Mod Laser Cut Shape Drum Shade

I’m a self-professed pack rat.  And usually it means that my life is filled with a bit more clutter than necessary.  (Did I say a bit? I meant a LOT…)  But, every now and then it pays off and of course those situations just encourage me to keep collecting and saving things! This time it paid off with this really fun new light, which I’ve decided to hang over my living room sideboard for some additional accent lighting.

The story is, a few years ago in architecture school I had laser cut hundreds of thin oddly shaped section pieces, to make a model.  The project was this undulating surface that wrapped up and became bridges, and wrapped down to become underground tunnels and highways.  Since the shapes were so free flowing and strange, the only way I could think to make the model was to have hundreds of section pieces laser cut out of chipboard, to then be glued together to form my design.  Laser cutting is only the most amazing process ever, for those of you not familiar basically you draw a design in the computer, and then a laser cuts (or scores, for more of a drawing effect) your design into chipboard, mat board, wood, plexi, etc.  Seriously, if there was one machine or tool that I just desperately wish I could purchase, it would be a laser cutter.  But anyway, my model might have been amazing in concept but it was really really time consuming, and I had some pieces left over which were supposed to form the underground tunnels.  Here’s the section of my design, can you see where the pieces I had left over would fit?

Anyway, I had a whole stash of these pieces and I couldn’t bear to throw them out, so I’ve been patiently saving them with the hopes that one day I’d find the perfect project.  And finally I did!  Basically, I just hot glued them onto one of my favorite Ikea Lobbo drum shades, and there you go! 

I think this is totally 50’s mod, and I absolutely adore it.  I decided to stagger the pieces for a more varied look, but I also really like how they don’t go to the very top or bottom of the shade.  I like the pure white as a contrast to the middle section.

What is fantastic about these shades is that they come flat, and then you notch them together when you want to make them a drum shape.  So, I glued maybe 75% or so of the shapes on while the piece was still flat, which really helped speed things up.  Once you notch the shade together you also insert the frame that holds the shade onto your light cord, so when I was gluing the shapes on I left space at each end, as well as around the holes where the frame gets attached.  Then I just added those shapes in afterwards.

Sadly, this light (which is only about 7 inches tall) took approximately 60 or so of my laser cut shapes, and I only have about 30 left.  Well, actually that’s not quite true.  I have about 30 of these complete D-shaped pieces.  Then I have another 30-40 pieces that have the same general shape, but they don’t have the full flat back piece (the part that is flat against the shade.)  So, since I’d love to have two of these shades hanging over my sideboard, I think I’m going to figure out a slightly different pattern where I could easily alternate the pieces that are full D’s and the pieces that are more like backwards C shapes.  Luckily they have the same tapered flat ends, so they will still easily glue onto the shade, and the exterior shape will be exactly the same.

For this light I did a pattern of High, Middle, Low but I think for the next one I’ll probably do something a bit more symmetrical, like High, Middle, Low, Middle, High, etc.  That way I could have all the Middle pieces be the C shapes and all the High and Low pieces be the D shape.  I think that would work nicely and hopefully will have a generally similar look (since I am envisioning them hanging as a pair.)

One thing I also really adore about these lights is that while the light emitted out to the side of each shade is minimal, there is a lot of light that comes out the bottom and the top of the shade.  They are perfect down-lights and should provide a nice amount of light without being too jarring either.  I might also fold and use Incandescent bulbs so that I can put them on dimmers.  Then again I might see how expensive dim-able CFL bulbs are and if they aren’t too pricey I might just invest in two of those.  We’ll just have to see…

Interestingly, I think this is possibly one of the only projects I’ve ever posted that can’t be exactly replicated by all of you at home.  But the concept certainly works, does anyone have any idea of what you could use as a substitute for my laser cut pieces?  I wonder if some sort of toilet paper roll shape could be used.  Does anyone have any ideas?  Share them here and then maybe we can share anyone’s attempts at a similar project, I’d love to see what you all come up with!

On the other side, have you ever held onto a supply for years just waiting for the perfect project?  Did it ever become a successful finished product?  These shapes are only some of my various supplies I am holding on to, so I’ve love to hear if anyone else came up with a fun or quirky project based on a random supply.

I hope everyone has a lovely Columbus Day holiday, I’m excited to actually get the day off from work!  We never got Columbus Day as a holiday during grad school (which was a bit strange since I went to Columbia, a school named for Columbus.)  Though they did give us a four day weekend holiday for Election Day so I guess that sort of made up for it… Here’s a bonus photo of the model that these pieces were originally destined for.

Ciao! Allison

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4 Responses to Mod Laser Cut Shape Drum Shade

  1. Ann says:

    The lamp looks great! I can see why you’re so crazy about it. How about using a Cuttlebug or Sizzix to cut chipboard shapes that resemble the laser cut ones? I wasn’t sure if these die cutters are strong enough to do the job, but this post says yes: http://www.etsy.com/forums_thread.php?thread_id=5558403

  2. Amanda says:

    This is truly amazing. Your light is incredibly beautiful. I wish I had that talent! Did you finish architecture school?

    • Thank you! Honestly this one was part talent, part pure luck! Even I didn’t know how truly awesome it was going to be when it was finished, but I love being pleasantly surprised by things like this.
      I did finish school, I graduated with my Masters in May 2010. This project was actually from my third (and final) year, so was one of my advanced studios. Its actually probably one of my favorite projects from the whole program, which is another reason its fun to see pieces of it living on in a different form.

      In terms of die cutters, hmm, maybe. Its definitely good to have that information, even if its for a project down the road. Thanks for that link!

      ALlison

  3. ebi says:

    galory please

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