What I made
days ago

Designer recycled plastic lamp shade and light (oven melted!)

Designer quality recycled plastic lamp shade and light - shown on a table

1) Turn a bottle of Coke Light into a… light!

I recently came across some nice examples of jewellery made by melting recycled plastic in the oven – they really sparked my interest in using plastic as part of one of my craft projects. After a bit of trial and error I managed to create the recycled plastic lamp shade (shown above) from plastic disposable party bowls, an empty bottle of Coke and a biscuit tin.

Although I was happy with the final result, I must confess, the plastic didn’t really behave like I was expecting. Instead of shrivelling and shrinking, the plastic bowls just went all limp and floppy – I think the plastic was too thick. In fact, I was so disappointed with the effect I nearly packed it in. However, after experimenting with the oven temperature I managed to get a bit of gentle twisting and warping, which I used to create a more subtle and elegant effect.

The biscuit tin was used to create the cover to the shade, and galvanised wire to create the light fitting support. Anyway, you’ll find fairly detailed instructions below – I had to gloss across some of the steps, but you should get the idea.

How to make your own designer recycled plastic lamp shade and light

Easy to follow hand drawn instructions for making a designer recycled plastic lamp shade and light

Please note: Because the light shade is made of plastic I’d advise using a low energy bulb – one that doesn’t get too hot. Also, be careful with the wiring – the stand is made of metal so everything needs to be well insulated (not one for the kids)!

Download project files›

1) Collectable instructions – they are useful and they look good
204 downloads so far, thanks everyone!

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You’ll find another very cool recycled light project, the 1 Ton Lampshade, in my new book: Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints For Making Cool Stuff – go have a look inside!

1 ton lamp shade

Bye! Don’t forget to turn the lights off!

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26 thoughts on “Designer recycled plastic lamp shade and light (oven melted!)

  1. Pingback: People Who Are Freaking Geniuses (an Occasional Series): Scott Bedford

  2. I may just have to try this–I love the technique even though the lamp isn’t exactly my style. It would make a great gift! I love your illustrations–absolutely brilliant 😀

    • To be honest it’s probably not my sort of style either – it just sort of ended up that way! Thanks for the comment. Scott

  3. This is retro-divine and your illustrations take the cake. I’ve become a bit biased against plastic bottle crafts due to the atrocities the internet is constantly vomiting up (I think I read too much Regretsy), but you have redeemed them for me!

    • Ha ha – I know what you mean, there’s so much craft out there it can be tricky to do something that is a bit different, I was a little unsure about my Coke Light at first, so pleased to hear it passes the vomit test! Thanks for the comment. Scott:-)

  4. I was sent over here, kicking and screaming, by Diane, of Craftypod fame.

    Well, she didn’t force me to come over here, really. And, in fact, I didn’t do any kicking and screaming because the baby’s asleep (she’s a dachshund mix with very big ears).

    Okay, actually, I came over here of my own free will. When I saw that caterpillar in the photo she posted, I decided to ask you to send me one.

    Thank you.


    • Ha ha – thank you! I wish I had a spare caterpillar, I’d definitely send you one -in recognition of your wonderfully quirky comments! Scot:-)

  5. If you want plastic that shrinks you can either buy shrinky dinks or you can recycle plastic (which is probably what you were aiming for) but the recycled plastic has to be number 6. Plastic carry out containers from the supermarket, like the containers they put their cookies and birthday cakes in are usually number 6. If you look on the bottom it should be stamped somewhere. That plastic works great for oven shrinking! I actually just made myself necklace out of some of it. I cut a rectangular piece out and had my daughter draw on it (you have to use permanent markers, like sharpies), punched a hole in it, shrunk it and put it on a chain! Now I have one of masterpieces around my neck at all times!

    Awesome job as always though! When are you going to be opening your shop?

    • Hi Aunt Peaches! Thanks for the comment – I’m really pleased that you like it, especially as you do such nice work using plastic yourself. BTW I love your blog, it’s great, and your use of plastic was one of the reasons I decided to have a go myself! Scott:-)

    • Thanks Jessica – I do have a shot of it lit, but I thought the photo was a bit grainy so decided not to include it. I’ll have another look at it though, I might be being too fussy! Scott:-)

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