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Try This: Plastic Cup Chandelier

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Step 1: This light was made using about 120 plastic drink cups (we used 9-ounce cups, but any size would work). Wash and dry the cups, then staple two cups together side-by-side. Place the stapler deep into each cup, and staple as far back as possible. This holds the back of the cups together and begins forming the curved shape of the fixture.
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Step 2: Add a third cup in the “valley” between the first two.
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Step 3: Next, put a fourth cup into place and staple it to the cup next to it and to the one below it.
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Step 6: Use four 1/4-inch dowels to form a “collar” from which the light shade can be attached to a pendant light kit (available at most hardware stores). Thread the dowels through the spaces on either side of a cup as shown.
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Step 7: Be sure to use a compact fluorescent bulb in your new fixture (incandescents are flammable).
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Step 8: Trim the dowels so they show as much as you like.
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Steps 4 & 5: Keep adding cups in an alternating pattern until the two-tiered chain of cups is long enough to bend all the way around, into a large circle, and be stapled to itself. Begin adding the next row of cups. Make sure the rims of the cups in each new row are placed behind the rims of the previous row so a dome begins to take shape. Each new row will require fewer and fewer cups—the last row needs only about 11.
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This lamp looks stunning as a half-dome, but the audacious crafter with cups to spare could easily turn it into a sphere by adding to the simple pattern, one cup at a time.

Next time you throw a party, don’t sweat the disposable plastic cups; recycle them into this deceptively simple, sculptural lamp instead. Stapling drink cups together forms this beautiful hemi-orb that has a muted, milk glass glow. The shape is reminiscent of beehives or bubbles.

1. Our light was made using about 120 plastic drink cups (we used 9-ounce cups, but any size would work). Wash and dry the cups, then staple two cups together side-by-side. Place the stapler deep into each cup, and staple as far back as possible. This holds the back of the cups together and begins forming the curved shape of the fixture.

2. Add a third cup in the “valley” between the first two.

3. Next, put a fourth cup into place and staple it to the cup next to it and to the one below it.

4. Keep adding cups in an alternating pattern until the two-tiered chain of cups is long enough to bend all the way around, into a large circle, and be stapled to itself. Begin adding the next row of cups. Make sure the rims of the cups in each new row are placed behind the rims of the previous row so a dome begins to take shape. Each new row will require fewer and fewer cups–the last row needs only about 11.

5. Use four 1/4-inch dowels to form a “collar” from which the light shade can be attached to a pendant light kit (available at most hardware stores). Thread the dowels through the spaces on either side of a cup as shown.

6. Be sure to use a compact fluorescent bulb in your new fixture (incandescents are flammable).

7. Trim the dowels so they show as much as you like.

Try This: Cat Baggage

Cats are notorious for jumping in suitcases when their people are packing for a trip. Why not give them that chance anytime? This pet bed uses the better half of a junk-store suitcase whose days on the luggage carousel are long gone. Simply remove the top of your vintage valise and tuck a feather pillow inside. An easy-to-remove flannel pillowcase makes laundering a breeze. This perch is the perfect curling-up spot for the discriminating catnapper.

1. Find old suitcases at junk stores, garage sales or in your own attic. The hinges and locks needn’t be functional, but the suitcase should be fairly sturdy and have a flat bottom. A small cat or kitten can comfortably bed down in a large briefcase; a large cat or small dog needs a suitcase at least 18 by 24 inches.

2. Separate the top of the suitcase from the bottom. Vintage suitcases have different hinge mechanisms, so you’ll have to be creative and use a little elbow grease to get them apart. Often hinges are riveted in place and can be popped out with a flathead screwdriver. In some cases, the hinge is held together by a pin that can be removed with a pair of needle-nose pliers.

3. A bed pillow–either a standard or king size–provides cushy comfort for the pet-bed interior. Feather pillows mold nicely to any size suitcase. Find a nice pillowcase that completely covers the pillow, then tuck it into the suitcase bottom. (A deep suitcase may need two pillows.) If you prefer, a piece of fabric about twice the size of the pet bed can be folded around the pillow and tucked in. Either option is easy to remove and throw into the washer when needed.

Published on Feb 11, 2008

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