IKEA Hack: Rubber Band Lamps

Earlier this year I bought a pair of GRÖNÖ lamps at the IKEA in Atlanta.  At the time they were only $14.99 for the pair, and I thought they’d be a nice accent on the top shelf of the built-in.

They are pretty neat, but the problem is that they’re just a plain frosted glass sitting on a white shelf.  So they were basically invisible.

I kept forgetting they were even there, so I would never turn them on.  And even with 40 watt bulbs, they were still a little too bright for “accent lights”, especially since they sit right above the TV.

I kept tossing around ideas in my head about how to jazz them up, but I couldn’t come up with anything I liked.  Until a few weeks ago, when I looked to Pinterest, the infinite source of inspiration.

I found this fun idea for spray painting vases after wrapping them with string or rubber bands. (Sources: #1 and #2)

This looks pretty sweet, right?  Plus it would help cut down on the brightness problem since much of the surface gets painted over.

I just grabbed a $.69 bag of rubber bands and randomly stretched them over each lamp.  Then I added a bit of painters tape around the rim and cord to keep things neat.

To avoid matchy-matchy, I got two different colors of spray paint (both Valspar from Lowes).  Navy blue satin finish for the taller one, and metallic silver for the shortie. The blues are a loose theme around the room, and I hoped that the silver metallic would look kind of quirky and eclectic with the big gold frame that shares the top shelf.

Two thin coats seemed to do the trick.  After an hour or two of dry time, I snipped off the rubber bands with scissors.  Yes, they went flying everywhere and scattered little flakes of spray paint.  But it looks good!

Lights off:

Lights on:

The effect is real nice.  Now they look interesting and different and modern, and I won’t forget that they’re there.  Plus they function as a much more practical light source now.

However, let’s just say that I’m glad they’re not at eye level.  Up on the top shelf they look great, but when you look up close there are a LOT of imperfections.

You see, spray paint is a very inexact tool.  It goes everywhere you let it go.  And with a not-perfect square shape, many of the rubber bands were not laying flush with the glass.  So the lines kind of disappear in the middle of each side (especially on the lil’ guy).  Plus the metallic paint seemed to flake off around the edges of some of the rubber bands.

This would be much less of a problem if you were working with a cylinder or a round vase or jar because you could get all of the rubber bands to lie perfectly flat.  Some of the tutorials suggested using yarn or string instead of rubber bands, but I’m still skeptical of that.  I feel like it would be hard to get the string/twine/yarn to be spun tight enough to get nice thick lines.

But all in all this was a fun, cheap, and quick technique that you could apply to any number of things.  Now let’s just hope that it’s safe to put spray paint this close to a compact fluorescent bulb…

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5 thoughts on “IKEA Hack: Rubber Band Lamps

  1. Pingback: Pinterest Fail: Rubber Band Spray Paint Vase | CraftFail

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