Introduction: Beautiful Lamp Made From Trash -- LITERALLY!

About: I am a senior this year at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA. I expect to graduate with a degree in Mechanical Engineering in 2013. I've always loved science, but i find i stretch myself t…
This instructable was another one completely inspired by trash. My physics teacher had been talking about "reusing things before you recycle to conserve energy...", so i did just that. As the title indicates, this lampshade is made entirely from trash but looks very nice.


PAPER (old typed on computer paper)
LAMP (socket and wire...the hanging type)
MICROWAVE (!?!'ll see later)

Step 1: Gather Materials

For the paper, well, look around you. Where there's a printer, there's old paper, so just look for the things you area about to recycle (you were about to recycle them right??) Four sheets are required per lamp shade. For clarity, the paper is normal 8.5 x 11 printer paper, nothing special. I used my old Calculus AP review sheets.haha.

For the coffee grounds, i came across a great technique for getting lots, and i mean LOTS of grounds. They need to be used to give the proper color, so rather than making five gallons of coffee at my house, i called up my local Starbucks and asked them to please hold their used coffee grounds. Surprisingly, they did and gave them to me for free. I got about five pounds (later i learned that i only needed about two handfulls for the entire lamp shade, so maybe five pounds was a little extravagant)

Step 2: Glue the Paper...and Dry Like SUPERGLUE!

Take two of your pages and swirl glue liberally on one of them (make sure the writing is facing the inside. IMPORTANT: the paper can only be printed on one side...otherwise the lamp will not look good. The glue, when dry, will add a cool appearance to the finished be random when applying it.

Once the pages are glued together, there is no need to wait the recommended 1-2 hours for dry/cure time. Pop open the microwave and lay the sheets (now glued) onto a paper towel (used to absorb excess water). Set the timer for anywhere from 15 to 30 seconds depending on how much glue used. By the time the microwave is done, the glue will be completely dry and will have all of its strength.

Step 3: Dyeing the Paper

Now that you have finished glueing both pairs of paper together, it is time to dye them brown. Put on a latex glove (not necessarily important; however, you dont want your hand to smell like coffee for the next three days i wouldnt think). Remove a handful of coffee grounds from your bag and drop on center of sheet. Working in small circles, from the center outward, LIGHTLY rub the coffee dye into the paper. This may take a few minutes to be patient. Be careful around the edges and corners as to not seperate the sheets. Once one side is done, flip and repeat. Let sit for five minutes to allow the dye to fully soak in.

After both sides have been dyed, repeat the accelerated microwave process using multiple paper towels underneath to retain excess water. Set the timer on the microwave for 1:30 seconds, paying close attention that it doesnt overheat (very little chance of this; however, im just trying to let you all be as safe as possible). Once the paper mostly dry, brush off most of the coffee grounds. Set both papers on a cooling rack (i used my stove top) overnight to fully dry.

Step 4: Finish Your Lamp

I have already made a few test lamp shades trying to get the right angles and all, so the first picture is one of the dimentions for the holes. You should pick and designate an "outside" sheet and an "inside" sheet. I used a metal skewer to poke the holes as it is the same diameter as the bamboo skewers. Once the holes are poked, begin assembly of your shade. Use scissors to cut down the bamboo skewers to approximately 3 1/2 inches long. Make two of these.

When assembling the shade, put the outside on the outside, inside on the inside, and line up the holes so that the pages overlap. Remember this thing will be wrapped into a cone, so line up the holes accordingly. It is difficult to explain this process. Over lap the inside hole of the inside with the outside hole of the outisde. You know what....look at the pictures, it will make more sense.haha.
Then work logically wrapping the two together while skewering them together. Once its together, glue the edges down so they dont peel for about a minute to make it tacky, then repeat the microwave process.

Either use track-lights or hang a socket with a bulb in it -- i suggest compact fluorescent bulbs as they dont get as they use less electricity and last many years. Just remove one of the skewers, slight the socket+bulb+wire in, and replace the skewer.

Turn on the light and violia, you now have a very ellegant lamp shade. The only downside is that it doesnt work to well during the day time, so use after it gets dark. Any suggestions are welcome.