MHL Upcycle: Transforming the 6-Ring Beer Can Holder into a Lamp Shade

If you watched the movie, “Happy Feet”, you might remember this guy…

The movie didn’t exactly tickle my soles, but I do remember this penguin because of its unusual neck wear.  An unfortunate piece of jewelry no creature on earth would want to have around its neck, and not for aesthetic reasons.  Obviously, it’s uncomfortable and, the longer one wears it, painful.

That was a cartoon character.  And though I felt sad for him and his predicament, this creature below is real.

This is how far man has come.  There was a time when he hunted and dragged his prize home.  Now, he goes to the grocery store, hooks his finger under a 6-ring beer can holder, puts it in a rolling cart, drags the cart to his car, and brings his beverage home.  Man’s come a long way, baby.

Back in the Philippines, we didn’t have a lot of packaging-trash issues.  I can’t explain why.  We shop and eat probably as much as Americans do but consumer products back home are packaged simply.  One can say that it’s the manufacturer’s way of saving a peso, but I say it’s a sound decision for the environment.  Here, many products we buy are packaged as if they were volatile experiments safely contained inside plastic within plastic.  Corporations are so afraid of getting bad reviews or, worse, sued for selling contaminated or defective products that they’ll package the hell out of them.  They put little “Please Recycle” or “Please Reuse” signs on their packaging to relieve their conscience.  But, really, who reuses the ziplock bags food come in? I used to.  In the Philippines, buying something with a ziplock on it’s packaging is like getting a bonus product.  My mom and I would reuse the bag until it disintegrated.  But here, even when I did reuse them, when the time came for us to buy another pack of its product, we’d reluctantly get another ziplock bag in the process.  After a couple of months living here, I must have had a cupboard full of totally reusable recyclables but I couldn’t keep up with the deluge of plastic.  It’s like a never-ending cycle.  We had no choice but to trust our garbage collector that they really do recycle everything we give them in our bins.

The 6-ring beer can holder, or let’s call it 6-rBCH, it’s one of those recyclable plastic things that I never discarded.  I have “Happy Feet” to thank for that.  But also, I found them to be quite interesting, design-wise.  I knew I could upcycle – or transform – them into something useful and unexpected, but I wasn’t sure what.

Then last July we moved and we were fixing our home.  I needed a lampshade for my kitchen but I didn’t want to buy one.  I told Bronne I’d make one out of my collection of 6-rBCHs.

And here it is.

I sewed them together with little stitches and designed it so two layers of the 6-rBCHs would create a new pattern from their overlapping holes.

Bronne wanted me to add something inside to cover the bulb, and I experimented with tulle and Japanese paper, but I really liked the light and airy feeling the original design gave.  Though the bulb is a bit exposed, the double layer of plastic mutes the intensity of its light. 

I’m quite proud of this design and I’m thinking of other projects to do using the 6-rBCHs.  I’m happy to be doing my part in keeping these things off landfills while having created something that I like looking at as well.

Do you have design ideas for the 6-rBCH?

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6 thoughts on “MHL Upcycle: Transforming the 6-Ring Beer Can Holder into a Lamp Shade

  1. alifeofsummer says:

    hey ms. A, you can also stitch them up as a divider / screen. the pattern would be cool. You can just hang it from the ceiling through hooks and anchor them at the floor. Just a thought though. I’m not great at sewing or stitching like you. 🙂

    • Yes! I thought of that but had no use for it at our house. We did, however, need a lampshade so that’s what I made. I might make blinds for my window, though. It would be nice during the summer when the sunshine is stronger. It will keep the harsh light out and keep things private, but will let a lot of nice light in. 🙂

  2. The picture of the turtle just makes me mad. I mean really, how hard is it to pick up after yourself?!
    On a much happier note….I love the creativity of your lampshade! Good job! As far as other design ideas…what about a curtain for a window that needs a little privacy, but not a total cover-up? Just thinkin’……

    • Hello there!

      You know, before we bought our blinds for the windows, I thought of making a curtain from the beer can holders but I didn’t have enough for all the windows in our living room (and I wanted it to be uniformed). I also thought that, though the plastic would really help tone down the summer sun, there must be some other way for me to make the most of the strength these plastic holders offer. They’re perfect for making shapes. But a curtain would be a really funky idea if you’ve got modern furniture and decor in your house. 🙂 Another idea, though this would need a lot, is a room divider. heehee

      Thanks for dropping by my blog! 🙂

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