How can I make a cute lamp using recycled stuff?

lightbulbWe’ve had an email from Janey:

What can I make a lampshade out of? I’ve got the cable and fitting from an old lamp and want to make something cute for my home office.

While it’s not specifically recycled stuff, I saw a paper cutout lamp shade on Craft last week which I thought was a great gem of an idea that could easily be adapted for recycled paper or the like, and customised regarding what shapes are cut from the paper. I wonder if it would be safe enough to use a big old fizzy drink/soda bottle for the inner layer… I suspect not but I’m overly cautious regarding electricity – anyone know for sure?

There have been a number of “make it into a light shade” suggestion in reply to posts on Recycle This over the years and I’ll try to add some links to those in the comments below – but the one that most obviously springs to mind is using photo negatives.

Any other ideas? Anyone know any safety guidelines to minimise the risk of fire/melting?

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6 Responses to “How can I make a cute lamp using recycled stuff?”

  1. Bobbie says:

    If you have the old lampshade you could recover it in cloth then it would be like new.

    If you have the old lampshade frame you could easily cover it in beadwork or cloth/beadwork.

  2. louisa says:

    Yesterday on Craft they featured a very cool tealight lantern made out of leftover corrugated plastic – I suspect the idea could be adapted to an electric lamp and it would look good in a modern/industrial themed office.

  3. Use a drill to make patterns on the surface of a steel can (e.g. biscuit tins, milk powder cans). You can either put a tealight or candle in a jam jar inside it, or turn it upside down over a lamp base.

  4. If you could make a stand with a ‘ring’ over the lamp base, you could make a ‘bead curtain’ by threading assorted items like broken jewellery, odd beads, buttons, paper clips, safety pins, brooches and the like on strings (fishing line, perhaps) of the same length. Hang them from the ring so that it creates a ‘veil’ or bead curtain effect for the bulb.

  5. Don says:

    Talking about lampshades made from recycled materials makes me very uneasy,somehow it brings images of Nazis making them out of poor souls skin,i know this is crazy but i does

  6. Alice says:

    Reduce the risk of fire by:

    1) using an energy-efficient lightbulb of a low wattage, which won’t get so hot.

    2) using materials that don’t melt or catch fire easily

    3) design the thing so that no part of the shade is touching the glass part of the bulb or is too near the glass part of the bulb (see shades in shops for an idea of how close you can go – remember it’s hotter at the top)

    4) make the design strong enough that there is no chance the shade can fall onto the bulb if it is knocked, comes unstuck etc

    5) keeping the lamp somewhere it can’t be knocked, tripped over, wobble and fall etc.

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