One morning while getting coffee in the kitchen at work, I happened to glance into the trashcan. A stack of six-pack rings sat neatly on the trash heap.
It’s such a waste they get thrown out after being used just once to keep soda cans together. The plastic has an interesting shape. It’s pliable and translucent. I figured out a simple way to highlight the six-pack rings attributes and lift them to a wonderful new use.
I found inspiration in Harri Koskinen’s Block Lamp. A simple block of solid glass encases a light bulb. It looks like the light is suspended in ice. A stack of six-pack rings could do the same. That was an OK idea, but I wanted to push it further using all the attributes of six-pack rings.
Bear with me. I’m about to get a little nerdy and mathematical! Six-pack rings are flat planes. A simple extrusion of a plane creates a block, but revolving a plane would make a more interesting volume. George Nelson’s iconic Bubble Lamps are the inspiration for this point. I love the clean, simple and sophisticated volumes. This is just the approach we need to give more dimension to six-pack rings. Let’s make it better!
- 4 wire ties
- 1 large plastic take-out container lid (diameter ~10″)
- 1 aluminum soda can
- 60 six-pack rings
60 is only a recommended number. You can use less. I suggest at least 40 to start. The shape won’t be as full and dense, but you can easily add the remaining 20 when you get them.
- 1 X-Acto knife
- 1 pointed permanent marker
- 1 pendant light kit
- 1 LED light bulb
- Dremel tool with small drill bit
- 2 clothes pins or binder clips
- 1 coffee mug
- Position the socket of the pendant light in the middle the of the plastic lid.
- Using the marker, trace the socket of the pendant light.
- Repeat steps 1 and 2 with the coffee mug.
- Draw four evenly spaced 3/8″ wide spokes with the ruler.
- Using the X-Acto knife cut the out the center circle for the socket opening and the space between the spokes, leaving the rim of the lid intact.
- Cut the rim in the middle between each spoke.
- Between each spoke, overlap one side of the rim 1″ on top of the other and snap into place.
- Using the Dremel tool, drill two holes, in from each side of the 1″ overlap.
- Unsnap the rim.
- Take one six-pack ring and fold it in half widthwise, making sure the concave surface of the ring is inside the fold.
- String the folded six-pack ring onto the rim by insert the rim through the small holes on the open side of the six-pack ring.
- Clamp a binder clip or clothes pin rims to prevent the six-pack rings from sliding off.
- Snap each the rim back together.
- Strip the paper or plastic covering off the wire tie.
- Pass the wire through the holes in the rims and twist to close.
- Repeat steps 11-15 for the remaining 3 sections.
- Using the X-Acto knife cut the bottom and top off the can.
- Carefully fold the aluminum sheet in half. Use the scissor handles to help press down the crease.
- Fold it in the opposite direction to snap the sheet into to separate pieces.
- Repeat steps 12 and 13 to all aluminum pieces until you end up with wide strips.
- Fold and snap the each strip in half. The resulting strip will be around 1 3/4″ long.
- Make a hook on one end of each strip.
- Rotate the six-pack rings, alternating the direction the fold to point up towards the socket opening or to point down away from the socket opening. You will end up with 30 six-packs rotated with the folds on top and the other half rotated downwards.
- The top six-pack rings has a ring of loops surrounding the socket opening. Flip all the loops down and back toward the towards the center of the pendant light.
- Wrap an aluminum strip around all adjacent sides of the loops.
- Repeat step 26 for the inside of loops on the bottom.
- Insert the pendant light socket and screw in the LED light bulb.
Let there be light! You’ve successfully coupled six-pack rings with Modern sophistication. Hang it in a space you think could use a bit of contemporary cool!
- Nowadays six-pack rings are made of photodegradable plastic. Don’t hang your pendant light in front of a window. Keep it away from direct sunlight.
- Since the six-pack rings are plastic, don’t hang your pendant light near a heater, fireplace, or heat vent. You don’t want it to start melting.
- Always use LED light bulbs. They give off less heat, so they won’t melt your pendant light. I use Philips AmbientLEDs that I buy from Home Depot. They are dimmable and give off nice warm light. LED light bulbs are also energy efficient and last for years. You’ll save money.