How To Make Paper Mache Pendant Lights

How To Make Paper Mache Pendant Lights

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Ashley Poskin
Apr 24, 2015
(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

Paper mâché is an art form usually reserved for kids and camp goers, but why should they have all the fun? Whether you're prepping for a fiesta and need to make a piñata, or you're just looking for a fun creative outlet, paper mâché is a great way to get your hands dirty creating cool art.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

You can really use any sort of fun shaped plastic element for this project, but I've always had a thing for funnels, and the stem works perfectly to hold the socket from the pendant cord in place. I found my funnels at a few different places but had the best luck at auto parts shops.

What You Need

Materials

  • Flour
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Paper (newspaper, gift wrap, craft paper)
  • Cooking spray or vaseline
  • Plastic funnels
  • Pendant cord set
  • Paint

Tools

  • Bowl
  • Whisk or fork
  • Utility knife

Instructions

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

1. Make a paste by combining equal parts water and flour in a bowl. You want achieve a consistency similar to that of cake batter, so you might have to add a bit more flour or water to even out the consistency. Be sure to mix well, you don't want any clumps of flour hanging around. Add a few shakes of salt to the mixture to keep the glue from becoming moldy.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

2. Cut an opening in each funnel with a utility knife. Start at the top (small opening of the funnel) and work your way down the side to the bottom. Your utility knife probably won't be sharp enough to cut all the way through the first time so repeat this step, following the original cut line, until the blade goes all the way through the funnel. Hot tip: If you leave your plastic funnels in the sun for a while the plastic will soften and it will be just a bit easier to cut.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

3. Pry the funnel open and run the pendant cord inside of the plastic funnel.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

4. Spray the outside of the plastic funnel with cooking spray, or rub with vaseline. This step is really important— it keeps the paper and paste from sticking directly to the plastic so you can pop it off the mold once everything dries.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

5. Tear up a few sheets of newspaper, craft paper, or old wrapping paper. I read that random sized bits of paper would create a stronger sculpture when dried compared to using uniform strips. I tried both and didn't really see a difference.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

6. Dip the paper into the paste and use two fingers to scrape off the excess. Be sure to coat the paper on both sides, covering the entire surface.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

7. Place the paper on the plastic funnel, slightly overlapping each piece so the entire surface is covered. I used old vintage wrapping paper for the first layer and placed it on the funnel upside down so that when you peek into the inside of the pendant light, you would see the color and pattern, but you can use regular old newsprint or typing paper if thats all you've got.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

8. Once you've covered the entire funnel, let the first layer dry completely before adding another layer. Cover the bowl of paste with plastic wrap and save for later; if the water separates from the flour, just give it a good stir before using it on your next layer.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

9. Add up to four layers to your lamp, making sure each layer dries completely before adding the next.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

10. Once completely dry, remove the paper mâché lamp from the plastic funnel. As it dries, it should start to shrink a bit, and will naturally remove itself from the plastic funnel. Slide the paper lamp up just enough to get a good grip on the plastic funnel, open at the seam, and remove it from surrounding the pendant cord. Slide the paper lamp back into place over the socket. At this point you can trim your edges for a nice, uniform look, or keep them shaggy and uneven like I did!

If you are having a difficult time separating the two, grab the plastic funnel and try overlapping the seam where it was cut inside. As you bring the seam together, it will help break away the paper lamp from the plastic. As long as you spray your funnel well in the beginning you shouldn't have any trouble with the paper lamp sticking.

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

11. Add your light bulb and hang your pendant!

(Image credit: Ashley Poskin)

It's a good idea to never leave your paper lamp unattended. As with other paper lamps and various paper lighting fixtures, there is always the risk of fire. Please use brains and caution and proceed at your own risk.

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