5 lamps you can handmake to add sculptural surrealism at home

January 12 |

Cheap good lamps are hard to find, am I right? I've been on the search for them in big box stores, clearance aisles, antique shops, and thrift stores all over the midwest, and I'm still lighting most of my living room with clamp lights. If you're in the same boat, I have been scheming schemes. Here are five lamps you can handmake.

Zip tie lamp! This one's by a designer, but I'm sure you could find a suitable circular skeleton to be the middle. If not, try a zip tie lamp in this style:

Ready-made rice paper lanterns are easy to find — especially near an IKEA — and they're super easy to customize, too.

Source: urbanscarlet.com via Christina on Pinterest

Use a little hot glue and crinoline or other fabric remnants, and you have a pinata-like lamp that's a flash of color.

I LOVE the sculptural quality of this idea: a lantern covered in vellum paper strips.

There are lots of options for a kitchen:

Like a colander plus a cool bulb.

A vintage Jell-O mold-turned upside-down makes a damn fine pendant, too.

If you're in need of a nice table lamp, there's no shortage of ideas. Thrift up some (hopefully matching!) china for a very, very cool project like this tea set lamp:


Source: etsy.com via Natascha on Pinterest

I love this pin-pricked lampshade, with certain holes augmented by GEMS! PRECIOUS GEMS! …Or more likely, some dime-store plastic sparklies.

  1. I love the lamp with the teapot in the middle! And love the zip tie ideas too (if I can figure out how to tastefully add duct tape, my partner will adore them).

    On a mostly unrelated note, I am in love with you for saying that the pinata-style lamp gives a "flash" and not a "pop" of color. I am tired of everything "popping" and/or being "a pop." ;)

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    • Wow, I agree with every single word in your post… this is actually scary.

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  2. We found a perfect bright red collandar like the one shown in the kitchen and I can't wait to figure out how to make it a lamp! :)

    But, any ideas on how to actually thread the cord through? Electrical genius? We could use the advice :)

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  3. Can we get a tutorial on one of these, please?! I would love to make one but I'm intimidated mostly by the wiring part of it.

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  4. I saw on Pinterest a lamp similar to the zip tie and vellum idea, but it was plastic spoons. It had an interesting 60's structural vibe to it, and didn't look like spoons until you knew they were spoons.

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  5. You had me at zip-tie!
    I found a knit-covered lamp on Pinterest; it was sweet and cozy, too. I might make a couple different kinds!

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  6. I love the vellum paper strips one, but I would be afraid of a paper lampshade being too flammable. I mean, I know they exist, and they must not be serious fire hazards, but I've heard of so many house fires starting from things like scarves draped over lamps. I suppose it's probably less of an issue with flourescents than incancescents. I will also admit that I am likely overly paranoid of fire.

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    • if you built up the vellum onto a paper lantern base, the kind with a vent on top, the paper would be far enough from the bulb not to be dangerous, and the heat would escape through the top. The lamp pictured probably needs an LED bulb though, which throws less heat.

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  7. I remember watching That 70's show a while ago and being jealous of Kitty's delightfully kitchy colander lamps. I have the perfect old-fashioned colander, too, but unfortunately I use it every day.

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    • I think Kitty's kitchen lights are cheese graters. In that lovely copper color of the 70's. Perosnally, I wouldn't make them part of my home, but she pulls them off!

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  8. I love the colorful chinese lanturn look, but how much light does it actually give off? It seems like it wouldn't be much of a light source, more of a mood-maker.

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