18 Green DIY Lamps You Can Build Before Dark!

18 Green DIY Lamps You Can Build Before Dark!

A driftwood lamp built by our own Mike Demma here at Greenopolis Wagon wheel.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - 12:44am


A while back we featured a very cool driftwood lamp built by our own Mike Demma here at Greenopolis Wagon wheel.

It was so popular we decided to surf the web and pick out examples of lamps you can build yourself from scratch - or at least from stuff that would otherwise be tossed out, like the iMac G4 lamp pictured above. It makes sense - almost anything can be turned into a lamp base or lamp shade, and every hardware or building supply store carries lamp wiring kits. Making your own one-of-a-kind lamp saves money and keeps stuff out of landfills and the lights on at home. You are limited only by your imagination. Here are some ideas to spark your creativity.

Lamp from Wine Bottles

Drain the bottle, wire it up, and build a lamp. Gives you a reason to keep drinking. Here are a few variations on that theme

The website Remodelista has a DIY wine bottle lamp project inspired by Maison Martin Margiela's home line. To make this reclaimed bottle lamp you'll need a wine bottle. Think “vintage” - pun intended. Get a cork stopper lamp kit and put a lampshade on it. Fill the wine bottle with colored stones or shells or glass for extra ballast.

Bottle of Pixies Lamp

Is that a genie in your bottle or are you just glad to see me? Before you put away your wine glass, you might want to try this variation on the theme From Instructables - put a string of colored lights inside the bottle for a conversation piece. Add a dimmer switch or flasher for special effects.

DIY Upcycled Wine Bottle Gas Lamp

And Green Upgrader has a very cool wall mounted gas lamp you can make from a wine bottle - a beer bottle or whisky, cider, brandy… you get the picture.

Fill this with citronella oil and fend off mosquitoes this summer.

Simple Oil Lamp

You can also make a small oil lamp for practically nothing from some scrap cotton, a juice or iced tea bottle and a little olive oil. No electricity or batteries. Runs for 8-10 hours.

Just remove the metal cap from the glass bottle and poke a slit in it with a scissors. Cut a cotton strip about half an inch wide and five inches long and pull it through the cap. Leave half an inch sticking out of the cap. Fill the bottle with oil, replace the cap and light it.

There’s a DIY video here.

Plastic Jug Lamp

With just a gallon plastic jug and some chopsticks, you can make a very unique hanging lamp for your studio, office, or living room. Reuse that jug and last night’s carry out chopsticks. Another bright idea from AltUse. Power it with CFLs to save $$ and energy.

DIY Log/Timber lamp.

Pure Green Design has a timber model floor lamp that you could make yourself - either get a long drill extension and drill the timber up the center, or run the wire in a groove up the back of the lamp. This would work with a log too. Make it as tall or short as you like.

Reused paper or plastic cup lamp shade

Paper/Plastic Cup Decorative Lamp

Again our friends at AltUse have this very cool shade for a hanging lamp made from paper or plastic cups. Round ‘em up after your party or picnic, cut out the bottoms and glue them together. Takes about 15 minutes. Add a colored bulb and create a cool mood. Use a CFL or low wattage bulb 40 watts or less. Don’t want to melt the shade.

Clothes Pins and Tomato Cage Lamp Shade

Another cool idea from AltUse. Start with a wire tomato cage. Take approximately 75 wooden clothespins and hang all over the cage. Use as a lampshade.

This last batch is a slew of lights we found on WebEcoist. These are the designs we liked the best.

Cardboard Fairy Lights

This string is just made with a scissors from a cardboard egg carton. Cut out the shapes you want, slipover the lights and voila! Use led lights only so as not to turn your home into a smoldering ruin.

Fluorescent Tube Light

This is my favorite - made from a bunch of old fluorescent tubes. Built by Toronto-based design collective Castor Canadensis.

Light Bulb Lamps

When you swap out your old lightbulbs for CFLs, why not use them as a techno looking shade? Bulbs Unlimited has DIY kits to turn old dead bulbs into a unique shade.

Water Bottle Chandelier

Very cool chandelier made from discarded water bottle. If you can’t find a GreenOps Tracking Station - here’s another option. Design by Stuart Haygarth.

Gold Toy Lamp

Perfect for a kids room and all those old plastic “guys” lying around. Glue ‘em together for a lamp base. Designer Ryan McElhinney did that with ‘Gold Toy Lamp’. All the pieces are covered with gold polyurethane lacquer.

Vespa Lamp

You saw the Vespa scooter made into a kid’s rocking horse. Here‘s the lamp to go with it. This design by Lamponi’s Lamps makes good use of the vintage moped’s headlight.

Cocktail Umbrella Lamp

If you get tired of drinking wine to make lamps, switch to tropical drinks and save the umbrellas. Glue them together, add a little lacquer and fire retardant (or use a cfl bulb) and you can have your very own ‘Happy Hour’ lamp like this prototype by the Rhode Island School of Design.

Plastic Spoon Chandelier

I hate plastic flatware. But after the picnic, you can wash ‘em and make a faux crystal chandelier like this one by Studio Verissimo of Portugal.

Blender Lamp

Another favorite from Instructables. Why not turn that fried-out blender into a kitchen counter lamp?

Hanging Teacup Lamps

A pile of mismatched teacups make a quirky hanging light Use them singly for little spotlights or group together in a cluster. These lights by Domestic Construction are made from tea cups from flea markets and thrift shops. Hardwire ‘em and hang ‘em.

What can you repurpose as lighting? Remember, it’s better to build a reclaimed lamp than to curse the landfill!

Greenopolis.com is dedicated to our users. We focus our attention on changing the world through recycling, waste-to-energy and conservation. We reward our users for their sustainable behaviors on our website, through our Greenopolis Tracking Stations and with curbside recycling programs.