Following on from my research into recycled lighting ideas, I started investigate ideas around how plastic bags might be used to create a visually appealing lampshade.

The first hurdle that I cam across was to establish how to fix the plastic bags onto a supporting structure without using glue.  I thought about using a wire frame, or moulding chicken wire, but them decided that a football might provide a suitable base for the lampshade’s construction.

Initial Sketches

The rubber of a children’s football would provide a solid round structure, which could easily be punctured to slot coiled plastic bags through and by tying a simple knot, the bags would also be held in place without the need for glue.

By cutting a whole in the side of the football, light would still be visible and it would also alter the convention of lampshades being used to focus the light downwards.

The first problem I encountered with this design, was actually finding a suitable football to use as the lampshade base.  Instead I managed to source a plastic cocktail bowl.  As this was made from plastic, rather than rubber, it couldn’t easily be cut using a craft knife, so instead someone suggested that holes could be created by melting the plastic with a soldiering iron.

Creating holes in the cocktail bowl with a soldiering iron

Once the holes were created, four or five freezer bags were rolled together to produce a rose shape and pushed through the hole.  As the holes were quite tight, the ‘roses’ held themselves in place without the need for additional fixings, ties or knots.

Mid-way point in construction

Once all the ‘roses’ had been inserted the lampshade was tested on a traditional lamp, with very pleasing results.

As the cocktail bowl is made from clear plastic, the light is able to penetrate the supporting structure and create a shadow effect through the rose petals.

Issues Encountered

Other than the main issue relating to finding a suitable support structure for the lampshade, the main problem encountered with the construction of the lampshade was the use of freezer bags.  Whilst the design was straightforward and ease to create, it was very time consuming and required 500 freezer bags to complete the design.  There was also a large amount of waste as only the top portion of each bag was required for the roses, the remainder was surplus to requirements and cut away.

Possible follow-on projects

I was pleased with the final lampshade and would like to try manipulating another plastic bowl with heat to see what other effects and shapes could be created.   

All images – JHolgate – 29.11.16 & 30.11.16