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How to Use Plastic Bottles to Make Concrete Pendant Lamps

Let’s face it, designer lighting can cost a pretty penny. Instead of spending your tax refund on a brand new ceiling lamp, make yourself an entire set of stylish concrete pendant lights with a single bag of concrete mix and some old plastic bottles. Concrete is affordable, modern, and you can make more than 15 lamps from a single $6 bag!

Materials:
- Quikrete 5000 Concrete Mix
- electrical socket, switch and cord
- 2 plastic bottles (one larger and one smaller)
- threaded tube and nuts (3/8th inch diameter tube)
- 3 1/2 inch deck screw
- 120 grit sandpaper
- metal can

Tools:
- box cutter or knife
- RYOBI 18 Volt Cordless drill with a 3/8th diameter standard bit for drilling holes in the caps
- wire cutters to cut the cord and strip the wires for reconnecting the socket to the cord after putting the socket inside the lamp

First, a little more about the materials you’ll be using. QUIKRETE® 5000 Concrete Mix is a commercial-grade blend of stone or gravel, sand and cement that’s specially designed for strength. It is available at Home Depot and typically comes in 80lb. bags. The electrical socket, switch, and cord, and the threaded tube and nuts are all available at Grandbrass.com, along with other common lamp parts.

Poke a hole in the soda bottle with a box cutter and use scissors to cut the bottom of the bottle. Then, drill a hole in the caps of the soda bottle. It’s easier to drill a hole in the bottle caps when they are attached to the bottle. The hole should be just big enough to screw the metal tube through.

Now it’s time to connect the bottle caps. Screw the tube through both caps and use nuts on either side of each cap to hold them in place.

Screw the bottles into the caps.

Next, use deck screws to stabilize the bottles.

Now, mix the concrete and fill the mold. We recommend using a large spoon to fill the mold. Shake and tap the mold after each spoonful to make sure the concrete settles. Place in a metal can to stabilize.

We’re almost done! It’s time to remove the bottles from the mold. We used a box cutter and scissors to remove the plastic bottle. A hair dryer can be used to heat the plastic, making it softer and easier to pull out with pliers.

Sand your lamps to smooth down any rough edges. Then it’s time to wire.

Cut the socket end of the wire and thread the cut end though the bolt hole. Strip the wires and twist them together. Cover the exposed metal with electrical tape or wire nuts and make sure the pendant is securely fastened.

Done!

To hang, we used a $4 bracket from IKEA. You can also try blending different colors of concrete for a 2-tone effect. We love it!

For a full play-by-play on how to make this, you can also check out this handy how-to video!

Have you tried making your own lighting? If you try your hand at this tutorial, be sure to send pics our way via Twitter or Facebook. Happy making!

Ben Uyeda

Ben Uyeda is an award winning designer and entrepreneur. When he isn’t designing sustainable homes with his partners at ZeroEnergy.com, he is developing DIY projects in his downtown Boston workshop.

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