Original handmade lamp out of repurposed plastic milk container

It has been a long time since I posted a new blog and even longer since I’ve made a new original handmade lamp. Time to pick up where I left off. And what better way than to write a post about my latest upcycle design piece. A pendant lamp made out of repurposed plastic.

Original handmade lamp out of repurposed plastic milk container

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the term upcycling: It’s the process of transforming waste materials/objects, useless, or unwanted products into new products and/or materials of better quality, with a different function and often with better environmental value. In contrast to ’normal’ design, upcycle design gives you a product that is handmade, original and often one of a kind and fun. 

The name for the new design is MilkCollar. It’s number eighteen in a series of lampshades and pendants. Each original handmade lamp is made out of milk containers.

Original handmade lamp out of repurposed plastic milk container

Plastic is a great material for recycling and upcycling

Like many of you know, these milk containers are made out of plastic. HDPE plastic actually. This type of plastic is a great material for recycling. And I like it because it’s excellent for upcycling as well.

HDPE is made from petroleum and can be recognized by the SPI resin identification code. The code consists of number 2 inside the three-arrow recycling symbol. HDPE is an abbreviation for High-Density Polyethylene. About 25 percent of the manufactured polyethylene is of the HDPE type, the hard form. The remaining 75 percent is used for LDPE, the soft version of this type of plastic.

HDPE plastic is a rigid, strong and opaque water-resistant plastic that is mainly used as a container for soft drinks and shampoo, for example. This plastic type is also used for toys or car parts. And it’s also used in products that have to last a long time. Like my milk containers.

Great thing about these containers is that one can use parts of the container, the whole container or cut it up into pieces. I’ve been experimenting with all these options, and sometimes a design consisted of a combination.

detail of handmade lamp

I don’t have a favorite way to work with these milk containers. It’s always trial and error that finally results in a design. Sometimes I’ve got an idea on how the design should look. And with great enthusiasm, I start to work with the repurposed plastic containers. And lots of times I’m disappointed and I stop because it’s not what I had in mind. But then the next day or after several days, I pick up the pieces laying around and try approach things from a different angle. Not always right away, but most of the times after some attempts, I feel If it’s going to work.

Original handmade lamp out of repurposed plastic milk container

That was also the case designing Milkcollar. To be honest, it took more than a few attempts. And even though when the pendant lamp was finished I wasn’t convinced. But when I saw it hanging from the ceiling, floating in mid-air, I was happy to see that it was a welcome addition to the upcycle designs I made.

The best thing about creating another lampshade or pendant lamp is that it shows how many possibilities this simple object has to become something much more valuable.

led light bulb

The creation of Milkcollar was quite simple, like most upcycle lighting pieces made by me. I always start by cutting up the repurposed plastic container into three parts: top, middle and bottom. For this pendant lamp, I used the middle part. 

When I started the design process I knew that the pendant shouldn’t give away which object I used to create it from. It can be fun to show the original object, but this time I decided not to. 

A special appearance

Like I said before in this post, MilkCollar has a way of floating in the air. I think that’s because of its slender and open shape. This handmade lamp has a diameter of approximately 44 cm and has a height of 9 cm. The shape is formed by segments fastened by little metal, copper-colored eyelets. These segments are made by bending strips cut out from the middle section of a milk container. After they are bent the segment is secured with eyelets.

This time I used a special lightbulb. It’s a LED bulb by IKEA. Not a bulb you want if you’re looking for a well lit room. I this case I wanted a special classic looking light bulb. And I must say it gives the pendant a nice industrial touch and appearance. Especially because the fake filament has some copper elements which are a nice combination with the eyelets used in the design.

In previous blogs, I wrote to stay tuned because of some new ideas I have for making other lampshades out of repurposed plastic milk containers. And I can happily say that hasn’t changed.

If you like this design or would like to see more, please head over to ‘My upcycle design‘ for more upcycle design made by me.

Design by Gilbert de Rooij

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