Trash Bin to Designer Lamp




About: An artist by birth, a software architect by choice, a lamp maker by passion, a learner forever. Featured Author here:)

Hello Makers,

Those were the days when every little office wanted to go paperless, so a lot of wire mesh trash bins were removed to motivate people to use less and less paper for work. I grabbed one such bin from my office for home use. After that, well it was just dumped under super loads of things which are not in use but also can't be thrown outside (yup, same old story).

A few days back I had the need to buy a trash bin for my room because of the ever increasing waste from my craft projects and that's when it caught my eyes. Trust me when I say this, I found the wire mesh trash bin to be unique and beautiful (unlike past when my creative sense was dormant) and like always, the first idea is to create a lamp using it. Bingo!! what a great idea to reuse something totally waste that's used for collecting waste and now going to be an awesome designer lamp like you have never seen before.

I could have simply installed a light attachment and used the bin just like antique style or anthropologie style lamp. But, I wanted to make something different , something colorful.

So , in this instructable my friends, I will show you how you can transform an super cheap ($1 or $2) trash bin to an designer lamp, not to miss a colorful one too.

I hope you find this tutorial a source of inspiration to com up with your own unique designs.

Lets get started :).

Step 1: Stuff That You Need

You will need the following items to transform a trash bin to designer lamp:

  1. A wire mesh paper trash bin (not the fine mesh but like chicken wire). If you don't have one you get it from store like dollar store or Walmart for a dollar or two.
  2. Lots of cords like macramé or cheap parachute cords (not paracords) or jute if you like. Be creative, you can use paper twine etc. I used parachute macramé cords.
  3. A wire cutter
  4. A cigarette lighter.
  5. A pendant lighting arrangement.
  6. Sharp scissor.
  7. Some binder clips 15 mm, not in the picture.
  8. Lots of patience.

Its is actually very easy to make this lamp once you figure out what & how you are going to design it but even then it is no less tedious. This is where your patience will pay off. Be advised :).

Step 2: A Few Helpful Thoughts Before You Begin

It took me a while to figure out the design and I found out many interesting things about these bins which actually helped me a lot, I want you to know these things in advance :)

  1. A wire mesh paper trash bin lamp is like a wire mesh joined to form a cylindrical shape. (Think chicken wire)
  2. The mesh has thick wire border which helps to form the shape of bin.
  3. The mesh is expanded from top to make it look like basket, you will notice that mesh is narrow at the bottom and goes wider as you towards the neck of the bin.
  4. Not all wire mesh designs follows 1-3.
  5. You have to come up with your own calculations for weaving if you start or think of a new design.

My design is actually very simple because I have figured out all the calculations for you.

For the sake of understanding I will call the diamond shape structure of mesh ( as in playing cards) as section. This will help us in calculations.

The trash bin which I had has 55 section in both top(narrow) and bottom (wide). Count yours before you start weaving. Notice the red line in the picture above.

NOTE: I will call design of the bottom of the lamp (top of bin) as chevrons and top of the lamp as simple weave for the sake of explanation

Step 3: Begining to Weave the Chevrons

See images above and follow:

There are 55 sections which means I can create a design by weaving a pattern using 11 sections. In this case, I will cover 11 sections vertically to form a chevron.

  1. Pick a long and I mean really long cord of color of your choice, mine is orange.
  2. Double the length of he cord.
  3. From the neck of bin, Insert the cord in one of the section , pull it all the way through the section, insert the cord one section higher and adjacent to the first section. Secure the end of the cord to mesh using a binder clip.
  4. Repeat #3 6 times increasing the height of the weave each time and then weave decreasing the height to form a chevron or triangle shape.
  5. Continue doing #3 & #4 till you cover the entire neck of the bin.
  6. Once both the ends meet, then cut the cord from inside the bin and singe it neatly to the mesh wiring using cigarette lighter.

Step 4: Beginning the Simple Weave

Simple weave is actually simple but tedious because of the long cords that you have to pass through the sections. So keep calm, grab a cup of your favorite tea or latte and start.

Just like bottom, we will separate each weave with 7 sections, covering roughly close to 55 sections, one of the weave will be slightly smaller than the rest.

In order to fill the sections, you have to use triple cord of long length. I did around 6 rounds of weave to form a wide band of orange on top.

When you pass the cords through sections just make sure all three cords pass parallel to each other and don't overlap.

See images above and follow:

  1. Grab your triple cord.
  2. From inside of the bin, insert the cords and pull all of it leaving only enough so that we can singe it to mesh, leave 6 sections and insert the cord back inside, then pull it out again from the next section. See first 4 images for this process.
  3. Singe the cords to mesh from inside to secure it .
  4. Repeat # 2 to complete one wrap, and when the ends meet, start weaving bellow the first band.
  5. Repeat #2 and #4 for next six wraps.

NOTE: AS you keep weaving you will begin to notice that a patterned vertical line of mesh is getting formed adding to the aesthetics of design.

  1. Cut and singe the cord inside the mesh to secure it.
  2. Grab another triple cord , I chose blue and repeat #2 - #6.
  3. Grab another triple cord , I chose white and repeat #2 - #6.

NOTE: Honestly it is not as easy as it looks from the steps , you will experience a couple of frustrating moments when the cords get entangled or when you identity an overlapping cord after a full wrap or when you burned the cords too much. But the end result is worth it. I would suggest you take it slow, one wrap at a time and take breaks after each band.

I congratulate you at this moment completing the design of the lamp. And tell me if all the effort you put in was totally worth it. :)

Lets light up this beauty

Step 5: Adding the Lighting Arrangement

In order to fix a pendant lighting attachment , see images above and follow:

  1. You may have to open up the socket end to reveal wire and to remove the cap of the bulb holder.
  2. Turn the bin upside down, locate the center of the base mesh.
  3. Using wire cutter, cut mesh wire to form a wide gap, try to cut one single section. See image notes to identify the section to cut
  4. Try to insert the bulb holder from inside the bin such that it passes through the cut section.
  5. Secure the holder using its cap.

The lighting arrangement is done

Step 6: Light Up

Light it up and I'm sure you will think that all the patience and tedious work was totally worth it. Adore your creation, show off, tell your friends and I bet they will be awestruck :).

Thank you for your time to read this ible. I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I did while making it. Please do share your thoughts, feedback and suggestions in the comments below.
If you choose to make any of these, please use the "I made it" button to post a picture.

Hope you will like it and Vote it.

You are awesome.

Stay Tuned.

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    34 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Hey Tarun, I am not very active now adays, still I pop in once a way to admire your awesome work.

    1 reply

    4 years ago

    Yes, there are a lot of people not here or not posting. They are missed. I guess you would say it is an outdoor solar light. I really have plans to make more but right now I need to get to feeling better. Anyway it was great fun.I will try and upload 2. I did post an ible on it. My kids live in the boon docks and it is difficult to see there turn off so I made this for them. Haven't sent it yet though got sick. but I hope to do it before roger's b-day in a couple of weeks. thanks for your kind words.

    solar address numbers 009.JPGsolar lights outside may 2015.jpgsolar house number lantern 026.JPG
    1 reply

    4 years ago on Introduction

    Hey Tarun,

    Great to see you back in the swing of things. Missed seeing you around although I have been a little under the weather these days so I haven't been very active either. As always you make it look so simple to make. One day I will try and make another lamp type project. I know where to find you if I get stumped hehe~ Hope your day shines.


    By the way a few months ago I finally made somewhat of a lamp. Outdoor anyway. As always it is fun to create.

    3 replies
    Tarun Upadhyayasunshiine

    Reply 4 years ago

    A day before I had a thought that a lot of old time fellas are not being very active these days and your name came first to my mind. And here you are :)

    Thank you so much for your kind words, you know it means a lot to me. And I am very sure you will try and make many lamps because, yes they are fun.

    Care to share a photo of that outdoor lamp? Excited to see it.

    sunshiineTarun Upadhyaya

    Reply 4 years ago

    Doesn't look like it worked.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Wow, Its so nice. How ll u get these ideas? Really amazed :) U got my vote for both contest.. All the best Tarun :)

    1 reply
    Tarun UpadhyayaBhawya

    Reply 4 years ago

    Thank you so much Bhawya, Thank you for your support. :)

    girly girls

    4 years ago

    This is so amazing. I'm definitely going to vote for you.

    1 reply

    4 years ago on Introduction

    Brilliant idea, cleverly executed, awesome result. I think I'm gonna have to vote for you again my friend... ;)

    1 reply