Step 1: What you need

Picture of What you need
I saw a lampshade made out of the shape below at a friend's house, so I traced the shape and made my own. the lamp i saw used thin plastic for the pieces. I believe the original design for this lamp was done over 30 years ago by the firm Iqlight, they sell pre-cut parts in case you do not want to make the parts yourself.

Below is the shape as an image, and i've also attached a DXF file.

You will need sheets of paper or plastic that allow light to get through. The stiffness of your material determines how large your pieces can be - stiffer material for larger pieces and larger lamps, thinner material for smaller pieces and smaller lamps. (see next step)

You will need a lamp fixture - just a raw socket on a cord. I found some nice ones at Ikea for $4, and some fluorescent bulbs. Use a compact fluorescent bulb so you can get more light without melting the plastic.

I experimented with a number of different plastics and sizes for the parts, here are my results:

- HDPE: works well, looks good, cheap and easy to get. I used 0.8mm thick stock for 8cm pieces (measured flat-side to flat-side). That's about the smallest you'd want to go with that thickness, you could go up to 12 or 15cm with that thickness. this is the least expensive plastic by far. One of the commenters suggested using plastic milk-bottles, which are made of HDPE, this is a good idea!

- Acetal (delrin): this seems to be the best choice for looks, it has the purest white color and best light dispersion (basically, looks just like acrylic except it doesn't crack as easily). I used 0.35mm stock for 6cm and 8cm pieces, and 0.5mm stock for 8-12cm pieces, and 0.65mm stock for 12-15cm pieces. It still is a little brittle and harder to work with than HDPE, and more expensive. if you cut this with scissors it will be somewhat tricky due to the brittleness, but possible.

- Vinyl: I did not try it, probably want to use thicker pieces since it is not very stiff. but you can use colors!

- Paper: I did not try paper but it should be good for smaller constructions.

- Laminated paper: this is a great idea suggested in the coments section. try laminating color tissue paper, then cut the pieces from that. very unique and colorful!

- Acrylic: too brittle, it will crack when you try to assemble. too bad!

- Nylon: has a yellow-ish look when lit up which makes it undesirable.

- for a large construction use stiffer material for the same size piece. ie, if you are making a lampshade with 12 pieces use thinner material than if you are making a shade with 100 pieces, assuming same size pieces.

Where to get it:

HDPE 1/32" sheet: sheet: http://www.usplastics.com item number 42584

Acetal sheet, 0.015" and 0.020":: http://www.mcmaster.com item number 8738K52 and 8738K53

Klode6 years ago
Has anybody tried it with 1/32" birch plywood? I can't seem to find this kind of plastic in Canada and our milk is sold in cartons not jugs... So i am tempted to try it with thin plywood... I am looking to make the 80 piece model... Thanks for your help!
Ex0 Klode5 years ago
I'm in Canada too..I was thinking...would 2 litre pop bottles work?
dworssap6 years ago
Thanks for the instructable. I used the mexican style (see http://0pointer.de/blog/iqlamp-stencil.html with the stencil from Flickr.
I made a 30 piece lampshade. Here are some pictures:

One sheet of HDPE from usplastics.com (HDPE 24" x 48" 1/32" Thick) was enough for one lamp.

The lamp itself I bought for $3 off of craigslist; I used a 75W equivalent compact fluorescent bulb, which doesn't get too hot.

I hope other people have as much fun with this as I did.

Photo 15.jpgPhoto 14.jpg
Hi !! I tried this one with cardboard and cut in 12 pieces. I did it yesterday at night and I had so much fun. Thanks for the instructable!!!

Im using it in my bedroom :)
bullkelsae5 years ago
Very nice instructable, I will be trying this soon, if you want to add colur and still use the same plastics you could apply some sign vinyl to the shapes before or after cutting which isn't expensive to buy, alternativley you can just ask any sign maker about scrap material as they always have a lot around, translucent vinyl would be best but normal vinyl will still let light through.
flytape84905 years ago
This would be really cool to make out of a pack of cards
reprint7 years ago
Thanks for posted this - i'm playing with different shapes to make and am halfway through a giant star shape. I didn't download your dxf file but simply traced over the picture above... a computer screen works just as well as a lightbox ;) I was just careful to use a soft pen so as not to damage my screen. A thought for those having an issue with the file.
I right-clicked on the picture and clicked "print picture" I hope it's the same size, but it's the shape that's special, right?
Cigani reprint6 years ago
im making my 1st one out of paper. I right clicked on "SELECT ALL" and then right clicked on the template and then save "Save Pic As" then i printed out 50 copies... SUPER CHEAP AND FAST! I hope it will look as goog as theres does :)
Instead of acrylic, what about polycarbonate (Brand name, Lexan)? Unlike acrylic, it is much more flexible - you can bend it all day long without breaking. Not too expensive when purchased in such thin sheets. Any good building supply should have some (they sell it along with acrylic for glass pane replacements).
lukevery6 years ago
i love very much this lamp...
moonrover6 years ago
i bought one of these when i was in mexico so i just wanted to help you guys that are trying to figure out materials a little... for mine the plastic they used is only slightly more bendable than the plastic from milk jugs, so it might be a little stiff at first but thats definitely something you can use, especially for larger lamps. a little awhile ago i saw some 8" x 11" plastic sheets at the craft store that are for people cutting out their own stencils...again those are a little bit stiffer compared to what my lamp was made of but would totally do the job. as far as paper goes...im not sure but i think that would be too opaque. my lamp, as it is, doesnt shed that much light (definitely just an accent lamp). although, to be fair mine has pieces in black, purple, and white, with the black and purple on the top half and the white on the bottom half. you could always hold up your sheet of paper to the light though and see how much comes through!
marcostoma6 years ago
Fantástico o efeito !
would cardstock be an ideal material to use? or would it be too thick of a color compared to plastic? (i am using plain white cardstock)
jak067 years ago
will styrene work?
IdeaFactory7 years ago
Hi, am trying to download the DXF file, but it;snot working, can anybody care to mail me the dxf or cdr file at wa@ideafactory.co.in Regards Wadhwa Ajay
Hi ! I can't get the DXF file either, did anyone send another template to you that you can forward to me ? thanks !
jak067 years ago
do you know of a ratio for the size and number of the pieces to the finished product. I need a specific size to replace small a globe.
dan (author)  jak067 years ago
the 30-piece balls shown in a couple of my photos are about 250mm diameter, the pieces they use measure 70mm between the two flat edges.
love the lamp, i'm making a 8'x4' light box that also shows films on the front. i bought the hdpe from the site listed above and its pretty good but has some shine to it. does anyone know where to get similar material without the shine?
cool lamp7 years ago
I had really good luck with the Carolina write-on/wipe-off poster board. You can use either the shiny or the dull side out. It is really easy to cut and can be used with this style of lamp up to 1.5 ft in diameter. Depending on the size of lamp you are making, you will get 6-15 pieces / sheet. At $1.44/ sheet, this makes a very reasonably priced lamp. I have used regular and fluorescent bulbs and prefer any that give a bright white glow. I either make my own cord or buy a ready made one from IKEA ($2.99 15 ft.). I make these with my 4th grade students and the results were fabulous! I ordered from Mister Art and was very happy with the service and timely delivery. I would appreciate any other design templates/instructions that anyone would like to share,

Carolina Pad Write On/Wipe Off Item # 6931225 1.44
Hieu8 years ago
Walmart sells Flexible Cutting Mat (7065200725 in kitchen supplies area) in a package of 3 for $2.96. Each mat measures 12x15 inches around 30x38 cm. It comes in light blue may come in other colors - not sure. Don't know what kind of plastic it is though.
tr67 Hieu7 years ago
Thanks for the tip. I found a flexible cutting mat in my kitchen and made a small lampshade very quickly from it.
Zak8 years ago
I used a rice bag (the same as I used in my lamp project which is PE starnds laminated with clear plastic. My pieces are 18 cm (largest size) and while the lamp stays together I must find out if it can be suspended. The decor on the bag makes the design look very busy: