Intro: Vinyl Record Flower Bouquet Lamp
I made this lamp using old records and puck lamps that I got from The Home Depot. You can get colored record for about $5 on eBay, or you can find them in thrift shops/second hand and of course, record stores. You can find the puck lights at The Home Depot. You can also pick up the glue & gun, pipe, and cutting tool there. The tape can be purchased at dollar stores, but you can use a plastic table cutter or foam as well. The records are available pre-made on Etsy and on eBay if you'd like to save some time or can't get a heat gun.
Step 1: Gather Supplies
- Hobby/Utility Knife
- Glue gun
- Heat gun (dual temp is best)
- Puck light kit
- Glue Sticks (I used about 10)
- Vinyl records (black looks great if you can paint it afterward, I used 10)
- Plastic pipe (I used a series of tubes from an old laundry basket...or something...)
- Green tape (plastic is best but paper looks good too)
- Pencil (I used a mechanical one)
- Ruler (at least as long as the record)
- Glass cup or jar (no wider than the paper label on the record, at least 5" tall)
- Long zip ties (I used about 30 but I was very clumsy about it)
- Gloves - Plastic dipped gloves are perfect (try to avoid any cloth finish as the fibers will stick to the records)
- Small, flat tip pliers
- Butcher paper or paper lunch bag strips (run it through a paper shredder!)
- Precision blades
- Spray Paint
Step 2: Forming the Flower
There are probably several ways to heat the vinyl, but I can only think of either a heat gun or an oven. I chose to use a dual temperature heat gun to have better control over the progress of the cutting. The vinyl will melt at different speeds depending on the thickness and color of the record, and the dual temp will allow you to mold at any pace. You can use a single setting gun and still get the same effect, but there will probably be more warping or bubbling and you will have to work faster to get the pedals to fall correctly. NOTE: Try to space your petals as accurately as possible for the best look.
- Remove the bezel from the light puck, or place the puck upside down on the middle of the record and trace a line around it.
- Cut a rectangle wide enough to be able to feed the clip of the puck light through. This area is the thickest and will need to be heated for a longer time than the rest of the record. OPTIONAL: If you use extensions, you can run them along the inside and either make your clip exit near the bottom or run it the entire length and pull it out through the bottom.
- Draw lines from top to bottom of the record in accordance with desired amount of petals (2 for 4 petals, 4 for 8 petals).
- Use the heat gun to melt the vinyl from the label to the edge of the record and use the cutter to cut through the lines. Make sure your knife goes all the way through end to end or the base will be lopsided. The vinyl will begin to warp as it heats, and it is ready to cut when it is flat against the surface of your station. If you heat the vinyl for too long, the blade will drag the vinyl instead of cut though it, and it will shrink the edges and begin to bubble. No bueno.
- Flip the record upside down on top of your cup or jar. NOTE: Some of the petals may start to droop immediately if they are still hot from being cut. Start to overlap them.
- Heat the area immediately below the label where the cuts start one petal at a time. Make sure they are all facing the same way. OPTIONAL: If you would like your flowers to have a more closed, rounded finish, you can place the record into a bowl after it has cooled down.Heat and then press the edges onto the bowl. It is best to use a bowl with a wider brim than base.
- Allow the record to cool down before removing it from the cup. You can begin to form a new flower and the first will be cool enough by the time you are done. NOTE: If you don't like the final product, you can aim the gun at the center of the flower and it will fall back to its original shape (ish). If you do this too many times, however, the vinyl will become more rigid and will break very easily.
- Paint the flower if desired. Don't use the heat gun on the flower after you paint it or the paint will begin to run.
- Use the glue gun to glue the puck light to the center of the the inside of the flower. Feed the clip though the rectangle from earlier. OPTIONAL: Glue the wire onto the empty space on the vinyl to get it closer to the center of the record.
Step 3: Adding the Tubing
I tried to arrange the wires to be as inconspicuous as possible, so I added extensions to 3 of the puck lights and covered them in tape so the transformers would be closer to the bottom. I had originally planned to leave them where they were, but the top came out heavier than I expected so I thought it would be better to make the bottom heavier and avoid any listing or leaning.The tubing I chose was thin and the center was wide enough to feed the clip of the puck into it.
- Cut the tubing to the desired height of the lamp.
- Cut a section at an angle from the top of the tube depending on the direction you want the flowers facing.
- Run the puck light's wire through the tube. Cut a hole an inch above the length of the puck wire and pull out the clip (pliers are very handy at this point - not needlepoint or you may damage the able or clip).
- Cover the tubes with green tape. Make sure to cover the area where the tube meets the flower and the hole around the clip.
- One at a time and in sets of 3 (or however your lighting arrangements allow), arrange as desired. NOTE: If you want to get the tubes closer together, use the heatgun to melt the tube a litle and then bend it. If you bend close to the flower, try to aim downward to avoid warping your flower, running your paint, melting the glue on the base....you get the point.
- Wrap the excess wiring around the bottom area. Try to make it as even as possible so the base is steady.
- OPTIONAL: Cover the wiring in tape.
Step 4: Forming the Vase
It is important to try to make the vase as tight fitting as possible to ensure the flowers will not fall over. The biggest downside of this project was having two wires to work with, but I wanted more than 3 and thought 9 would be way too big. NOTE: try to make sure the bottom of the records are flush so the vase won't be lopsided.
- Draw 2 parallel lines along opposite sides of the label on the record.
- Heat the record along the lines and bend the edge to a 90 degree angle. NOTE: You can lean the bigger side onto a flat, vertical surface while it cools back down.
- Do the same for the other line. Make sure they are bending towards the same direction. NOTE: You can place a cup )or anything as high as the top flap) in front of the record while the second side is cooling down to avoid having the record fall or cool down unevenly.
- Do the same for 3 more records.
- Glue the flaps onto each other leaving a hollow area in the middle for the stems. It's OK to let the glue dry before you press the flaps together. After you have applied it, place them on top of each other and use the heat gun to melt the glue through the record. If the records are too loose against each other, you can melt the bottom of the flap and pull the flap up tighter around the record under it.
- Let the vase cool off completely before attempting to add the flowers.
Step 5: Finished Product
I ran the cables through the bottom of the vase and although there are two plugs, I feel the vase looks much better with 6 flowers instead of 3. I would have liked to use brighter vinyl records but I didn't want to wait until they arrived in the mail and I doubted I would find some at a decent price locally considering what I needed them for. I didn't really think about spraypainting them until I sarted forming the vase and realized it didn't look well on it's own. It took a lot of trial and error to get them to look just right, and I'm sure if I had a 3D printer (AHEM) it would have been much closer to my original idea, but the ruler did the trick for now.