Instant (free) Replacement Shades for Multi-Head Lamp, DIY

soup containers from take-out menu

soup containers from take-out menu

A post about repurposed soup containers as lampshades is not my usual fare.  Let’s pretend it is not glaringly unlike the Earnest Sunday School Teacher posts adjacent.  And let’s remember that up-cycled trash is part of my make-it-with-what-you’ve-got mantra.  And let’s also note that this (or any) up-cycle project bags at least 3 mitzvot (see below).  But the truth is, I have to post my discovery somewhere, and this is this my only somewhere. 

Besides, I’m tickled.  I made free replacement shades for the two lamps we shattered.  I searched in vain for real replacement shades, but alas, these Target-type hydra lamps (a.k.a. Multi-Head Lamps) are too cheap to warrant the manufacture of such things.  The closest ready-made hack would be ceiling fan light shades, but these are usually made of glass, and in light of the fact that we’ve already destroyed ten glass shades and bulbs, I need material that can bounce.

Problem:  Broken shades.  One lamp fell when my Kindergartener nudged it.  The other fell when I used it to anchor a LEGO zip-line (which seemed like a great idea at the time).  Replacement shades are impossible to find.

Solution: Soup.  Two local Chinese takeaway joints have two different soup containers: one is clear, one is opaque.  Both hold a quart of eggdrop.   I used a 1.5 inch “hole saw” to cut a lovely circle in the bottom of each container.  Done.

clear soup container lampshades

clear soup container lampshades

I put the clear in the kitchen, where the takeout-trash aspect is room-appropriate.  This is where we ate the soup.

The opaque shades go in the living room.  Because opaque plastic trash is so much classier there.

opaque soup container lampshades

opaque soup container lampshades

If you don’t have a hole saw, you can make a pilot hole with a sharp something (I used a deck screw) and then just cut a hole with a pair of scissors.  The lamp hardware will hide the uneven cuts.

If you feel compelled to decorate these honest soup tubs, feel free to paint inside and or out, or even decoupage.
I like them plain.   I flaunt the thrift.

Mitzvot:  The mitzvot that come to mind with any repurposing project that involves saving stuff from the landfill: Bal Taschit (Do not destroy);
Tikkun Olam (Repair of the World); and Shmirat ha-adamah (Guard the Earth).  Did I leave any others out?  Let me know.

Safety First:  Use compact florescent bulbs so bulbs won’t melt the plastic.
Be careful when cutting the plastic, no matter if you use a hole saw, an Xacto knife or scissors.  This is brittle stuff and it can suddenly crack.
When I used the hole saw, I stacked the containers to make them more stable.  As one hole was finished, I put that container under the others and kept going.
What’s a hole saw?  A drill attachment.  Cheap.  Handy for making neat holes in the back of Ikea bookcases to let cords pass to the plug in the wall behind.

2 responses to “Instant (free) Replacement Shades for Multi-Head Lamp, DIY

  1. Ryda Rose

    WOW! Super stuff! What creative ideas. So proud of all your work. Waiting for your big publication. You know whom!!! Carry on!!!!!

  2. Great solution!