Introduction: $1 TRASH LAMP
This lamp was made entirely from materials either found in the trash, or donated for free.
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Step 1: TRASH COLLECTION
For this lamp, the following materials are needed:
• a white styrofoam box (this can be found in various types of packaging - the box should ideally be narrow)
• planks of pallet wood (4 planks were used for this lamp, but this may vary depending on the width of the styrofoam box)
• a branch (the cross sectional diameter of the branch used for this lamp is 1 inch)
• a bulb, along with a wire and socket (for best results, use an LED bulb with a brightness of 800 lumens)
• thin brown food-grade paper
• 22 gauge galvanized steel wire
These tools are also needed for the lamp's assembly:
• a hot glue gun
• wood glue + clamps
• clear glue
• clear tape
• masking tape
• a scissors
• a 1-point screwdriver
• a hammer
• a japanese hand saw
• a coping saw
• an x-acto knife
• a ban saw
• a belt sander
Step 2: REMOVING PALLET WOOD PLANKS
Discarded wooden pallets are easy to find, especially in a city. To remove the wooden planks from their frame, prop up the pallet and hammer out the planks from the back. This technique works for planks that are attached to their frame with nails, however many modern pallets now use wood staples in conjunction with nails.
Use a hand saw to cut off any planks that can't be hammered out. Once all the planks have been cut, use a belt sander to gently sand the edges of each piece.
Step 3: MEASURING & PREPARING
Place planks over styrofoam box and decide on how many are needed to perfectly cover the top of the box, as well as the bottom. Since this particular box is long and narrow, 4 planks are needed in total - 2 for the top and 2 for the bottom. Mark out the length and width of the styrofoam box onto the wooden planks in order to cut them to fit. If the wooden planks are shorter than the box, mark out the ends of the planks on the box.
Once measured, prepare the wooden planks for cutting by ensuring that there is no metal in any of the pieces. If there are any staples in the planks, use a 1-point screwdriver and a pair of pliers to pry them out. Use a hammer to remove any nails in the plywood. This step allows the pieces to be cut with a ban saw - if the ban saw makes contact with any metal in the pieces, it can break the saw and possibly cause electrical sparking.
Step 4: CUTTING & SANDING
Cut redundant parts of the stryofoam box using a coping saw.
Cut wood planks using a ban saw.
Once both cut, sand the edges of both the styrofoam box and the wooden planks with sanding paper. Use 2 different grades of sanding paper, a rougher grade and a finer grade, to ensure a smooth finish.
Step 5: BRANCH PLACEMENT
Decide on how to place the branch in the styrofoam box - choose a position that ensures structural integrity and balance. Once a position has been chosen, mark the point of the branch that intersects with the top of the styrofoam box.
Step 6: WIRE & SOCKET ATTACHMENT
Glue the socket onto the branch using a hot glue gun.
Wrap the wire around the branch, treating any protruding stubs as hooks.
Then, wrap the socket with twine so as to cover any exposed hot glue.
Step 7: CUTTING OUT THE HOLE + DRAFT ASSEMBLY
Using a ban saw, cut out a hole in the top planks of the wood to allow the branch to go through. Ensure that the fit is snug and accounts for the wire going through.
Assemble all the parts together with tape to check if everything is sanded and cut correctly. If satisfied, move onto the next step (gluing parts together), if not, make the appropriate changes (whether this means sanding pieces that are too long, or adjusting the size of the hole for the branch etc.)
Step 8: MAKING THE WOODEN BASE
Join both of the base pallet wood planks together using wood glue. Clamp pieces together when gluing, leaving them to dry for approximately 1-2 hours.
Then, using a hot glue gun, glue the bottom of the styrofoam box to the wood base. Make sure to be very delicate during this process, as the styrofoam box can get damaged very easily.
Step 9: MAKING THE WOODEN TOP
Use a hot glue gun to glue the intersecting point of the branch to its corresponding hole in the wood plank. Join the two planks on top with wood glue - instead of using wood glue, tightly bind the pieces with tape.
Once dry, slowly lift up the wooden top (using the branch like a handle), apply hot glue to the top of the styrofoam box, and then shut the wooden top.
Step 10: MAKING THE LAMP SHADE
Lay out the sheet of brown paper, and tape down two pieces of wire parallel to each other, leaving a border of half an inch.
Using clear glue, fold over the borders over the wires, creating two ‘hems’ at the top and bottom.
Then, make tight folds, occasionally applying pressure so as to accentuate the creases. Use clear tape to fix any rips and tears in the paper.
Next, fold the sheet reinforced with wire into a rectangle. This rectangular lamp shade should be around 3/4 of the length of the styrofoam box.
Step 11: ATTACHING LAMP SHADE WITH WIRE FRAME
Wrap wire around the socket and branch, extruding it out to each corner of the rectangular lamp shade.
Put the paper lamp shade over the branch, and pinch the wire corners onto the corners of the lamp shade.
Step 12: MOLDED PULP BRANCH RING
Measure the ring around branch and wire, and mark this onto molded pulp card.
Once cut out, attach around the branch and draw a perfect circular shape around the ring and proceed to cut it out.
Attach the final piece around the branch with a hot glue gun.
Step 13: TURN IT ON
Enjoy your completed trash lamp!