Picture of Poppy Lampshade
I have a soft spot for florals. I also have a soft spot for odd-looking and flamboyant home furnishings. My cheap Wal-Mart floor lamp lost its very plain white lampshade (which I didn't like anyway) sometime ago, and ever since I've been meaning to make something to replace it. Preferably something floral. Preferably also something that diffuses light without blocking out too much of it (mood light being a euphemism for stumbling into furniture). I had recently read (here on instructables and other places around the 'net) about people making bowls and plates by melting plastic beads, and a light-bulb came on. I already had some plastic pony beads, in clear red and opaque black, left over from a long-ago project. This made the choice of flower obvious -- a red poppy.


Plastic beads in your choice of color. Mixes can be found in the crafts sections of large stores, and a larger selection of single-color bags is available at craft stores like Michaels. For this project, I ended up using roughly the equivalent of two bags of beads: half a bag of the black ones and one and a half bags of the clear red ones (I ended up having to get an extra bag of the latter).

Large pizza pan (mine is 16" in diameter). It's important for the pan to be large, because it's difficult to introduce a lot of curvature to the lampshade, and you still want it to cover at least most of the height of your light bulb. Especially if you intend to use a CFL bulb. The pan does not absolutely have to be round, but it really needs to be both wide and long.

Large stainless steel bowl. Metal is ideal in this case as it won't be harmed by contact with hot plastic, the plastic won't stick, and you won't chip, crack, or break it. You really don't want to use a plastic bowl for this, but ceramic or glass might work.

Aluminum foil. I didn't have the wider kind and regretted it, as it's difficult to overlap it without leaving gaps between layers for melted plastic to seep into and trap foil inside. Consider getting some for this purpose, if you don't already have any around the house.

A metal jar lid, like from pickles. It's going to help you create a hole in the lampshade. Make sure it's the right size to fit the mounting hardware of your lamp. Mine was a mason-jar style ring.

Non-stick cooking spray. It's optional, but I used some and didn't regret it.

mnmama2 years ago
What a neat idea. It looks like the Tiffany style lamps. I would like a picture of what it looks like when it's ready to pull from the oven if you make another. Does it pour down when you flip it, or is it more like pizza dough, fruit rollups, or soft clay? Looking for a description so it doesn't sit too long or not long enough. It's very attractive, nice job.
pixelinabitmap (author)  mnmama2 years ago
Unfortunately, I was trying to work as quickly as possible when pulling the melted beads out of the oven and shaping them around a bowl, because I didn't want them to cool and get too stiff. Fortunately, this is the case where (much less than a thousand) words are better than a picture: the consistency of the melted plastic when I pulled it out was closer to jelly candy, i.e. floppy but with resistance. It was definitely not runny -- I was trying really hard to catch it before it got to that stage, because it would have made a huge mess when being flipped over a bowl, not to mention seeping between layers of aluminum foil. Basically, since I arranged all my beads with the holes being vertical (this is optional, they will melt together either way), I was able to monitor the slumping process. As soon as I could not see any open holes when checking the oven (and even though the plastic puddle was still relatively lumpy in places), I pulled it out and draped it.

I hope this helps, good luck with your own! :)
ilussier2 years ago
ingenious and stunning!
ilussier2 years ago
ingenious and stunning!
antoniraj2 years ago
lindarose922 years ago
Wow, what a wonderful job you did!! I am worried about the fumes but I need to try this at least once, it's really beautiful!
poofrabbit2 years ago
What a nifty idea! Well done!
Gregbot2 years ago