Upcycle a plastic paint container into a trendy pendant lamp

I love featuring projects that upcycle plastic waste in new ways and this project shows how I turned a plastic paint container into a colourful, trendy pendant lamp.





1. Prep the paint container by removing any traces of dried paint. Cut off the plastic handles and then wrap the outside with thick masking tape.

2. Find a suitable design on the Internet and print this out, or draw a freehand design. I went with a pattern that leaned towards a Moroccan style. If using a printed out design, rub the back with a soft pencil, stick over the pot and use a pen to transfer the design onto the container. Outline with a permanent marker.

3. I discovered that the best accessory for cutting the plastic was a #569 grout removal bit. The Dremel MultiTool was set on a speed of 15,000 - fast enough to cut but not too fast that it makes the plastic melt. If you have it set too high you end up with globs of plastic on the cutting bit.

#225 Flexible Shaft makes this project so much easier, removing any hand strain.

Keep your hands free by clamping the container to your workbench.

4. Work slowly to remove all the sections that make up the design. If you work slowly you will find it easier to stay within the lines. Don't worry to much if your edges are a bit messy at this stage, you will sort this out later on.

Even on slow speed you may occasionally need to remove excess plastic from the cutting bit. I used a lighter to melt the plastic away. Do this outdoors and do not breathe in the toxic fumes.

5. The inside of the container will be sprayed a gold colour, so I taped paper around the inside to protect from overspray.

6. Even though the design is not complete, I sprayed on a single coat to help show up the defects even more, and the paint also makes the thin fibres brittle and easier to remove.

7. Cut away the messy bits with a sharp craft knife.

8. I used Rust-Oleum Universal - pure gold - to spray the inside of the container.

9. The outside was sprayed with a couple of coats of Rust-Oleum 2X satin poppy red. Still not happy with the cut edges, I applied a thin bead of Bostik glass deco paint. You can buy this at your local Pick 'n Pay.

10.  You will need a lamp holder, some electrical ripcord - enough to reach from the lamp to the nearest plug point, a piece of board cut to the same size as the top of the lamp holder, and a couple of 16mm screws.

11. To mount the lamp holder I drilled a hole using a 16mm spade bit and two 2mm holes that matched the holes on the lamp holder. The lamp holder will be screwed on the inside of the container.

12. Before mounting the lamp holder, fasten the ripcord wires securely in the holder. Screw all the sections together. 

13. Place the lamp holder inside the container and thread the cord through the hole in the top. 

14. To ensure the wiring is safe and securely fastened in place the block of board was screwed in place (using the two 16mm screws that hold the lamp holder) and then the wiring was wrapped with a strip of electrical tape. I also used epoxy putty to make sure that the wires and container are firmly joined together.

You don't want the lamp to be supported by the wires only, so the epoxy putty should not be left off. 


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