First of all let’s list the materials:
Plastic cups: I used nearly 250 cups. These need to be SMALL. The smaller the cups the smaller the curvature they create (hence the smaller the sphere). I tried making it with normal size cups and, unless you’ve got a palace, I would recommend not to try it. You could fit inside the sphere they would create.
Paper clips: these are the “bonding” material. Make sure they’re not too small and weak, remember your lamp will be based on their strength (I had to replace a few)… How many you might ask? Well, I ran out of them a couple of times. I would say 300 will do. I used metallic ones because I liked the idea of them being seen. Some people have commented they would have used white ones. Up to your taste!
Light cord, light bulb, switch and light bulb holder. You can find these in places like Wilkinson. Alternatively you can use an old lamp’s cord and recycle, but I didn’t have any so I did it from scratch and learned about the fun world of electricals, and surprisingly it’s dead easy!! (got the picture of the light cord from a cool light cords website)
Some hanging material: I used the cardboard tube that comes in the drycleaner’s hangers and some medium-thin string.
Now, the process:
1. Start clipping 2 cups together with a paper clip. The third cup will make a triangle with the first 2.
2. Just continue clipping cups together. I recommend Jack Johnson, a cold beer and a friend while you’re doing this. When you get to nearly half a sphere you definitely require a friend to hold the shape while you continue clipping and clipping, since at this stage the cups’ shape gets a bit unstable.
3. Stop when you get to “a bit more than half a sphere” to work on the electrics!! Wire the plug and the light bulb holder with the light cord. You need a screwdriver to unscrew the screws. Usually plugs come with a diagram of which colour goes where, so just follow it.
4. Now you have to decide how your lamp is going to hang… I used the blackboard tube that comes in the dry cleaner’s hangers in an attempt to use some recycled material. Whatever you use it has to be a bar that is light and strong at the same time (two bars recommended for more stability but I had only one). It also has to be long enough to go from one side of your sphere to the other. I tied the light cord to the bar with a thin string and introduced the bar inside the lamp between the cups (there has to be enough room for this, obviously). I’ve done a diagram of this since the pictures that I took were not very clear:
5. When you get to the end, hold it to see where you should put the last cups.
One important thing, almost THE MOST IMPORTANT thing!! Make sure your light bulb is NOT “incandescent”, because this type gets pretty hot and would probably melt the cups. LED and halogens (I used the later one) are fine because they don’t generate as much heat. If you have questions ask in the shops, but please make sure you don’t burn your lamp the first time you use it!!
I love my new lamp and just can’t wait to put it up!!! It creates a beautiful light and amazing patterns on the wall… Hope this helps you create your own. Happy crafting!!!