I'd like my floor lamps to be more attractive than lightbulbs lying on the floor.
July 5, 2009 9:32 PM   Subscribe

Help me turn a blindingly bright LED tube into a functional and decorative floor lamp!

I have two LED tubes (that look vaguely like these, are about three feet long, and have a couple feet of power cord at one end). I would love to turn these into floor lamps. They're pretty blinding on their own, so some sort of lamp shade is in order. So, my questions...

1) What kind of lamp shade should I use for these? I'm happy to buy one (preferably on the cheap) or make one, but it needs to cover the whole tube.

2) What can I use for a base to get the tubes to stand upright on the floor?

posted by pemberkins to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
For a lamp shade, a thin papier mache of tissue paper on a stiff wire frame (ie. bent coathangers) is a cheap arty classic.
posted by idiopath at 9:58 PM on July 5, 2009

Ikea has some floor lamps with tall shades that you might retrofit; errm ... HÖRUP is one. One of those plus a couple of cable ties, and they're really cheap.
posted by nonspecialist at 10:00 PM on July 5, 2009

washi lamp, or point them backwards toward the wall and use the reflection.
posted by rhizome at 10:27 PM on July 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

At any art supply store you can get interesting paper stock to use as a shade. Just make a tube out of the paper and put the LED tubes inside.

One idea for mounting is to get a coat rack and put a string through the top of the paper tubes and hang those from the coat rack, then suspend the LED tubes from the rack as well (by whatever cord attaches to them). You'll want to grommet the holes in the paper tubes. You can get sticky grommets at an office supply store.
posted by jimfl at 10:31 PM on July 5, 2009

Those are really cool looking, a couple of ideas came to mind when I saw them:

If you could find a half pipe of something reflective, maybe metal guttering, you could just rest them in it off-centre, so they aim they light up a wall.
Or I wonder if they would fit in one of those cool leaning wine bottle holders. Like this. Doesn't really solve the glare problem, but I bet it would look awesome.

As for actually shading it, I think jimfl's idea of just making a simple paper tube would be really easy and stylish, just make the paper tube a foot or so taller than the light itself if you're standing them on the floor.

Cheap and nasty stand ideas: If they're light, and don't get too hot, you might be able to stand them up by cutting a plastic bottle in half, cutting a hole in the top big enough for them to go through, and just slipping it over like a skirt.
Or, maybe you could cable tie them into the fold of an old DVD case. Leaning out a little bit so the centre of mass is over the middle of the L shape the case makes.
posted by lucidium at 3:17 AM on July 6, 2009

What access do you have to tools and materials, and how ambitious are you feeling? I have a few thoughts on stands/diffusers, but most of them involve the ability to do some relatively simple wood or metal-working -- cutting plastic/wood sheets, and boring holes, at least. For example, if you have access to a propane torch, you could bend a sheet of frosted plexiglas around a big PVC pipe to create a diffuser, etc. If you're feeling ambitious, you could use a fab house like BigBlueSaw to manufacture one-off parts from a design, but that can get expensive.

You could also look in your local hardware store for parts you could modify -- I can imagine that the half-circular or U-shaped diffusers that some cheaper bathroom vanities use could make a good diffuser, or that you could put together some PVC or other pipe to build a vase. You could also look into "hacking" some cheap Ikea or other existing fixtures..
posted by Alterscape at 3:39 AM on July 6, 2009

I am assuming these things run really cool. For a very simple diffuser you could try wrapping them in a couple of layers of bubble wrap.
posted by rongorongo at 4:27 AM on July 6, 2009

Sure, if they're LEDs, they'llrun cool. But pemberkins, tell us more about these tubes -- by the picture it looks like they're replacements for fluorescent tubes? Is that correct, you can fit 'em into a fluorescent light fixture? And since they're so similar to fluorescents, you might want to explore the work of Dan Flavin -- maybe you'll get ideas from some of his installations.
posted by Rash at 6:09 AM on July 6, 2009

Great ideas, guys! I'll start looking into options.

Alterscape - I don't have easy access to a lot of tools, although I can always take the trip to my parents' house if necessary.

Rash - mine aren't replacements for fluorescent tubes - one end is plastic capped and the other has a power cord, so each tube is an independent unit. They originally came with plastic hooks to mount on the wall, and that's it; they don't look like they're meant to fit in a fluorescent light fixture. (They were meant to light a huge workroom, not a tiny bedroom.)
posted by pemberkins at 9:03 AM on July 6, 2009

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