complete too, make another just like the first one.
Proceed this way until your reach the top of the skewers and your whole structure is full of plastic pieces.

Step 5: Make the Top of the Lamp

Picture of Make the Top of the Lamp

Cut a cardboard disc as big as the first one you made.
Divide it in 12 sections as well and make holes, just like what you did on the other disc.

Trace a smaller circle in it at about 2cm (0.78 inches) from the border of the disc, and cut it out.

What you have now is a cardboard ring.

Step 6: Cover the Ring

Picture of Cover the Ring

Cut more plastic strips. Their size is not important at all this time, you can even use scraps, like I did.

Spread some white glue on the cardboard ring and lay your plastic strip on it.
Wrap it around the ring and apply some more glue at the end when your strip has finished.
Keep doing this with other strips until you cover the whole ring.

Prick the plastic where the holes are with a needle, making sure NOT to pass through the other side of the ring. This way the holes will be on one side only.

Step 7: Add the Top

Picture of Add the Top

Put glue on the skewers' tips and insert them into the holes of the ring.

Press the ring down a little, but be careful not to make the skewers pass through the top. They must stay inside of the cardboard.

Let it dry completely and adjust the plastic pieces. You can even trim some if they don't look good.

Step 8: Done!

Picture of Done!

The lamp is done!

Insert the bulb holder from the bottom, right through the hole you made in the base.
Add the LED light bulb and turn it on! :)


jeanniel1 (author)2016-08-17

Oh, I at first thought you'd simply opened the bags up into a cylinder (cut the bottom open, took off the handles), and wrinkled them around the skewers, stacking them atop one another till covered. I guess an alternative is to double over a wider length of the plastic, and gather it while also poking through it with the skewers - like making ruffles.

geekrex (author)2015-09-11

Love this one ,
I can use this technique to smash with my glow circuit :)
Freaking awesome

Hasan Tito (author)2015-04-22

Nice work, I really appreciate your skills..keep going in Linda, with all best wishes.!

lindarose92 (author)Hasan Tito2015-04-22

Thank you so much, it means a lot! :)

domenic3 (author)2014-09-02

very innovative

lindarose92 (author)domenic32014-09-02

Thanks a lot!

hunter999 (author)2014-07-06

Wow, the simplicity of this amazes me, yet it is so clever. Awesome job Linda :D!

Sorry for my absence, been watching the world cup! Too bad Italy and England never made it out of the groups :-(. England didn't surprise me anyways, hehe :-)

lindarose92 (author)hunter9992014-07-07

Thank you so much! Are you going to enter the K'nex contest? :)

hunter999 (author)lindarose922014-07-14

Yup, it's what I specialise in :-). Too bad I broke my thumb yesterday :-( So some of my entries will be delayed. It's good to be commenting again.

I'll reply to your PM's asap! :D

lindarose92 (author)hunter9992014-07-15

So sorry to hear about your thumb :( I hope it goes back to normal soon!

hunter999 (author)lindarose922014-08-04

Haha, it's much better now! Just finished my large entry for the contest, but this new editor is being a pain aha :-)

lindarose92 (author)hunter9992014-08-04

haha I had the same feeling about it at first, but I'm getting used to it now :D

Have you already published the project?

hunter999 (author)lindarose922014-08-04

Nope, not yet! But I'll give you a small preview (this will also tell me if I've done a good job)

Can you guess what it is below? :-)

lindarose92 (author)hunter9992014-08-04

I can't believe that! :O Does it really work???

hunter999 (author)lindarose922014-08-04

Yup yup!!! 'Ible in less than 48 hours :-) Can you guess what it is? :D

lindarose92 (author)hunter9992014-08-04

It looks like a food mixer to me :)

hunter999 (author)lindarose922014-08-04

Bingo!! Yay, now that confirms that I got the shape right! Thanks so much Linda.

And, yes it is fully functional with 2 motors :D

Vid is up soon!

(You just made my day haha).

lindarose92 (author)hunter9992014-08-04

haha you really got it right, I can't wait to see the ible and find out how you made it!

rainerfabio (author)2014-07-10

Very beautiful, fantastic!! congratulations!!

lindarose92 (author)rainerfabio2014-07-10

Thank you so much!!

ahjack46 (author)2014-07-08

it's a superb idea !

lindarose92 (author)ahjack462014-07-08

Oh thank you! :)

ahjack46 (author)2014-07-08

it's a superb idea !

thesnowtheriver (author)2014-07-06

awesome! great job, excellent idea!

Thank you very much!! :)

faisalt305 (author)2014-07-06


lindarose92 (author)faisalt3052014-07-07


emilyvanleemput (author)2014-07-02

Oh, love it! where did you get the LED light bulb?

Thank you Emily!! The LED light bulb can be found in regular hobby stores or wherever light bulbs are sold. At least, that's how it is here...if you can't find them where you are, I'm sure you can get them on Amazon as well! :)

ps: still looking forward to seeing your lamp ;)

I'm still looking forward to seeing it as well ; ). The parts are almost finished now and then I need to figure out how to light it, since I'm kind of making it up as I go ; )

Yay! I can totally understand that, I kind of had that problem when I made my first lampshade...but believe me, that will the best part!! :D

Haha, well, it obviously turned out great :D Hoping to add some more parts to that draft this evening and then I might just be able to finish it tomorrow :D :D

summerinhawaii (author)2014-07-04

Fantastic!! Thank you for sharing your talent :)

My pleasure :) Thank you!!

sunshiine (author)2014-07-01

Wow this looks awesome. I will come back when the vote button is up there! Thanks so much for sharing Linda.


lindarose92 (author)sunshiine2014-07-02

You are so kind sunshiine, thank you so much! It means a lot :)

sunshiine (author)lindarose922014-07-02

Had to come back and give you 3 cheers:) My son loved your lamp. Keeping fingers crossed for you.

lindarose92 (author)sunshiine2014-07-02

I can never thank you enough sunshiine! You are a great maker and a even greater person :)
Your instructables got my votes as well!

Have a beautiful day!

sunshiine (author)lindarose922014-07-04

Gee thanks Linda! I always appreciate your support. Have a super special weekend.


Passion Make (author)2014-07-04

Awesome :)

lindarose92 (author)Passion Make2014-07-04

Thanks! :)

DIY-Guy (author)2014-07-03

It's beautiful!
What about dusting?
What about brittleness over time? Grocery bags fall apart fairly quickly even when stored out of direct sunlight but exposed to reflected light entering from windows.
Any ideas to deal with these issues?

lindarose92 (author)DIY-Guy2014-07-03

Thank you!

Honestly I don't know about that, maybe you could use thicker bags and see what happens.
All I can tell you for sure is that I have had the Tutu lampshade up since last year, and it's still like that. I haven't had any of the problems you mentioned yet.

To eliminate dust you can simply blow air on it, even using a compressor.

Ericsgirl (author)2014-07-03

Oh my goodness, is this ever gorgeous! Absolutely precious; and I do understand how you believe a large version would be amazing! I am just blown away, I shall bow down to you!!! <'~'>

lindarose92 (author)Ericsgirl2014-07-03

Aaaw thank you so much for your kind words, I'm so glad you like it!! :)

Muhaiminah Faiz (author)2014-07-03

This is the cutest lamp ever! LOVE it :)

Oh thank you so much Muhaiminah!! :)

Tarun Upadhyaya (author)2014-07-01

I could not agree more with what Shazni mentioned :). How? Awesome lamp my dear friend.

Thank you Tarun Ji!! If it wasn't for you I didn't even publish it :)

Oh Linda Ji, you are super humble :)

About This Instructable




Bio: I love creating. I love ART in all its forms. I am a daughter of the 50s, born in 1992. I had the pleasure to ... More »
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