This week we have been tasked to produce a series of lampshades using unusual materials.  We have been encouraged to consider the use of disposable and recycled items, such as plastic cutlery, ring pulls, cups etc.  There are two major constraints that need to be adhered to in the design process, namely; that only one primary material is used for the design and no glue is used to bind the design into place.


I started my research by looking at lampshades made from utility and everyday objects.  Plastic forks and spoons in particular, have been used to produce striking designs.

I particularly like the effect the repetitive patterning of the spoons and how the light shines through the spoon heads, but produces a dark shadow along the handles.  I also feel that the positioning of the spoon handles, makes them appear softer than the harsh plastic they are constructed from and gives an almost fur like appearance.

The use of repetitive patterning and shadows is also used to good effect in the following example of a lampshade created using cupcake baking cases.

I like how the cupcake cases edges have been manipulated slightly so that each has it’s own unique patterning and shadows created by the reflected light, but the central circle of each cake base retains the repetitive pattern around the full shade.

Both the spoon and cupcake designs, however, are not suitable to be recreated to meet the project brief.  The spoons have been fixed in place using glue, and although another substitute, such as wire, may be able to fix them in a similar pattern, it would distort the light effect.  Likewise the cupcake cases, have been fixed using glue, they are also made of paper and as the lightshades will be displayed in an outdoor setting, this material would not be suitable for the current project.

After further research I came across the idea of using plastic bags as a possible material for a lampshade.  This is weatherproof and malleable, whilst also being fine enough to still allow light to penetrate through the structure.

I like how at first glance it isn’t obvious that the lampshade has been constructed using plastic bags.  The use of both white and black bin bags produces a really nice asthetic when not illuminated, however, once lit, I feel that the previous shades made from a single white colour palette have a more dramatic impact.


Image credits:

  1. Spoon lampshade –
  2. Cupcake lampshade
  3. Plastic bag lampshade –