Introduction: Recreating the Moooi Random Light by Bertjan Pot

Picture of Recreating the Moooi Random Light by Bertjan Pot

There are a number of tutorials out there for this particular fixture. I recommend watching a few of them. I looked at about three before embarking on this and the result is below. This is only MY method of doing this project. I encourage you to experiment and find your own best way. And please feel free to share what you may have done differently.

Items needed:
One ball or balloon (your choice as to size) we used a 26" exercise ball
One skein yarn
2 Bottles of fabric hardener
an old bowl
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Light fixture canopy
enough wire to hang as low as you like
lamp holder
(everything below the dashed line to this point can be found in a "pendant fitter" kit from a hardware store.)

Two washers
Two wire lock (ferrules)

decorative bulb (I'm going with a sphere g25 clear 60 watt)
(everything below the dashed line to this point can be found in a "pendant fitter" kit from a hardware store.)

Two washers
Two wire lock

decorative bulb (I'm going with a sphere clear G25 60watt but hey, let your freak flag fly!)

Step 1:

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This is the Moooi Random light...retails for about $3500 and comes in white or black.  We wanted grey and did not want to pay $3500 dollars for the privilege so we started working! I can see doing this in any number of colors or using multiple colors on the same fixture. Be creative!  Think outside the box and make different shapes.  


Step 2:

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First step is to take a sphere to work with. You can go to a party store and buy a large balloon or you can do what we did and buy a cheap exercise ball. This way it can be reused but I will get to that later.

SO once you have your sphere, take a skein of whatever color yarn you would like to use and soak it in fabric stiffener. We used Modge Podge Stiffy.  We actually wound up using 2 bottles of the stuff so buy accordingly.

Tie one loop around your sphere and tie it off...then, proceed to spend a couple hours wrapping around and around.


Step 3:

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To this point, we have only put the initial coat of hardener on the strings. In other tutorials, they will recommend going over all the strings with another coat of something, be it stiffener, glue, lacquer or whatever. We did not do this. 

The reason we didn't do this is because when you paint an additional coat onto the string, the liquid spreads. And as it dries, it creates little glue bridges between the gaps, filling them. Which is bad and requires you to go back later and cut out hundreds of little glue bits...que l'ennui.

Once you have gotten it to the point you like (or in our case, the baby woke up from his nap.) tie off the end back to the original starting point. Then, leave in a ventilated space to dry for a couple of days.

Be sure to rotate the ball so that it doesn't dry unevenly or get grooves where it is resting.

Step 4:

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Now it is time to let this badboy harden up. At this point, the lessons I have taken are that I would have used a slightly thinner yarn and that in the Moooi, there is a circular opening that is created by running the thread tangentially to a cylindrical place holder. I opted not to do that, and in the future will cut a hole in order to remove the ball and insert a light bulb. But I think it looks better the moooi way.

Lastly, don't forget to visit your ball and rotate it so the bottom portion can get some air as well.

Step 5:

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It's important when buying hardware to keep in mind the kind of finish you want to have on the fixture. We wanted to have a brushed stainless finish on it (to match everything else) so this selection has to extend to everything...in this case, instead of splurging on actual stainless hardware the zinc will suffice.

Be sure to get washers that are a little bit broader in diameter so that they are ensured to catch the strings.

Step 6:

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Wire stops. Very important because this is what will hold the washer in place and in turn, keep your bulb centered in your fixture.

Step 7:

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This is the pendant kit I found today. I was killing myself trying to locate all the individual pieces when it occurred that they already sell this stuff pre-packaged! And the look pretty contemporary too...no need to reinvent the wheel.

Step 8:

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This is the kit out of the package...as you can see it has the canopy, the wire and the lamp holder all set to go. If you are not worried about the bulb being centered in the fixture, the lamp holder on this guy is designed to hold the fixture to it...so that is another option.

Step 9:

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Last purchased item would be the bulb. I went with a 60 watt G25 bulb in clear.

This will change depending on the size of your fixture and intent. The lower the G number the smaller the bulb and the lower the wattage the dimmer the bulb.

These also come in frosted, half chromed (a lovely look) and others...so remember...everything is an opportunity for design.

Step 10:

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The string, now completely dry, is ready to removes.

We pulled the plug on the exercise ball and let the ball deflate. This was a little nerve wracking. Since we only did the one coat, the strings were not rock solid, so as the ball pulled away, it had the tendency to try to take the strings with it.

This was not a problem as it turns out, and we just kept an eye on it and pulled the strings back as need be.

If you want to be pre-emptive, it would serve well to, before you actually deflate the balloon, to go around with a pencil eraser and push in on the ball, thereby separating the strings from the rubber.

Step 11:

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We need to get the ball out, and eventually be able to install a light bulb. So we need an opening.

In the actual Moooi light, they use some sort of cylinder during the wrapping phase to retain an opening. In future attempts I am going to emulate this as it looks much cleaner, but for now we are just going to cut it out. This light is not going to be permanent but just has to last for a few years.

Find an item, a bowl or tupperware or something, that has the appropriate diameter for the opening. I can't tell you exactly what size to use, but try to think in proportion. You don't want anything too big, and if it is too small, you'll not be able to get a bulb in!

Lay it on the ball where you would want your opening. Pick a place where you may have not covered the ball very well. Then, using a permanent marker, trace the bowl.

Step 12:

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Using a sharp pair of scissors, cut out the circle. Again, I am not a fan of how this looks, but it will serve the purpose for now...

Step 13:

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Removing the exercise ball was just a matter of squeezing it and folding it and getting it out of the hole...don't be worried if you accidentally bend a string or two during the process, they will return to position quite easily.

Step 14:

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So the ferrule I purchased was just a little bit on the small side. So I had to take a drill to it and bore out the hole some. Make sure to check the diameter of your wire and get something only slightly larger in the ferrule opening.

Step 15:

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String your light fixture into your globe. Continue to feed the wire until you have it so that, when hanging, the bulb is in the center of the globe. You don't want the light to be off center.

When you've located it properly, mark it with some electrical tape. Then, slide your ferrule and one washer down to this location from the top end of the wire. Using a crimps, permanently affix the ferrule in this location.

Make sure your washer cannot accidentally slip through the location you've selected to feed the wire through. The fixture needs to be able to hang from this point and not slip down.

Next, slide the other washer on, followed by the second ferrule. Slide these down until the first ferrule/washer set and the second washer/ferrule set are pinching the sphere.

Secure the second ferrule in this position.

Your light is now suspended in the middle of the sphere...forever

Step 16:

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Step 17:

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All Done! And by the end, we spent about $35...that's just 1% of the total cost of a new one!

Be sure to test it out before you install it.

And if you are wondering whether or not you can just jab bare wires into the wall outlet to test your light, you can. However, I do not recommend it. Use a licensed and insured electrician for any installation work around the home.

Have FUN!!!

Comments

hsiu-chingc (author)2016-05-31

How long does your homemade light stay in sharp? Since it contains only fabric harder to keep it in sharp, does it change sharp over time?

Hsiu

dana.arndt.94 made it! (author)2014-11-23

Bertjan, thanks for an excellent tutorial. One step we added is spraying the "fiber shell" with clear shellac to harden it some more (once the exercise ball is out). We hang the light fixture just yesterday, and so this idea needs to be time-tested.

PascalineC (author)dana.arndt.942015-03-16

Dana, it looks gorgeous. Do you have a list of items you used? Type of yarn, light fixture material.

Great job.

dana.arndt.94 (author)PascalineC2015-03-17

Thank you! As for the supplies' list, I may not recall all the details, but here is what I do. The light fixture I ordered online from Home Depot for $14.95 is "1-Light Matte Black Vintage Hanging Pendant Light Fixture with Black Rope". The fabric stiffener brand I used is "Stiffy." As for yarn, it was acrylic, not wool. Go with something relatively thin because when it absorbs the stiffener, it becomes thicker, and I prefer the more delicate, subtle look. How much yarn you will need depends on the size of the fixture you're making. Let it dry for several days - patience pays off. After I took out the exercise ball, I sprayed the fiber shell with clear water-based shellac in a spray can. Once challenge was how to keep the cord in place once we threaded it through the shell. The recommendation from the tutorial did not work for us. We simply used a washer and under in we wrapped the cord with standard black electric tape in black -- the shell is so light that it keeps it in light just fine. One more tip -- thread the cord into the shell further from the opening because the tension between the opening and the cord once the fixture is hanging can deform the shape (it happened w/ my first shell). Good luck! It's a fun (albeit messy) project, and we love the result.

PascalineC (author)dana.arndt.942015-03-17

Thanks Dana! Really appreciate all the tips. I will make sure to post a picture once I am done.

lcollins13 (author)2014-10-06

Here is the video I found. The green one is not on here though.

lcollins13 made it! (author)2014-10-06

this is the first one I made. I used xmas style lights as it was just going to be an accent light. I made another and used solar led lights and it is hanging out doors.looks nice at night hanging in the tree like a twinkling orb.

twall2 (author)lcollins132014-10-06

Very nice! I like the idea of using xmas lights.

Another thought would be to use flexible LED lights like these
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00L9W8CAS/ref=sr_ph?ie=UTF8&qid

That way there is more control in their layout plus battery powered :)

Great ideas Lcollins!

lcollins13 (author)twall22014-10-06

Funny you should say that! I actually did that exact thing. I have a video of the 3 I made I will post. One is a small orb battery operated with the flexible led lights. Another is larger orb painted white inside and black outside and the solar led lights. The last is another large orb but Xmas lights and painted hunter green.

lcollins13 made it! (author)2014-10-06

this is the first one I made. I used xmas style lights as it was just going to be an accent light. I made another and used solar led lights and it is hanging out doors.looks nice at night hanging in the tree like a twinkling orb.

science22 (author)2013-11-27

You could try to tape down the bowl on to the ball, wrap the yarn around the entire ball and around the bowl, once dry you end up with a nice finished opening.

Great post Im thinking of making some for my dorm this upcoming year

twall2 (author)science222013-12-02

A good thought, Science. Make sure to use a lightweight bowl and one without a lip on it.

mdeblasi1 (author)2013-11-28

I wonder how difficult it would be to create the lamp in the original material, epoxy dipped fiberglass?

twall2 (author)mdeblasi12013-12-02

I suppose it would depend on how comfortable you are with the material! I've never used it, but hey, first time for everything :)

jjdebenedictis (author)2013-11-27

Beautiful! And even more lovely for being only 1% the cost of the original. :D

samalert (author)jjdebenedictis2013-11-27

Even if its 1% less or shooting the budget i would love and appreciate the hard work i have put into and satisfaction brings it to whole another level. And yes customization is the key in doing DIY's cost factor in another.

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