Introduction: PET Bottle Tiffany Lamp

PET is one of the most widely spread material now a days. No matter where on planet Earth you are, chances are there is a PET bottle lying just around the corner.
But even in that plastic, soulless ugliness, beauty can lie.
So I have a project: to transform PET in other things. It goes from ultramodern cyberpunk bags to tiffany lamps.

This instructable is about how to make a totally fake tiffany lamp out of 2 PET bottles, epoxy putty and lamp spare parts.

Step 1: You Will Need:


   * 2 PET bottles, one 10 litres, one small with an interesting stylized shape.
   * 2 plastic soda bottle caps (only one shown in the image)
   * 1 lamp kit. If you can't find a lamp kit, like me, you'll need
          * a lamp socket
          * about 30 cm (about 12 inches) of long threaded pipe
          * 2 hex nuts
          * about 1.5m (about 5 ft) of lamp cord
          * a plug
          * a harp (I didn't get one)
   * Epoxy putty (about 250g or 1/2 pound)
   * A piece of thin MDF, about 10cm x 15cm (4in x 6in)
   * metallic gold spray paint
   * transparent spray paint
   * black and silver acrylic craft paint
   * patina or dark metallic paint or alcohol based wood inks or brown liquid shoe polish
   * glossy acrylic transparent varnish
   * black or gray colored liquid lead
   * cheap ballpoint pens in various colors. I used blue, light blue, green and purple.
   * permanent marker (like Sharpie).
   * lampshade design (mine is a dragonfly)
   * a light bulb (less than 60W) or a compact fluorescent lamp (energy-saving light)

   * pliers
   * utility knife
   * scissors
   * cotton swabs
   * screwdriver
   * hot glue
   * hot glue gun
   * a little water
   * a container for mixing the ink
   * a ruler
   * measuring tape
   * optional: a cutting board

Step 2: Choosing Your Lampshade Design

When you make a lampshade with real stained glass you begin with a design that will be constructed on a three-dimensional base. In this case we'll work the other way around. We will start with a three dimensional shape (PET bottle) to which the design sill be adapted.
You can use a whole lamp shade design to adapt to your PET bottle or you can use just the interesting bits of the design and hand-draw the rest, that's what I did.
Here's the URL of the dragonfly design I used, but there are a lot more designs to choose from in other websites with free stained glass designs.

WARNING: This lamp uses electricity and there is a risk of electric shock. If you have never worked with electricity before, do not attempt to make the lamp by yourself. But you still can make the lamp shade.

Step 3: The Lamp Shade

Measure the big PET bottle around. Write it down.

Draw a line a little bit above the middle of the bottle so you have so you have a cutting guide.

Cut the bottle in half with the utility knife. Warning: PET is really easy to cut with an utility knife, so if you have never cut a PET bottle before, then you should know that making a straight line is almost impossible. So make a little cut with the utility knife and finish cutting with scissors.

Now, measure the neck of the bottle. If your bottle has one of those plastic handles to lift it, just cut it out with the utility knife.

Divide the length of the bottle neck between the number of panels that your lamp shade design has.
Then, divide the length of the bottle (the one you wrote down before) between the same number of parts.

With the permanent marker, mark the neck bottle as needed, using the number obtained before; but make sure the first mark is drawn over the PET bottle's union line (the line that runs from top to bottom of the bottle dividing it in 2). You will use this line as a reference and as your first vertical line.

If you are having trouble getting your neck bottle's measures OK, specially placing the division marks, place a piece of masking tape all around the neck bottle right in the place where the neck bottle starts to get wider. Cut the tape and remove it from the bottle. Then stick it in the cutting board, measure it, mark it and then cut it by the markings to get little pieces. Stick the little pieces back into the bottle and then make the marks.

Mark the wider part of the PET bottle starting at the union line.

Stick a length of masking tape from a mark in the neck to it's corresponding mark in the wider section of the bottle. Use it as a guide to draw a straight line. Repeat this with all your markings.

My lamp shade has 6 panels (see the last photo).

Step 4: Tracing the Design

Print your design in a sheet of paper.

Put the design inside the cut PET bottle and tape it so it doesn't move.

With your permanent marker, trace the design onto the PET bottle. If, like me, you are using only part of the design, draw the rest free hand style.

Some PET bottles have 'engravings' or grooves that you can include in your design if you want.

Spray the bottle with the transparent spray paint. This will serve as a primer for the liquid lead.

Step 5: Painting the Lamp Shade I: Apply Liquid Lead

Apply the liquid lead following the traced lines of your design.

If your lamp shade design doesn't end in a straight edge, then let the liquid lead dry in the rest of the design, and cut the shape of the edge of the lamp shade following the figures in the edge. Then apply the liquid lead to the edge.

Please take note that, apart from high-tech adhesives for PET, nothing sticks to it. So we are creating a shell on top of the PET. If after the liquid lead is dry, apply some more on the back side of the edge.

Step 6: Painting the Lamp Shade II: Patina Optional Treatment

Real tiffany lamp shade's lead is actually quite silvery. They used a special patina to make it look black even though you can still see the metallic sheen. I wanted my lamp shade to look a little bit like that. I you don't care for that kind of details, go to the next step.

Paint the dry liquid lead with the silver acrylic craft paint. Let it dry.

With a cotton swab, apply a coat of watered down black acrylic craft paint.

With another cotton swab, clean the black acrylic paint stains from the "glass" surface.

That's it!

Step 7: Painting the Lamp Shade III: Coloring the 'glass'

You can use regular faux stained glass painting for your lamp shade, but it's smelly and turns to crack easily. So you can make your own blown glass looking paints using the acrylic varnish and the ball pen ink.

Use a tablespoon to measure the acrylic varnish. One tablespoon will be enough.

Take apart the ball pen. Take the tip off the ink tube with the pliers.

Blow really slowly on the back of the ink tube to get the ink out. Put 1ink drop in the acrylic varnish and mix it well. If you want a darker shade of color, add another ink drop, mix well, and then another, mix well, etc. until you get the shade you want.

Cut the tip off a cotton swab obliquely, so you can use it as a quill to paint the glass.

Immerse the quill tip into the paint you just made and apply the paint to one of the glass sections of your lamp shade, filling it . If the paint is too runny, let it dry a little before applying it.

You can make and use as much colors as you have different pens. Some colors may require two layers or more. If this is the case, apply the first layer, let it dry, and then apply the second layer.

If you don't want your paint to run and drip all over your lamp shade, work a little section of the design at a time.

Please notice that when the paint dries the color turns darker (see photographs). With some inks, the color turns more transparent.

Step 8: Finishing of the Lampshade.

When the paint has dry cut the upper part of the bottle, this part is a little tricky.
You'll need a Styrofoam cutter or a saw.
Cut at the base of the neck with the Styrofoam cuter, let the hot wire go through the PET slowly, then stop heating and take out the wire.  Repeat all around the neck of the bottle. Not an easy task. It will take time and some ability.
If you prefer a saw then be very careful not to damage all your hard work.

When you finally cut the neck out,  make a hole in each panel. You can use the tip of the utility knife. Not a very large one. This holes will provide a place for attaching the lamp tip.

Step 9: The Tip of the Lamp Shade.

Mix some epoxy putty and make a ball. Save some putty for later.
Flatten the ball and give it the shape you like for your lamp tip. I decided to make it very simple with a tip in the shape of a dragonfly tale. Or so I said. The good news is that this part can be as simple a a flattened ball wit a toothpick protruding from it's centre and it'll still look nice. If you get a harp then you don´t need to make a tip, simply buy one that you like.

Put it on the top of the lamp shade and make sure that the putty covers the holes. Then use the rest of the putty to make a rivet. Nothing sticks to PET, so making rivets is a way to attach things to PET.

If like me, you didn't get a harp, then you will have to make a lamp holder. Use some wire to make two circles and twist the edges together, see the photo. Is not beautiful but works nicely.
Then using some more epoxy putty, attach the lamp shade holder to the lamp shade, let it hardened and paint golden. You can use the golden spay paint to do this, be careful not to stain the lamp shade.

Step 10: The Body of the Lamp.

Make some holes to the base of the PET bottle for the body of the lamp. One on the centre and four or five at the sides. The one on the centre must be big enough to put through the threaded pipe. Make  holes the same size on the centre of the two soda bottle caps.

Measure your bottle, use the measures for calculating the base size. I chose to make it the double of both measures.

Draw guide lines in the MDF using the measures.
With the help of a round thingy draw an ellipse. Cut the base with an utility knife and make a hole in the Centre. This should be large enough so that the
threaded tube can fit in it.

Step 11: The Base

With hot glue, glue one soda bottle cap to the bottom of the bottle. Nothing sticks to PET, so you have to put hot glue "rivets",  just let the hot glue go through the holes and then glue the soda bottle cap.

Put the threaded tube into the bottle through the bottom hole. Place the second soda bottle cap at the other end and screw it to the bottle neck.

Pass through the hole of the elliptical base the threaded tube and screw the hex nut to the threaded tube.

Step 12: Finishing the Base.

Use epoxy putty to form a base around the soda bottle cap, let some of the epoxy putty go through the holes for the riveting.   With more epoxy putty give shape to the base of the lamp.

Originally I glue four soda caps to the bottom of the base but I didn’t got the aesthetic result I wanted so I added epoxy putty legs afterwards but they are not mandatory.

Once the base hardens, paint it with Golden spray paint. If you want to give it patina, with patina or alcohol based wood inks or brown liquid shoe polish, apply a thin layer with a cotton ball. Finally  transparent spray paint it.

Cut the threaded tube at a height suitable to your base lamp. Screw the lamp socket to the top of the threaded tube. Connect according to the instructions in the socket the cables and the plug. Or in your lamp kit.(I'm not putting instructions in here for the electric wire install, because in my country  we don't have color cables or anything like that. I don't want to cause horrible accidents in other countries.)

Put the lamp shade holder on the light bulb and your fake Tiffany lamp is finished.