Help me recreate this lamp - for cheap
July 26, 2020 7:31 AM   Subscribe

I love the look of this lamp, but not for $199. I'm crafty. How would you go about recreating the look of this iridescent lamp, for less?
posted by tiny frying pan to Home & Garden (12 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
You could make a wire scaffold in the correct shape and then cover the outside with sections of iridescent paper from a craft store. (To actually replicate the lamp in the photo, I think you’d need a laser cutter and some iridescent acrylic.)
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:51 AM on July 26, 2020

If I were doing this, the key items would be plexiglass/clear acrylic, iridescent cellophane, copper tape, and maybe a matte/frosted spray if I wanted to mute the cellophane a bit.

Use cardstock to mock up a pattern in the shape you want. Cut the plexi to size, attach the cellophane to the back of it (with spray glue maybe). Piece it all together; this will probably be the tricky part, so maybe some dabs of hot glue to hold it in place, then run beads of superglue down the edges when it's all lined up correctly. Line the edges with copper tape, or paint with liquid gold flake.

I can't speak to what you'd use for the actual lamp underneath, but whatever you're using will impact what you do for the base. There are a ton of options there (thin sheet metal, wood, more acrylic) and it would mostly be a matter of cutting it to size and finishing in your metal of choice.
posted by specialagentwebb at 7:55 AM on July 26, 2020 [1 favorite]

I would buy some iridescent acrylic sheet (example source; there are others), plan out the geometry, make a mockup using cardboard, learn how to cut acrylic cleanly, learn how to glue acrylic, then cut and assemble the final lamp shade.

It looks like the actual light source is a dimmable LED panel, which could be a little tricky to source at that size. Something like this could give you some of the same effect in a standard bulb package.
posted by jedicus at 7:57 AM on July 26, 2020 [1 favorite]

Make sure you use an LED bulb; an incandescent bulb could be a fire hazard with a completely enclosed shade like that.
posted by mekily at 8:00 AM on July 26, 2020 [4 favorites]

In addition to crafting suggestions, I would check IKEA for lookalikes. Also bookmark this for when it goes on sale. It very likely will.
posted by 41swans at 8:15 AM on July 26, 2020

You can buy sheets of iridescent glass from stained glass suppliers if you want something that's a lot nicer than plastic; it'll still cost you a lot less than $199. If you haven't cut glass before, it's not particularly tricky, and you can develop your skills on scrap pieces of less expensive glass.

I'd suggest mocking something up in SketchUp, because you can throw the shape together quickly, then get all of the lengths and angles.
posted by pipeski at 8:16 AM on July 26, 2020 [1 favorite]

I would use an led light base pre made, build a bamboo structural shape, get some traditional Japanese paper made for screens, with a vented pattern I liked, and paint both sides of the paper. The interior of the paper I would paint with gesso or marble dust, the exterior with acrylic air brush viscosity interference pigments for maximum color shift. I would replace the paper from time to time to keep it looking good. I like Golden acrylics brand.

If I liked the prototype in paper/bamboo, then construct in glass if it must be glass.
posted by effluvia at 9:05 AM on July 26, 2020

This technique, which uses laminated iridescent cellophane and papercraft techniques, could be a method worth exploring. That said, any option for making something like this from scratch is going to have a steep learning curve if you want polished results.

I would start with a "geometric"/"crystal"/"faceted" terrarium — they're past peak trendiness, so you should be able to find something easily and cheaply enough. The open face becomes the bottom for accommodating the light fixture (if you use a battery-powered or rechargeable LED, this will be even easier).

For a surface treatment, you could use one or a combination of specialty spray paints (frosted, iridescent, etc.), or I might try using spray adhesive to adhere sheets of tinted/iridescent cellophane (or whatever) to each face.
posted by wreckingball at 9:35 AM on July 26, 2020 [3 favorites]

if you did a mockup with cardboard and had exact dimensions of the pieces you wanted, Canal plastics that jedicus links to will custom cut the pieces for you. The charge is usually pretty minimal. There are other suppliers that may be closer to you or work better for your circumstance. Heck, even amazon has some.

From there I would make a wooden base and then paint it to mimic the bronze base pictured. There's lots of guides online on how to make lamps, it's just a matter of shoehorning those pieces into your shell.

Lighting wise, I would actually go with halogen fixtures (halogen lamps are almost always compatible with dimming switches, inline or otherwise), because they tend to be really compact. However, I would skip using halogen bulbs as others have mentioned, they get hot as fuck. Replacement LEDs for halogen fixtures exist, and are real cheap, and since they go into halogen fixtures they almost always have dimming capabilities.
posted by furnace.heart at 11:29 AM on July 26, 2020

Here's an Instructible from someone who basically made a Christmas-light scaled version out of acetate sheets and iridescent mylar. I think heavy acetate sheet (like heavy duty overhead transparencies) would be a good base because they're cheap and easy to work with but have enough heft that you might be able to get away without a separate frame to hold it up.
posted by yeahlikethat at 12:11 PM on July 26, 2020

Another entirely different track to take, which would be more time, but possibly deliver better results (a stronger, heavier lamp) would be to make the panels out of epoxy with a pigment that is iridescent, or to insert iridescent cellophane/film (similar to what wreckingball links to) in each panel. There's a few tutorials on youtube on how to do the film method specifically with epoxy, and the results are closer to what you're looking for (a little bit less translucent, but still iridescent) The linked video backs everything in black, but you could easily use clear, and then shoot for a slightly opaque/frosted finish.
posted by furnace.heart at 12:59 PM on July 26, 2020

I am dumbfounded by all the cool ideas here, any one of which could be a "best answer" project, but I marked wreckingball's suggestion of a faceted terrarium because that is genius level brilliant and likely the route I will take. But these are all inspiring ideas for projects, thank you!
posted by tiny frying pan at 1:24 PM on July 26, 2020

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