Illuminating Reuse: 15 Recycled Lights and Lamps

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Egg cartons, Legos, ballpoint pens, blenders and plastic spoons: these are just a few of the items that have been transformed into awesome light fixtures by creative DIYers. Why buy new lighting or lamps when you could have a stunning chandelier or lamp that puts junk to good use? These 15 examples of brilliant eco-illumination show just how stylish and fun recycled materials can be – from solar-powered lights and lamp-bookcase two-in-ones to integrated green mouse pad lamps and do-it-yourself bent wood lamps.

Cardboard Fairy Lights

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(images via: Esprit Cabane)

To spruce up a string of ‘fairy lights’, all you really need is a cardboard egg carton and some scissors. Esprit Cabane created this lovely set of flower-shaped light covers which, when trimmed and fitted over the lights, give a warm, cozy effect. Use LED lights only to prevent this pretty DIY light project from turning into a fire hazard.

Tube Light by Castor Canadensis

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(images via: Inhabitat)

If you’ve got a bunch of old fluorescent tubes laying around that you’re not sure what to do with, you could build your own recycled tube lamp like this one by Toronto-based design collective Castor Canadensis. Unattractive lights that would otherwise have been thrown away are transformed into a fixture that’s simple and modern.

Light Bulb Lamps

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(images via: Craftzine)

Everybody’s making the switch to compact fluorescent bulbs, and while that’s a good thing, it also means old incandescents are piling up all over the place. Bulbs Unlimited makes it easy to recycle them into a quirky light fixture with DIY kits that save old dead bulbs from an unpleasant fate in the landfill.

Chiquita Banana Chandelier

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(images via: Inhabitat)

You wouldn’t think that a couple dozen Chiquita banana cardboard cartons would make a chic chandelier, but somehow, designer Anneke Jacobs has achieved just that. She created this colorful design, which casts subtle ambient lighting, while a student at the Utrecht School of Product Design.

Modern Lights from Glass Bottles

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(images via: jerrykott.com)

Wine bottle lamps are a popular DIY projects, but they aren’t always pretty and certainly can’t be called modern. This interpretation, however, ditches the cheesy Italian restaurant vibe with a simple silhouette and blocks of color. Each hanging Khrysalis light fixture comes with a frosted bulb that flickers slightly, much like the fluttering of a butterfly about to leave the chrysalis, thus the name.

Water Bottle Chandelier

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(images via: Treehugger)

Plastic water bottles are like a plague upon the earth. They litter highways, meadows and bodies of water – and since people aren’t likely to give them up any time soon, some intrepid designers have taken to finding creative new ways to reuse them. This chandelier by Stuart Haygarth is both beautiful and functional, taking hundreds of plastic bottles out of the waste stream.

Gold Toy Lamp

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(images via: ryanmcelhinney.com)

When you’ve got a giant pile of unwanted toys, you could take the artistic approach and glue them all together to create a lamp base. At least, that’s what designer Ryan McElhinney has done with the ‘Gold Toy Lamp’, in which dozens of figurines are bonded together and coated in a high-gloss gold polyurethane  lacquer.

Ballpoint Pen Chandelier

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(images via: Core 77)

The Volivik Lamp by En Pieza is constructed almost entirely of Bic ballpoint pens strung onto circular forms. It comes in both orange and clear versions, but as you can see, the clear pens really allow the light to sparkle and shine in a way that rivals even expensive crystal chandeliers.

Vespa Lamp

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(images via: Great Green Goods)

When trying to decide what to do with an old out-of-commission Vespa, creating a lamp might not be the first thing that comes to mind. However, as this design by Lamponi’s Lamps proves, it can be a kitschy addition to your décor and certainly makes good use of the vintage moped’s headlight.

Melted Lego Lamp

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(images via: Geek Alerts)

It might not win any awards for looks, but no one can deny that this melted Lego lamp is creative as all get-out. The design, chosen as one of Craftster’s best projects of 2007, was created by baking the Legos in a round cake pan in the oven.

Cocktail Umbrella Lamp

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(images via: Bright Lights Little City)

The next time you attend a tropical-themed party, gather up as many of those silly little drink umbrellas so you can make your own version of this ‘Happy Hour’ lamp. The hanging lamp, based on an award-winning prototype by the Rhode Island School of Design, features cocktail umbrellas sprayed in a protective lacquer and finished with a fire retardant spray.

Plastic Spoon Chandelier

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(images via: Ann Porter)

As long as there are picnics, there will be plastic utensils. Disposable tableware is a bane to the environment, but this unusual project ensures that hundreds of plastic spoons avoid the trash bin. The 22” x 16” chandelier by Studio Verissimo of Portugal looks like an expensive Lucite fixture – you don’t realize what you’re looking at until you get up close.

Blender Lamp

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(image via: Instructables)

When blenders quit working and repair isn’t an option, you could always turn it into an eye-catching table lamp. Instructables has the step-by-step directions that help you turn a piece of junk into a conversation piece that will find a perfect home on your bar, kitchen counter or desktop.

Hanging Teacup Lamps

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(image via: Domestic Construction)

Teacups make the perfect hanging light – they’re just the right size to use alone as a subtle spotlight or in a group for a dramatic chandelier. These “ted” lights by Domestic Construction are made from tea cups acquired at flea markets and thrift stores all over the country, hardwired and fully prepped for immediate installation.

Traffic Light Lamp

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(image via: Ecofriend)

Greenlight Concepts reincarnated old traffic lights into sleek hanging light fixtures fitted with high-efficiency LED bulbs. The recycled traffic lamp comes, naturally, in “Intimidating Red”, “Yielding Yellow” and “Go Green”. Simple, streamlined, brilliant reuse.

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