Spray Can Lamp

Introduction: Spray Can Lamp

I have always been a fan of graffiti art and spray cans being recycled into artwork. For my first Instructable I decided to share my process for creating a Spray Can Lamp, a project that is simple enough for almost anyone to create. This lamp can be personalised to suit the individuals style, as street or sophisticated as you want to make it, but never without character.

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Step 1: Gather the Materials

Being a tight-wad, most of my materials are gathered for free, or recycled from cheap and easy to source parts.

1. The can - I was able to get a few empty cans from a local graffiti artist who was happy to give some away.
2. Lamp insert - these can be bought cheaply from a local hardware store.
3. Power cable - I was able to get a few free computer power cables from a local computer repair shop, they usually have some on hand to give away.
4. Lamp shade - these can be many and varied. I was able to get a second hand one from a broken lamp someone had discarded.
5. Plaster - This is one of the things that usually sits around after you have made a project with it, someone you know usually has some sitting around you can use. IF not the local hardware or craft stores will most likely stock this.
6. Epoxy - one of the greatest and most useful additions to your creation arsenal. If you do not have some already then you should be able to pick up cheaply from a craft or hardware store.
7. Rubber cable grommet - Can be picked up cheaply from a hardware store.

Step 2: Prepare the Can

Cans can have a lot of character with the drops of paint and scratches on them from use, however some cans can have limited edition patterns of special designs. I like to make sure that these are taped in painters tape to preserve this design.
Start off by emptying the can of paint and all pressure, then use a drill to puncture the can. I like to do this by drilling out the top of the can, as this will be drilled out later anyway.
The top of this, and most spray paint cans are about an inch diameter. Drill out the top of the can, this can be done easier using a drill press. Clean up any edges using a round edged metal file.
Be sure not to grip the can too tightly in any vices. If you are using a vice it is reccomended to warp the can in some material or rag to add grip and prevent it from being scratched or dented.
Next choose a spot near the base of the can on the least interesting side of the can, and drill a small hole. Slowly drill the hole larger and larger to increase the hole for the power cable and grommet. By drilling the hole larger one step at a time, the can will not be dented and scratched. Be sure to test the dimension of the hole against the grommet and the power cable, as this can vary.

Step 3: Wiring Up

Cut the computer power cable and strip the end about an inch, baring just the ends of the wire.
Be sure to insert the cable through the grommet, through the lower hole of the can, the top hole of the can, the base of the lamp holder and then screw the wires into the main part of the lamp holder. Be sure to push the grommet into the base of the can to hold the cable tightly in place. It is usually a good idea to insert the grommet into the hole in the can, then thread the cable through this, and slowly twist as you push the cable through the grommet, to stop the grommet from being pushed into the can.
Once the wires have been screwed into the lamp holder, it is a good idea to epoxy the configuration together, so the cables cannot come loose and spark on the metal can.
Mix up some plaster and pour into the can. Fill the can about half way with the plaster keeping some of the power cable exposed. A clothes peg can be used to hold the lamp and cable out of the plaster mix. The plaster is used to give weight to the lamp and stop it from falling over.
When the plaster is set use the epoxy to glue the lamp insert into the top of the can. You may need to file the lamp insert to make it fit.

Step 4: Finishing Up

The lamp shade can be styled any way you would like to. The way I used, is to use another spray can to add spots and sprays of colour. If I were more artistic this could even have a full graffiti design painted on to make it look better, and the lamp could project this design onto the walls.
Your lamp is now ready for use and display. There are many designs of cans and lampshades which can be used, and your options are limitless.

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