Turn empty plastic milk containers into contemporary lighting

Like most households, I go through plenty of plastic containers of milk each week. Rather than throw these out and add to the already disastrous amounts of plastic on our dumps, Gilbert de Rooij transforms plastic milk containers into amazing contemporary light fittings. The Milk Waves lampshade is designed as an easy DIY project. It’s a lampshade that can be used as a pendant or uplighting floor lamp.



20 Plastic milk cartons

Craft knife



Eyelet crimping tool and eyelets

Lamp frame [approx 20cm diameter]

Cable ties, 20cm long.




1. Use a craft knife to cut the plastic at the top and bottom along the line where the strip is normally place, or judge for yourself. After cutting these two section you will end up with three parts. For this design you will use the middle part. The other parts can be used for making one of my other lampshades! 

2. Using the scissors, cut the middle part of the carton in a straight line down one side - as shown. Now you should have one long strip. Use scissors or craft knife and ruler to straighten the top and bottom cut edges. After cutting all your plastic cartons, these sections should all be the same size. 

3. Round off the corners. You can use a jar and pencil to get a nice line on all the strips. Grab your eyelet crimping tool to punch holes in the strips. Take two strips and turn them inside out and put them on top of each other. Make one hole at each end of the two strips. The holes should align at one side of the strips. Secure the eyelets with pliers or a hammer.

4. Repeat this until you have the 10 strips needed for this design.

5. After completing 10 strips you can attach these to the frame. Because the strips are made out of two pieces and the endings are secured, one can make them transform into a wave like object by taking the endings and bringing them together.

6. Take one end and attach one eyelet to the frame with a cable tie. Take the other ending and do the same. Use scissors or cutting pliers to trim off the excess tie.