Using common materials like straws and plastic lids I've developed a modular system for lamps in any range of size and shape. The basis of the lamp is a simple cut plastic lid with straw supports. A column is built to house christmas lights and from there the design is up to the builder. I've supplied the measurements for the lamp photographed however other than the column the system is the designers to do what they please with. Enjoy!
Plastic Cup Lids
Hot Glue Gun
Step 1: Lid Prep
The core of the lamp is the plastic lids so preparation must be consistent and well executed. Begin by cutting the edges so as to form a square, its helpful to leave some of the up turned edges on the corner for the straws to grab onto. Next cut slits perpendicular to the edges and in the middle of each side about 1 cm in length.
For efficiency with a sharp X-ACTO blade 3-4 lids can be cut at once when stacked.
Step 2: Straw Prep
The purpose of the straws is to provide further rigidity to the structure, the intended use is any lid should have a straw connecting it corner to corner with any other lids touching. To cut these straws simply use the X-ACTO to divide into sections around 3 1/2 cm in length each. The standard should be 3 1/2 cm however it is good to vary it to a degree because you will encounter areas needing more or less straw.
Step 3: Intro to Building
Once straws and lids are prepped you are ready to move on to the building process. To connect two lids slide them together using the slots so that one is vertical and the other horizontal. Next connect using hot glue (best to use low temp glue) and a straw segment from corner to corner. Refer to image.
Step 4: Beginning the Column
So as to leave room for the lights later in the project a column must be formed, specific dimensions of this column can be seen in picture number 2. In the next picture you will see a diagonal straw and 4 encroaching lids, this is for when the lights are placed inside they have something to grab onto and don't fall to the bottom. There are two arrangements for the layers in terms of which are horizontal and vertical meaning these diagonal segments only apply to every other layer of the column.
Step 5: Placing Lights
Once the column has been built to to what ever length you want the lights must then be woven through the structure. Begin with pulling the male end of the lights all the way through the structure to whichever side is the end. Leaving this in place weave the female end through the column and diagonal straws from top to bottom followed by reverse and so on until all the lights are securely with in the column. At this point you may deviate from the column structure building up the sides and the top in whatever way you would like.
The next slide contains the dimensions for my example, if you would like to repeat my personal design feel free
Step 6: Dimensions of Example
Total height is 16 layers
Follows standard column structure up 10 layers
Layers 11-13 expand by 1 lid on each side in width
Layers 14-15 expand one more
Layer 16 expands one more