Coconut Tiki Lamp




When I was little, my favorite thing to do in the world was play on my PlayStation 2. Of all my collection, the game that got the most use was definitely Crash Bandicoot. In the game, Crash's protector, Aku Aku was a floating Tiki head. I was enthralled. I have had a love of tikis and their vibrant artwork ever since. Once I saw the Coconut Challenge, I knew that I had to incorporate this infatuation somehow, and what better way than to make a tiki head with glowing red eyes? And with that, lets start the instructable.


1 Large Coconut

Polymer Oven Bake Clay

String Light

Red LED Bulb

(Not Pictured)

Acrylic Paint

Brown Spray Paint

Super Glue

Hemp Twine

Duct Tape


Dremel with Sanding Bit



Hand Saw


Step 1: Preparing the Coconut

Firstly, you need to get the coconut ready for its new life as a lighting fixture. Taking the back of a a fork, poke a hole in one of the three soft holes on the top of the coconut and drain the juice. After it is drained, cut off the top using a hand saw. This will be the bottom of the lamp shade, so you want it big enough to be able to comfortably put a light bulb in. Now comes the tedious part of defleshing the coconut. (Hmmm... I wish I had a tool for this sort of thing, kind of like the one for the three winners of the coconut challenge) Pro Tip: For crafting, coconuts that are old and on their last leg are the easiest to deflesh and get cleaned. Fresh ones are a pain. Once cleaned out, soak the coconut in water for 30 seconds to soften the outer fibers.

Step 2: Sanding and Drilling

Now, using a rough grit sanding paper, sand down all the fibers on the outside down to the husk. Next, sketch out a rough draft of your tiki head so you know the placement of the eyes and head compared to the shell. Drill holes in eyes and the top of the head for the light fixture. Sand all holes down, including the bottom, until you see fit.

Step 3: Creating the Face

Before sculpting the tiki face, make sure that the shell is 100% dry. If not the coconut may crack during baking. Now comes the fun part. using the polymer clay,start filling out the face, staying in the outline that you drew. Make sure to feather out the edges. A good trick for making the polymer look more like the shell is taking a toothpick and lightly pulling vertical lines all over.

Step 4: Baking and Painting

Bake the clay on the coconut according to the instruction on the package. Keep a careful eye on the coconut and make sure it doesn't start to crack. Mine was fine, and I checked on it every five minutes. Once it has finished baking, take it out and cool it down. Taking a brown spray paint, coat the entire coconut and let dry. Now you can color the tiki any way you like. Let your imagination run wild, and use vibrant colors. You can seal your coconut, but I didn't, and mine is fine.

Step 5: Attatchment and Finishing Touches

Finally, attach the coconut to your string light. Mine worked out fine, but if I were to do it again, I would buy a light much smaller than a shop light. I attached mine using duct tape and super glued twine around it to conceal it. Using this method, you can create all kinds of things. I have been thinking of making another instructable that shows how to create a cup and maraca. If you would like to see that, let me know! If you enjoyed this instructable, please be sure to vote for me in the coconut challenge. Happy crafting!

Coconut Challenge

Runner Up in the
Coconut Challenge



    • Growing Beyond Earth Maker Contest

      Growing Beyond Earth Maker Contest
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      Beauty Tips Contest
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      1 Hour Challenge

    6 Discussions


    2 years ago

    The top one with the fork sticking in his mouth really made me laugh! This is so clever and fun. I like the hint about waiting until the coconut meat is desiccated. I would have been hesitant to try cleaning the meat out of a fresh coconut. I might go for a bright LED lamp too - much small and easier after I see what you had to go through. Hmmm . . when is my next tiki themed party? I reallly like this and you got my vote!

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    Thank you for your kind word and vote! I definitely will be doing this project again with a smaller lamp.


    2 years ago

    If you are having trouble getting a fork to poke through the coconut to drain the milk, I found that a corkscrew will poke a nice clean hole through the coconut "eyes"

    1 reply

    2 years ago

    Very cool! This turned out looking great. Did you have any trouble with the clay popping off (or not sticking well to) the coconut?

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    The clay stuck well for the most part. I did have to take off and glue down the triangle pieces on the cheeks but I think it was because those sections were much thicker than the others.