Zipper Lamp




Introduction: Zipper Lamp

About: My name is Randy and I am a Community Manager in these here parts. In a previous life I had founded and run the Instructables Design Studio (RIP) @ Autodesk's Pier 9 Technology Center. I'm also the author of …

The zipper lamp is ideal for setting just the right mood in a variety of settings. You always have just as much light as you need. One can assert that it is the only lamp you will ever need, but you would probably be wrong. You probably will need more than just this zipper lamp to light your domicile, but it would be fair to say the zipper lamp is a great start. The best apart is that it can be made in under an hour if you are proficient with a sewing machine. Make yours today!

Step 1: Go Get Stuff

You will need:

15' of "make your own zipper" material
An Ikea light socket
1' tall Ikea cylinder lamp shade (or similar)
12" x 12" sheet of white acrylic
An awesome Epilog Laser Cutter
(x4) nuts and bolts
(x4) bolt covers
5 minute Epoxy
Diagonal cutting pliers
A sewing machine
White thread
A sewing needle
1' metal armature

(Please note that some of the links on this page contain affiliate links. This does not change the cost of the item for you. I reinvest whatever proceeds I receive into making new projects.)

Step 2: Sew Spirally

Pin the zipper to for a circle with a diameter of roughly 5-1/2" to 6".

Machine sew in a spiral to form a tube.

As you get to the end of the spiral, you will probably need to move all of the zips out of the way before you can continue sewing.

Step 3: Strip the Lamp

Strip the cover off the lamp shade until you are left with the wire frame.

Step 4: Laser Cut

Laser cut a 5" base for the lamp to sit upon using the file attached below.

If you don't have a laser cutter, you could print out the file and use a saw and a drill.

Step 5: Assemble the Base

Pass the lamp cord through the hole in the center of the acrylic base piece.

Attach the lamp armature to the socket.

Insert bolts through all of the smaller bolt holes and fasten them on with a nut.

Slide a white thread cover over the end of each bolt.

Epoxy the socket to the center of the base and your are done.

Step 6: Armature

Using your steel wire, bend a spiral armature to create what looks like a giant split washer. This should fit snugly on the inside diameter of your zipper tube.

Hand sew this is place at one end of the tube, having the wire follow the seam between zippers.

Step 7: Putting It All Together

Cut the large ring off the end of the lamp bracket with your diagonal cutting pliers.

Slide each leg of the lamp frame between the zipper tube and armature frame.

If your lamp frame happens to have conveniently located notches upon which you can rest the zipper lamp shade, then rest it upon these notches and breathe a sigh of relief.

If not, somehow fasten your lamp shade to these bars. Perhaps try using small zip ties to hold it in place.

Trim the bars of the lamp frame so that they are not sticking out the top.

Step 8: Lighting!

Insert a light bulb.

Plug it in.

Turn it on.

Adjust it to your liking.

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    11 years ago on Introduction

    I got this 'ible just when I needed it! Re-doing my 1200 sq ft loft style fiber arts studio. It is the zipper part I'm going to use but it will be a hanging light at the entrance just inside the door. The light switch is at the other end of the room (2 entrances) and this can be converted so that there is a line switch like the '70s hanging lights and plugged into an outlet. Got an old lampshade frame that ought to work fine. Don't need any armature beyond that since it is hanging. Added bonus: no head injuries for my 6'4" grandson!

    Great idea!


    12 years ago on Introduction

    where did you by zipper rolls? i need a lot of zippers for a project!


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Two possibilities: Rowley Co. in Gastonia NC sells everything needed by the home dec folks. Then there is Atlanta Thread Co. In Atlanta who sells everything related to sewing. Haven't seen either catalog recently so don't yell if they've discontinued something. Usually any place that sells upholstery supplies will carry the zippers since every cushion is a different measurement from customer to customer.


    11 years ago on Step 2

    how will you sew those zippers? i mean when you sew them do all those zippers come together like those in picture?


    12 years ago on Step 8

    IDEA: Ok so what if you didnt have the frame and made a longer one couldnt you make it where you can make it bigger and smaller and you could like put LED's in it and them make it like bendable like a rainbow?
    Example below:Its a little messed up but you get the point.If you want to make this could you please make an instructable anf give me partial credit?


    12 years ago on Step 2

    Is there a part skipped about the zipper pulls? Like is there a certain way to put them on, do you have to buy the separately?


    Reply 12 years ago on Step 2

    They came on the 15' roll of zipper that I bought, one next to each other, like you see. I basically unraveled the roll of zipper and sewed it in a spiral.


    12 years ago on Introduction

    I made a similar lamp out of a long strip of 35mm movie film, and another one out of some discarded watercolors that I cut up into strips.


    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    Cool. The film strip lamp is a great idea. You should post it as a slideshow even if you don't have construction photos.


    Ingenious :0) I wonder if a lamp without the shade, and just the wire guts of the lamp shade would work?


    12 years ago on Introduction

    Dang. I would use black zippers so less light escapes when it is closed. I also would add a top.