Staying with the theme of recycling everyday objects to create lampshades, the second design that the group worked on utilised cable ties to create a tactile and colourful design.

Whilst Design 1 used a single white colour palette and shadows to create texture and interest, this design focussed on non-illuminated colour.

Cable ties in a range of colours (red, yellow, blue and green), were affixed to a pre-perforated black rubber mat.  The group debated whether to group colours together, create a defined pattern, but decided in the end to use a random ‘scattered’ rotating pattern to create maximum interest.

Attaching cable ties to rubber matting

Once the cable ties were fixed to the mat, this was then attached to the plastic bulb frame using black cable ties.

This created a striking ‘spiky’ effect which was also very tactile to touch.

Completed lampshade

Once illuminated the colours of the cable ties were diluted (contrary to what was anticipated) and the light was diffused by the black casing.

Illuminated lampshade

Room for Improvement?

This design was very straightforward to construct and the cable ties were both self fasting and self supporting once attached to the rubber matting, so didn’t require any additional fixing mechanisms.

The insertion of plastic circles at both the top and bottom of the shade strengthened the flimsy rubber structure, meaning that it’s cylindrical shape was maintained.

In the design process it was thought that once illuminated the cable tie colours would become more striking, however, the opposite occurred and the light reflected against the black rubber and reduced the luminosity of the colours.  It might be interesting to try a similar design using a higher watt bulb or lighter coloured cylinder to see if the cable ties are illuminated differently.


Since writing this blog post we have tried using different bulbs as light sources.  When a larger bulb was used the light penetrated the matting more effectively. 

The shadows being cast by the more powerful light source, are now clearly defined and take on an devilish quality.  The ‘spiky’ nature and elongated shape of the shadows reminded me of childlike monsters and how in the right environment, I may be able to use similar techniques as a storytelling tool.
All images: JHolgate – Dec 2016