This first week of September, instead of fixating on the imminent end to summer and all things lush and green, let’s try to remember that fall actually brings some exciting beginnings: a new school year, political elections, an opportunity to make smart choices in our energy consumption as the days get shorter and the temperature drops.

Actually… now that we think about it, these things don’t seem quite as fun as long vacation days spent with friends and family. So, to ease the blow (sorry about that), why don’t we check out some fun ways to incorporate efficient lighting technologies into our home decor?

(Photo:; via

(Photo:; via

Below are some of the coolest-looking (and least tacky) DIY craft lighting projects we found, and some of the most “responsible”—the ones that specifically involve recycling common household garbage. With the help of LEDs—which, unlike incandescent bulbs, don’t produce heat in the form of infared radiation and therefore won’t melt the “trash” that surrounds them—we can dig out of our bins and make use of the leftovers from our summer barbeques, including plastic spoons, cups, and straws, among many other things.

At the links we’ve provided, you’ll find actual instructions, not just pretty pictures—although the author of the article on how to make a PVC pipe lamp doesn’t go into great detail as to how one would sculpt the design that’s featured.

  1. Plastic spoon lamp (Stylish Eve)
    Design by Yaroslav Olenev, constructed mainly from recycled plastic spoons.
  2. Sparkleball (
    Instructions by Sparkleball Lady (who’s got a great story on her website), constructed mainly from recycled plastic cups.
  3. Plastic bag pendant light (the 3 R’s blog)
    Design by Allison Patrick (inspired by Mark Montano’s Starburst straw lamp), constructed mainly from recycled plastic shopping bags.
  4. The Bidon lamp (R3project)
    Design by the R3 project, constructed mainly from recycled translucent HDPE plastic containers.
  5. PVC pipe lamp (bob vila)
    Photo source, constructed mainly from recycled PVC pipe.

Jacy Everett
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