Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Milk bottle lampshades

Please note: MoDiP will be closed for the whole of June due to refurbishments in the library.

Millions of plastic milk bottles are used and then discarded and sent to landfill or returned to the local council in order for them to be recycled. This is when I thought why not utilise the bottles, melt them down and make something new and creative, yet useful.

I first thought of the idea when researching the amount of plastic that is used and wasted each day in the UK. Over the course of many weeks I developed various ideas and designs I could create from the many forms of plastic. My inspiration came from designers such Dave Hakkens, Dirk Van Der kooij and Nick Van Woert. On further research I was amazed by the different varieties of plastic that have been created. I decided to use High Density Polyethylene (HDPE), which is an easily recyclable material and is used for making plastic milk containers.

I looked at many different ideas and uses for the milk bottle plastic and eventually I decided to create lampshades that are easy and quick to make and the final product is strong, lightweight, functional and attractive. 



My concept was to create a product whereby the process was available to anyone wanting to ‘do their bit’ for the environment and create a lampshade out of what would have been an everyday wasted material. I feel strongly that this is what recycling is all about. They would then be recycling my idea as well as the milk bottles. 



The Process:
  • Pre-heat oven 180°C
  • Shred plastic (Around four milk cartons.)
  • Place on protective tray and put in oven
  • About 10 minutes later, remove from the oven (Keep windows open!)
  • Plastic has melted, form around a mould
  • Wait to cool down
  • Place any extra pieces of plastic on using a heat gun for effect
  • Now you have a recycled plastic lampshade!

Extra Features: Experiment!


  • Dye to match surrounding.
  • Dye using natural dyes.

(The majority of natural dyes are vegetable dyes from plant sources—roots, berries, bark, leaves, and wood—and other organic sources such as fungi and lichens.)

Thomas Heath (external student)

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