Introduction: 3D Printed Kitsch Parrot Lamp

I have this little 'me corner' in the house where I keep the most ridiculous, kitsch things. They are god awful for anyone with a bit of taste and common sense, but they make me happy when I'm grumpy. I saw this lamp exhibition couple of months ago and they had the most amazing animal lamps, so I decided to make my own version. You will probably understand me as there is this bizarre thing that happens when you get your first 3D printer- you no longer want to buy things, you want to MAKE things yourself.

There are so many shapes and forms available online, but I saw this parrot and I couldn't say no. Goes without saying that you don't have to copy my ridiculous colour choices, but yellow is a happy colour and who doesn't need a little bit of sunshine now and again?

Original parrot:


- model filler like PLASTO or TAMIYA

- sanding paper, pliers, craft knife

- special epoxy coating suitable for 3D prints or regular, pouring epoxy with extended pot time

- yellow spray paint

- 50mm M10 threaded rod

- 20mm M10 threaded sleeve

- lamp holder with M10 threaded entry

- lamp cord wired with a switch and plug

- strong glue, disposable brush

- 30cm piece of wire

- drill

- plaster of paris, concrete or wall filler- anything you have at hand, as long as it can be piped and dries quickly. It will be used to weigh the base of the lamp down to keep it from falling over.

Step 1: 3D Printing

Start by 3D printing your parrot. It's rather large, so most printers won't be able to print it in one piece. Slice your model into two or three parts. Also, printing in PLA seems to make more sense as it's a quite large and time consuming object. Print it hollow, 1.2mm wall thickness, minimum 0.2mm layer, no supports.

Once printed you will have to drill holes in the middle to allow the cord to be threaded. I forgot to take a picture of that, but make sure those holes align. Drill or cut out a hole at the base (approximately 10-15mm)

Step 2: Sanding, Trimming, Filler

Glue your parrot pieces and allow the glue to set before you trim any overhangs (there won't be much, just a few spots here and there). Use filler putty to cover the joining line, fill any gaps and holes and let it dry. Sand lightly. There is no need to sand as much as you'd normally do with a 3D printed object. Next is epoxy coat application and it will get rid of any printing lines and imperfections.

Step 3: Epoxy Coating

Epoxy coating is amazing at smoothing the print, but it might blur the details, and so should be applied with care and in a thin layer. You can always add more. Mix a batch of epoxy coating and apply it with a medium brush until the whole parrot is covered. Use the hole in the head to keep the parrot steady as you print, just put your finger in the hole and continue applying the coating. Let it dry.

You can sand it when it's dry, but you probably won't be able to see any imperfections. For that reason I spray painted the whole parrot to smooth it even further and allow the mistakes to come to light. If there are any mistakes, air bubbles, imperfections, visible brush strokes...sand it down with fine sand paper.

Drill through the top and bottom hole to allow the cord to go through.

*I painted it blue because I was running out of yellow and wanted to save it for the final painting. In retrospective- should have spray painted it yellow straight away as covering the blue took a very long time.

Step 4: Final Spray Painting

Spray paint the whole parrot. Apply two coats of paint and make sure to spray it from the bottom to get all the nooks and crannies. Let it dry.

Step 5: Threading the Cord

Here comes the most annoying part of the project- threading the metal wire though the body of the parrot. Take your time and be patient. It will work, just don't scratch the paint.

Once the wire is in, time to thread the cord. I pulled 5cm of the braid off the cord, trimmed the cord and was left with leftover braid. I tied that to the metal wire and pulled the cord through the body.

Step 6: Wiring

I trimmed the braid at the top and secured loose threads with electrical tape.

I screwed M10 rod to M10 sleeve and threaded that through the cord. I used glue to keep it in place.

I didn't want the rod to be so visible, so I printed a simple tube to act as a sleeve, I painted it yellow and used it to cover up the rod.

My lamp holder came in three parts. I screwed the bottom part of it to the rod and wired the middle part. Last part was attaching the top part of the lamp holder to the middle part (be careful, in most cases you won't be able to undo this step as lamp holders don't unscrew easily). Wiring done.

*Once I added the lampshade I realised it was too high and half of the lamp holder was showing. I spray painted it in the end to keep everything uniform in colour.

Step 7: Weighing the Lamp

The last step is important to keep the lamp steady and secure. Plastic is very light and there is a considerable amount of weight coming from the top, so you need to balance that with some weight. My usual MO is to use wall filler. It's cheap, I always have it in the house, it's easy to mix and dries fast. I mixed a batch, approximately 3/4 cup of filler, and used a disposable bag to pipe it through the hole at the base (I mentioned earlier to cut or drill 10-15mm hole). I covered the hole with a piece of duck tape and placed the parrot upwards to distribute the filler evenly at the base.

Step 8: Finished

Colors of the Rainbow Contest

Participated in the
Colors of the Rainbow Contest