Wednesday 21 January 2009

Free Lampshade with Every 80 Pints of Milk!

night bloom, originally uploaded by Joey 7.
I like to reuse and recycle stuff, both for environmental and financial reasons. But a lot of stuff tends to look either like a 3-year old made it, or just looks like what it started out as. But not this, unless you look very closely... it's plastic 2 litre milk bottles!

The design (called the I.Q. Light, meaning Interlocking Quadrilaterals) is actually not new at all; it was designed in 1972 by Danish designer Holger Strøm, originally for a Christmas display, which he then modified. The design is very clever; various different forms can be made with the identical pieces, and you can vary the size of the lampshade by the number of pieces you use. I used 20 pieces for this lamp because I only had enough plastic to make that many pieces, but I'm planning to keep saving milk bottles and see how big a lampshade I can make! In theory, there is probably no limit... I wonder if there's a world record??

The instructions and template for the quadrilaterals is from Instructables, and a couple of people on there suggested that HDPE (type 2) plastic could be recycled from milk bottles. So that's what I did.

To make this lampshade, I washed the bottles out, cut off the bottom and top/handle part, leaving a piece of plastic which I then flattened with an iron on a medium setting (protected iron with a piece of baking parchment on top of the plastic). I then drew around the template, cut them out, and fitted them together as described here: how to. So all it cost me was the time to make it.

I'm very pleased with it because it's not only a quite interesting and attractive, it was free and I can change it's size and/or shape when I feel like it. And when it gets dusty, I can just take it apart, give it a good wash and put it all together again!

Please let me know if this inspires you to give it a go!
Joey x

I.Q. Light site:
Universal lamp shade polygon building kit: -polygon-bui...

UPDATE 14 March 2011: I have FINALLY got around to cutting out (with just scissors, I don't have a laser cutter or anything) the 120 modules for the large lampshade, picture of it on Flickr here: The "Milky 120" interlocking quadrilateral modules lampshade. I have been saving up the plastic from ALL our milk bottles since I made the first lamp over two years ago but I was just too lazy to make the lamp. It's actually a bit big at that size, so I'm going to take it apart and make several lamps using different numbers of modules and in different configurations; that the beauty of this lampshade, it's not only free to make and helps the environment by recycling, but you can also change the shape and size as you wish!


  1. Love this craft idea, just thinking what else we could use, as we have doorstep milk in glass bottles. Might have to start buying something like Sunny Delight, lol.

  2. that's BEAUTIFUL! the wonders of design and geometry and reusing unwanted items, it looks really modern too!


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