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Exclusive: How to Make a Midcentury Modern Inspired Hanging Lamp
The POM Wonderful juice bottle is the perfect shape for a chic, modern lamp. So I figured out three different ways you can capture this bottle's curved form to make beautiful lighting.
The first DIY in this three-part project series shows how to create a midcentury modern-inspired double gourd hanging lamp using liquid plastic.
Here are the other projects featured in this series:Continue to 2 of 10 below.
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Supplies: Casting Material
This DIY uses Smooth-Cast 300. One box of this stuff costs around $25, and it will provide you with enough material to create one plastic pendant lamp. You can find Smooth-On products at Dick Blick Art Supplies.
Here's what you need to know about Smooth-Cast:
- It's odorless.
- It will produce a bright white plastic lamp base with a smooth finish.
- It takes minutes to cure.
- Castings are paintable.
- Unpainted castings will turn yellow over time.
- It's nonflammable. However, the material may "soften" if it's heated to 120 F. This is why we selected an LED light bulb for this project and placed it outside of the lamp base.
NOTE: Smooth-Cast is super easy to work with, but it's also expensive. So I also created a separate hanging lamp tutorial that uses ArtPlaster. It costs around $6 a box and provides enough material for three or four lamps.Continue to 3 of 10 below.
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Supplies: Lamp Parts and Tools for Pom Bottle Pendant Lamp
Here's a breakdown of additional materials needed.
Bottles (shown upper left):
- 48 ounce POM Wonderful bottle
- 50.7 ounce Smart Water bottle
Pipe and nuts (shown lower right)
Electrical supplies (shown lower left)
- Light socket, lamp cord, and plug (more on this later)
- Light bulb: G25 LED
Tools and additional supplies:
Continue to 4 of 10 below.
- Power drill
- Drill bits
- Coffee can
- Plumber's tape (optional, more on this later)
- Kitchen shears or utility knife
- Goo Gone
- A casting release spray or Vaseline
Sandpaper: medium, fine and ultra fine grits
Plastic paint primer
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Prepping the Bottles for Casting
Before you get casting, you'll need to prep both plastic bottles (shown in the upper left corner.)
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- Remove the bottom portion of the Pom bottle. The image in the upper right corner shows where to cut. Utility knives freak me out so I used a pair of sharp kitchen shears to get the job done.
- Remove the Smart Water label using Goo Gone. After it's removed wash the outside of the bottle until it's squeaky clean and dry.
- Clean the inside of the Pom bottle with warm soapy water then rinse and dry.
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Attaching the Lamp Pipe
The POM bottle creates the lamp's unique shape, and the Smart Water bottle is used to make room for the electrical stuff. Here's how you assemble the bottles together before casting.
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- Drill a small hole in the center of both bottle caps. Afterward, use a larger drill bit to widen the hole. You want to create a snug fit for the lamp pipe.
- Next, insert the lamp pipe in the Smart Water bottle cap. Apply a small strip of plumber's tape to the pipe and tighten the nut. Afterward, seal the area between the drill hole and pipe on top of the bottle cap with glue. The plumbers tape and glue create a watertight seal that prevents the casting solution from leaking.
- Repeat step 2 using POM bottle cap.
- While the glue on both bottle caps dry, apply the mold release spray or a thin layer of Vaseline on the inside of POM bottle.
- Afterward, twist the Smart Water bottle onto its cap. Then use tape to cover the cap and the bottle's neck with a portion of the label you removed earlier. Doing so will prevent the bottle from getting stuck in your casted lamp. Now coat the outside of the bottle with mold release spray or a thin layer of Vaseline.
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How to Cast the Pom Bottle
Next, twist the POM bottle into its cap and secure in place as described in step 2 on the previous page. Before proceeding, make sure the Smart Water bottle is perfectly centered. The middle and right upper images show how the bottles should look when assembled.
The image on the upper left is a glimpse of how all the electrical stuff will fit inside the casted lamp base. Now it's time to get casting!
Continue to 7 of 10 below.
- Place the assembled bottles, POM cap first into a coffee can as shown in the lower left photo. Level the bottles and secure in place with tape.
- Next, using a funnel pour the casting solution in a separate clean and disposal container like a 2-liter soda bottle. Please follow Smooth-Cast's instructions for additional details about mixing the solution.
- NOTE: We made a funnel for this project using a paper cup.
- Afterward, using a funnel pour the casting solution into the POM bottle.
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The Casted Lamp Base
The casting solution gets super warm while it's curing. The molding process takes around 15 minutes. Keep these tips in mind while removing the plastic bottles:
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- It is much easier to remove both bottles while they're still warm.
- To remove the Smart Water bottle, twist and pull to release the cap and bottle.
- To remove POM bottle, peel off carefully with pliers.
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Now It's Time to Sand and Paint
Here's what you need to know.
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- Sanding prepares the lamp for painting. Start off with a medium grit and work your way to an ultra fine grit.
- Before painting, prime the lamp with a plastic primer. FYI, placing your lamp on an empty wine bottle makes it easier to paint.
- Afterward, you can apply a craft paint. I used one 2-ounce bottle of Martha Stewart Crafts Multi-Surface High Gloss Acrylic Craft Paint, in Haberno. After waiting one day for the paint to fully dry, I protected the painted surface with a couple of coats of American DuraClear Water-Based Varnish.
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Time to Wire Your New Pendant Lamp
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- Snipped off the electrical plug, so the cut end could be threaded through the lamp pipe.
- Next, I attached a snap-on electrical plug similar to this one.
- Use an LED light bulb. They stay cooler than incandescents.
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Congrats Your Are Done!
We have two more POM bottle lamp tutorials for you to check out: