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Recycled Milk Bottle Lampshade

Easy step by step instructions showing how to make your own beautiful lampshade by recycling milk bottles, presented by Crafty Corner

For any questions contact: admin@craftycorner.co.za

There is so much we can do with all the rubbish that we throw away. With this easy project we used a plastic milk bottles which would have otherwise ended up in the trash and eventually on a landfill site.

Recycling and making new and interesting upcycled products from waste materials is quite easy to do with just a little effort and creativity, and helps relieve the enormous pressure on our landfill sites, and ultimately, our planet.

We reduced our carbon footprint by recycling used plastic milk bottles, turning them into this beautiful, upcycled lampshade - a great handmade recycled gift that makes a difference! Follow our easy step by step instructions and see how easy it is to make your own recycled milk bottle lampshade.

recycled milk bottle lampshade

What you will need:

  • Roll or lengths of twine
  • 3 - 4 washed 2l plastic milk bottles
  • Thin wire
  • Wire cutters
  • White spray paint
  • Balloon
  • Wood glue
  • White acylic paint
  • Medium paintbrush
  • 2 old plastic or polystyrene cups
  • Craft knife or scissors
  • Pencil
  • Acetone
  • Old cloth / rag

Making something by hand, is always a great way to add a personal touch to your home or when giving a gift! Kids will love this imaginative and unusual lampshade for their room.

Step 1

In your plastic / polystyrene cup, mix 1 part quick drying wood glue (2 tbl spoons) with 3 parts warm water (6 tbl spoons) and 2 parts (4 tbl spoons) white acrylic paint. You should acquire roughly 50/75ml of mixture. Set this aside with your brush.

Step 2

Blow up your balloon and tie a knot so it does not deflate. Holding the balloon by the knot, use your paint brush to apply an even coat of the mixture to the balloon surface, starting on the top and working back towards the knot. You can place the balloon into the second cup, so that it will be supported while you paint it. Once the entire balloon has a even coat of mixture, allow to dry.

Step 3

While the balloon is drying, start to cut your washed milk bottles. You want to cut each bottle all the way around, twice so that you are left with one band of plastic from the middle of the bottle. You will cut, with your craft knife, once around the bottom (approx. 3cm from the base) and the second time just lower than the handle. You should be left with a very thick centre piece, which should be approx. 10cm in width.

Step 4

Now cut a straight line down the width of the plastic oval, so that you are left with a long rectangular strip of plastic. Fold the narrower width of your plastic strip over by about 3/4cm and cut the plastic at this line leaving you with a 6/8cm strip, which is still folded. From this section of plastic, you will cut out a butterfly shape. Repeat this process several times until you have cut all milk bottles and remain with an assortment of plastic butterfly shapes.

Step 5

Your balloon should be dry by now and you can start making the twine web. You will hold the balloon and one end of the twine at the balloon knot and work the twine around the ballon in varying directions, so as to create a tangled web around the balloon. You should have a few spaces here and there where you can still hold the balloon through the twine web. Make sure that the loose end is tied down to a section of twine on the balloon.

Step 6

Now you want to use the remaining glue/paint and water mixture to coat your twine. Holding the balloon, you can use your free hand to apply the mixture with the brush. Apply generously, allowing the twine to soak up the mixture. Once all the twine is covered, rest the balloon on the cup once more to dry. This may take a little longer than the first application, so you can put the balloon outdoors, or in a sunny spot to hasten the drying time.

If you run out of mixture, simply use the recipe from Step 1 to mix more as needed.

Step 7

Put your recycled milk bottle to good use, by attaching the butterfly shapes to the twine. You can do this by cutting lengths of wire with your wire cutters. Cut lengths of about 13cm, one for each butterfly shape. You can use the wire length to poke right through the soft plastic. Poke one end of the wire through the top mid section and the other end through the lower of the mid section. You want to have the two ends of wire sticking out on the outer fold side of the butterfly shape.

Step 8

Now you can cut the balloon and allow it to shrink away from the dry twine. The twine should hold its shape very well. You will notice that as you work with it, it is still somewhat flexible, however retains shape quite well. If the balloon does not pull away completely you can help it along and finally remove it from the inside of the twine web.

Step 9

Time to start decorating the lampshade! The butterfly shapes are ready to be attached to the twine lampshade. Using the wire to attach them to the twine, you can scatter them all around the lampshade. Once secure you can use your wire cutters to trim excess wire on the inside of the lampshade.

Step 10

Now that your lampshade is adorned with butterflies, you can complete the decorating phase by applying a coat of white spray paint to the entire object. Choose a well ventilated room or go outside. You can prop the lampshade onto the cup once more, otherwise it should rest comfortable on its own. Apply an even coat of white spray paint to the entire object allowing a few minutes to dry before rolling it over and coating the missed areas. Continue this until the entire twine lampshade and all butterflies have been coated in white spray paint.

Step 11

Nearly done! All that is left is to insert your light fitting. Because there are many gaps and spaces in the twine, it should be easy enough to drop the light fitting into the centre. Should you need to secure the light fitting to the lampshade, you can do so with the wire. There should be enough space for you to stick your hand inside with a globe, to fit before use.

The light fitting and globe should sit in the centre of the lampshade you do not want the hot globe to be too close to or resting on the twine, as it will get very hot and may cause the twine to melt and burn. If it is in the centre you will have no problems.

Step 12

Stand back and marvel at your newest creation a recycled milk bottle, butterfly lampshade!

recycled plastic milk bottle lampshade