How To Make Cool Lamps Using Recycled Materials

We often think of recycled materials comprising mainly clothing. But did you know you can make super cool lamps using recycled materials, too? Check out these inspiring examples!

By Chere Di Boscio

At Eluxe, we’re always delighted by furniture made out of recycled and upcycled items. And there are increasing numbers of stores that feature home items made from upcycled wood and ocean plastic, which is great.

But after checking out the price tags on a few of those items, and knowing the materials used, it suddenly occurred to me: I could probably do that myself!

As the owner of a new house, I was in the market for lighting, so when we saw these lamps using recycled materials, I couldn’t resist giving one of them a try. Specifically, I gave number 8 a try, using old, yellowed lace from a dress I never wear, and guess what? That old rag has been reincarnated into a stunning pendant that I love. If I can do it, you can, too!

How To Make Super Cool Lamps Using Recycled Materials

1. Recycled Plastic Spoon Lamp

Know of a fast food joint that discards loads of cutler? As them for all their spoons! Wash them out and you could have a stunning lamp made of recycled materials that looks like it cost a million bucks (or at least a few hundred!) And it works well indoors or outside. Just gather the materials pictured below, and get creating!

Designed by Yaroslav Olenev




2. Clothes Hanger Lights

If you’ve got a bunch of wood hangers whose hook has been broken off or twisted, this is a great, minimalist-style option. The red images, below, are a bit fancier and harder to do, and they also still contain the hook. If you adore that style, maybe take a bunch of old hangers to your local carpinter and see what they can come up with!

Image credits:  Natalie Sampson




3. Shaped Wood Scraps That Turn A Room Into A Forest

The skittish may find this look terrifying, but I think it’s absolutely romantic and mysterious! This is another of those lamps using recycled materials (in this case, wood) that might not be the easiest to DIY, but you can take this plan to a designer for inspo if you love it.

Designed by Thyra Hilden & Pio Diaz




4. Recycled Drum Kit Chandelier

One of the best lamps using recycled materials for all the rockers out there! It’s super easy to do: all you need are some lighting cords, sockets and bulbs, and an exacto-knife to cut a hole into the skin with. That’s for one drum; to get the chandelier look in pic two, you’re gonna need a few more DIY skills, like welding. But just look at that soft light eminating from the drum skin! Stunning.

Designed by ludwigmetals



5. Bike Parts Turned Into A Chandelier

This is another one for those of you out there with some welding skills. And access to lots of old bike parts! But I love the rather ephemeral effect of the light from these lamps. It’s like something out of a Tim Burton movie! Charming, with a bit of an edge.

Designed by Joe O’Connell and Blessing Hancock




6. Old Hat Lamps

This is a super easy look to achieve, and works well in the houses of hardcore Anglophiles. Scour antiques markets for some old hats, drill a hole through the middle, and viola! Just be sure the hats you’re using are pure wool; straw, for example, might burn.

Designed by Jeeves & Wooster


7. Old Cheese Grater Lights

This is one of the best ideas for upcycled items for the home, ever! It’s not hard to do, either. You just need lighting cables, sockets and bulbs, old cheese graters, and a good drill. Personally, we think the older and rustier the graters, the better…Lamps using recycled materials don’t get cuter or more rustic than this!

Image credits:


8. Antique Doily Lamp

I gave this one a try, and it worked a treat! It’s just basic papier mache, folks. But instead of paper, you’re covering that balloon with old doilies (or in my case, lace scraps) and wallpaper glue. Also works well with old lace or even transparent fabric from dresses you never wear any more!

Designed by Isabelle Mcallister



9. Upcycled Silverware Lights

This is one of the most clever lamps using recycled items! And it works especially well in kitchens, of course. The cutlery can be old, rusty and mismatched, no problem! All you need to do is gather some spoons round a raw, naked hanging bulb, and tie them tightly with some attractive covered wire cable (I would have chosen matching silver, not black, but that’s just me….)

Designed by Francois Legault

how to make lamps using recycled materials

10. Cup Lights

Ha! This gives a whole new meaning to the term ‘tea lights’…! Take any broken tea cups and/or saucers, drill a hole through the bottom, add electronics, and voila!

Designed by Gregory Bonasera

teacup lights

11. DIY Yarn Lampshade

Why pay a fortune for this trendy lampshade when you can make your own? So simple, a child could do it! The technique is papier mache, just like the lamp in number 8, above.

how to make lamps using recycled materials

12. Pop Top Lamp Shade

Got access to a bunch of aluminium cans? Got strong, calloused fingers?  This lamp shade could be yours! All you need are two wire loops, and loads of pop tops. Follow these instructions, and you could have yourself a recycled lamp shade after some patient work – in just a few days!

Image credits:

bottletop lamp shade

how to make lamps using recycled materials

13. Paper Starburst Pendant Light

It looks pretty fancy, but this is actually one of the easier lamps using upcycled materials to make! Start with a paper globe lantern, then cut up strips of paper in the colour of your choice. Follow these instructions, and you’ll have a lamp by the end of the day.

Image credits:  Gabrielle Guy  |

diy pendant light


14. Wine Bottle Lights

This is such an easy upcycled chandelier to make! All you need is an existing pendant light. Then, surround it with a variety of bottles, tied by their necks by cables to the ceiling. Ensure you hide all the cord ends through an attractive metal plate, and done!

Designed by Chris Weylandt

wine bottle lights

15. Plastic Bottle Chandelier

Have you ever noticed that the bottoms of plastic bottles look a bit like flowers? Take advantage of this fact by cutting out the bottoms of bottles (recycle the rest), and use fish wire to tie them into a gorgeous chandelier! All you need are a few materials. You can follow these instructions to get this posh look for pennies!

plastic bottle chandelier

plastic bottle chandelier

plastic bottle chandelier

Chere Di Boscio
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