Introduction: Plastic Bag Lamp

About: I love creating. I love ART in all its forms. I am a daughter of the 50s, born in 1992. I had the pleasure to be a Featured Author on this fabulous site, and you can read my interview here: https://www.instr…

Some of you may remember the plastic bag lampshade I made last year.
This new lamp is very similar to that lampshade, and it's mostly an experiment I did to try a different structure that came up to my mind. I didn't like the paper mache structure I made for the previous one and I believe that this new version is actually better and faster to make.

I would love to see a taller version of this lamp, I think the effect would be amazing. I can't do it at the moment, but if you do, please share a photo, I would love to see it! :)

I always looked at this lamp as an experiment so I didn't expect much from it, but I really hope that some of you can find it useful and it inspires you to create your own upcycled lamp :)

Materials & Tools:

  • Cardboard
  • plastic bags - I'd say at least 3 or 4 big ones
  • 12 wooden skewers
  • white glue
  • bulb holder and LED light bulb*
  • cutter
  • compass
  • long needle
  • ruler and pencil

*the LED light bulb is very important because it won't burn the cardboard.

Step 1: Make the Base

Draw a disc on a piece of cardboard with a diameter of about 18cm (7 inches).

Cut the disc (I did it by hand using a cutter) and divide it in 12 equal sections drawing lines with a pencil.

Measure 5mm (0.19 inches) from the border of the disc and make a sign on each line.
Make a hole where the signs are, using a long needle.

Draw the outline of your bulb holder in the middle of the disc and cut it out to obtain a hole.
You'll insert the bulb holder through that hole when the lamp will be done.

The base is done!

Step 2: Form the Structure

To make the structure you need 12 wooden skewers.

Measure 3cm (0.11 inches) from the flat side of a skewer and make a sign on it.
This will be the distance from the base to the table, as if they were feet. This distance is very important because it will contain the base of your bulb holder. For this reason, I recommend you to measure your bulb holder's base to make sure that 3cm are enough.

Do the same on all of your 12 skewers. Try to be very accurate when you measure this distance so that the lamp won't move because of different feet.

Apply some glue on that part of the skewers and insert them in the holes you made in the cardboard base.
As you insert them, look at the other side of the base (where the skewers come out from): stop passing them through it as soon as you see the signs you made coming out from the cardboard.
This way you'll have the 3cm feet coming out from the bottom, and the rest of the skewers will be used as structure.

Step 3: Prepare the Plastic Pieces

Cut many strips out of your plastic bags.
Their size is not really important, but make sure that all of them have the shortest side of the same size. I made it about 5cm long (1.96 inches).

Take one of the strips and fold it as if you were making a fan.
To do this you need to fold it up a little bit starting from of the short sides, then turn it and fold it again at the same distance. Turn it again and repeat until you reach the other end.

Open it up again and gently fold it about 4 or 5 times to obtain a shorter layered piece of plastic.

Do this with all of your strips.

Hint: I didn't know how many strips I needed when I started making them, so I simply made more as I put them on the structure.

Step 4: Compose the Lamp

Insert one of the longest sides of your first plastic piece in two skewers.
Insert the others this way all around the base.

After the first round, insert a plastic piece in other two skewers, right where the free spots of the previous round are.

When the second round is complete too, make another just like the first one.
Proceed this way until your reach the top of the skewers and your whole structure is full of plastic pieces.

Step 5: Make the Top of the Lamp

Cut a cardboard disc as big as the first one you made.
Divide it in 12 sections as well and make holes, just like what you did on the other disc.

Trace a smaller circle in it at about 2cm (0.78 inches) from the border of the disc, and cut it out.

What you have now is a cardboard ring.

Step 6: Cover the Ring

Cut more plastic strips. Their size is not important at all this time, you can even use scraps, like I did.

Spread some white glue on the cardboard ring and lay your plastic strip on it.
Wrap it around the ring and apply some more glue at the end when your strip has finished.
Keep doing this with other strips until you cover the whole ring.

Prick the plastic where the holes are with a needle, making sure NOT to pass through the other side of the ring. This way the holes will be on one side only.

Step 7: Add the Top

Put glue on the skewers' tips and insert them into the holes of the ring.

Press the ring down a little, but be careful not to make the skewers pass through the top. They must stay inside of the cardboard.

Let it dry completely and adjust the plastic pieces. You can even trim some if they don't look good.

Step 8: Done!

The lamp is done!

Insert the bulb holder from the bottom, right through the hole you made in the base.
Add the LED light bulb and turn it on! :)

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