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Tuesday May 3, 2011

How to make your own tetralamp

THE spherical lampshade consists of hexagons and pentagons – made up strips of drink cartons twisted into triangular shapes – which are linked together. By varying the number of hexagonal repeats width-wise or length-wise, you can create any number of lamp variations.

Making a hexagon

1. Start off by unfolding your empty drink cartons and cleaning them. Cut along the line at the top and bottom of the box and discard these strips. Then, cut along the natural creases visible in the unfolded carton. You should end up with four “main” strips measuring 2.1cmx13cm and four “tie” strips measuring 1.8cmX13cm.

2. Fold each “main” strip into six squares. Then, following the creases of the squares, shape the strip into a triangle. You can use another piece of strip as a guide to make the first square.

3. After you have made two triangles, take one “tie” strip and thread the two triangles together.

4. Snip off the ends, leaving just enough of the strip to fold back into the 2.1cm width.

5 & 6. Fold the strip neatly into the triangle.

7. Repeat the steps until you have six triangles linked together to form a hexagon. Continue making the hexagon until you have about 108 (to make a lampshade similar in size to Ed Chew’s).

Making a pentagon

To create a sphere, you will need 12 pentagons to close the structure. These will need to be slightly smaller so that they fit into the sphere. The process of making a pentagon is similar to making a hexagon, except that the strips should measure 1.5cmx13cm.

The triangles used to make a pentagon however must be non-equitaleral, with two sides being 1.8cm in length, and the third being 2.1cm.

To make the non-equilateral triangle, make creases for the squares at lengths of 2.1cm, 1.8m, 1.8cm, 2.1cm, 1.8cm, 1.8cm.

A completed pentagon. You will need 12 of these to create a sphere. (Note: The hexagon triangle is equilateral with all sides measuring 2.1cm in length.)

Creating a sphere

To create a sphere, link the hexagons and pentagons, using the 1.8cm “tie” strips in the way you thread together two triangles.

This is how to position the pentagons when creating your sphere. Notice that there are four triangles in between each pentagon. A bigger or smaller sphere can be created by varying this number.

An almost completed tetralamp.

Cylindrical lampshade

If you want a cyclindrical shade, you just need to know how many hexagons you want along the width and length. A long length and short width will give you a nice, wide shade for the table or to hang from the ceiling, whereas changing the ratio to a smaller number of hexagons width-wise, with more length-wise, will give you a nice floor lamp.

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