Vintage Colander Lamp Shade


September 10, 2013 by magpiemenina

It’s raining today. I was going to work outside in the garden and put up a new perch for the chickens, but instead I’ll share a month-old project with you! (I guess you could say I was saving it for a rainy day…hahaha…okay, well, not that funny…)

When we moved in to our humble abode, there was a very nice, currently styled, white, semi-opaque lamp shade covering one of two light fixtures in the kitchen. (Are they lamp shades if they are upside down? I can’t think of a different word at the moment.) All was well until I opened the cabinet above the refrigerator, which promptly clunked into the lamp shade. The door could not be fully opened, and I was vaguely disturbed by the idea of the shade breaking and shattering all over the floor. Incidentally, I don’t use the cupboard for anything but the storage of rarely-used items, but Mew enjoys hiding up there for hours on end (his ascent is facilitated by the calendar/catch-all/cookbook bookshelf next the the fridge).

I didn't have a picture showing the shade when it was still in place, so I took one holding it up with the cabinet door open to give you an idea of the issue.

I didn’t have a picture showing the shade when it was still in place, so I took one holding it up with the cabinet door open to provide an idea of the issue.

I took the shade down, thinking that I would find another one. Thus, we enjoyed for many weeks the harsh glare of the bare bulbs.

Bare Bulbs

Finally, since my kitchen is decked out with vintage kitchen tools (for use and as visual delight), I found a style-compliant solution in the form of an old aluminum colander.

The View from Below

Vintage Colander Lamp Shade


1 vintage colander, round, with a rim, preferably aluminum

Ice pick, awl, or other dangerously pointy tool

6+ inches of small, metal, closed s-hook chain, cut into three equal lengths

3 small, white cup hooks

A riveter and 3 rivets (or 3 machine screws with corresponding nuts)

To Make:

Measure along the rim of the colander, or eye it up, and punch three holes from the underside to the top of the rim, at equal distances apart. Put a rivet or a screw through the first loop on one part of the chain, then up through the hole in the rim. Affix with either riveter or nut. Repeat for the other two holes.

Attaching the Chain

Measure around the light fixture. Place three marks at equal distance around the fixture. Make certain that you will not be puncturing anything bearing electricity at those points, and screw in the cup hooks. Hook the chains onto the cup hooks. Ta-da!

Colander lamp shade with the cabinet door open for comparison.

Colander lamp shade with the cabinet door open for comparison.

Glowing Colander Lamp

This would probably look very nice in a colander with a star pattern. However, once I decide I’m going to do something, I become quite impatient. With the circular pattern, the colander was reminiscent of a WWI gas mask in some way. To fix this, I bought a (new) tea ball (the aluminum kind with sparse holes, not a mesh one). I threaded a piece of wire from the center bottom hole in the bottom of the tea ball (you won’t need the top) up through the colander, twisting both ends to secure. Now the colander looks less like a gas mask and a bit fancier.

I’m quite pleased. The cabinet door can now swing freely. I would recommend, though, that you not pursue a similar project if the light you seek to cover is your main source of illumination, as the colander has a somewhat dimming effect (great for mood-lighting or non-abrasive light, especially in the evening).


2 thoughts on “Vintage Colander Lamp Shade

  1. Oh that is such a great idea! Very cool.

  2. magpiemenina says:

    Thank you! I’m enjoying your birdcage suggestions and look forward to exploring your blog further!

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