How To Make a Six-pack Ring Pendant Light


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.


Supplies

  • 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

  • scissors

  • ruler

  • 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


The diameter of the large plastic take-out container lid is about 10″.

If you don’t drink a lot of canned drinks, visit your local convenience store, grocer, or drugstore and ask the stock person for six-pack rings. You can also ask friends and family to collect six-pack rings for you.




Instructions

  1. Position the socket of the pendant light in the middle of the plastic lid.

  2. Using the marker, trace the socket of the pendant light.

  3. Repeat steps 1 and 2 with the coffee mug.

  4. Draw four evenly spaced 3/8″ wide spokes with the ruler.

  5. Using the X-Acto knife cut out the center circle for the socket opening and the space between the spokes, leaving the rim of the lid intact.

  6. Cut the rim in the middle between each spoke.

  7. Between each spoke, overlap one side of the rim 1″ on top of the other and snap into place.

  8. Using the Dremel tool, drill two holes, from each side of the 1″ overlap.

  9. Unsnap the rim.

  10. Take one six-pack ring and fold it in half widthwise, making sure the concave surface of the ring is inside the fold.

  11. String the folded six-pack ring onto the rim by inserting the rim through the small holes on the open side of the six-pack ring.

  12. Clamp a binder clip or clothespin rims to prevent the six-pack rings from sliding off.

  13. Snap each the rim back together.

  14. Strip the paper or plastic covering off the wire tie.

  15. Pass the wire through the holes in the rims and twist to close.

  16. Repeat steps 11-15 for the remaining 3 sections.

  17. Using the X-Acto knife cut the bottom and top off the can.

  18. Carefully fold the aluminum sheet in half. Use the scissor handles to help press down the crease.

  19. Fold it in the opposite direction to snap the sheet into separate pieces.

  20. Repeat steps 12 and 13 to all aluminum pieces until you end up with wide strips.

  21. Fold and snap each strip in half. The resulting strip will be around 1 3/4″ long.

  22. Make a hook on one end of each strip.

  23. Rotate the six-pack rings, alternating the direction of 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.

  24. The top six-pack rings have a ring of loops surrounding the socket opening. Flip all the loops down and back toward the center of the pendant light.

  25. Wrap an aluminum strip around all adjacent sides of the loops.

  26. Repeat step 26 for the inside loops on the bottom.

  27. 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!


Useful tips

  • 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 a nice warm light. LED light bulbs are also energy efficient and last for years. You’ll save money.