Monday, October 10, 2011

Coffee Filter Pendant Tutorial

As promised in this post, here is how I created my coffee filter pendant light.


  • Paper Lantern
  • Coffee Filters*
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • Eraser-less Pencil or Wooden Dowel Rod**
  • Favorite movie, series, book on tape, or radio station***

*Buy about twice as many as you think you need. The 18" lantern above took about 1000 coffee filters!
**For the purpose of this tutorial, I will only be referring to a pencil.
***Making one of these can take a while (depending on how big your lantern is), so do yourself a favor and don't skip this one!

Step 1: Warm up your hot glue gun while you turn on your favorite listening media and assemble your lantern.

Step 2: Grab your pencil or dowel rod and stick it in the middle of a filter. (I usually hold the filter in the palm of one hand and place the pencil with the other, but I needed a hand free to take the picture.)

Step 3: Fold the filter over the pencil and loosely hold in place as shown below. Put a dot of hot glue on the filter over the end of the pencil. 

Step 4: Stick the glued end on the lantern and hold in place using the pencil. Count to 12-30, until the glue has cooled, then pull or twist the pencil off. Sometimes you need to stick your other hand (the hand that's not holding the pencil) inside the filter and put a finger on the back side of the gluing spot to make sure you get good adhesion. (I hope that made sense.)

Step 5: Get comfortable and just keep gluing. I like to work around, following the spiral of the bamboo supports, to keep my spacing even. And speaking of spacing, space the filters 1"-2" apart. There are five reasons to do this. 1) The light will be able to shine through the finished shade easier, 2) it will need fewer filters, 3) it will be easier to keep adding filters (they push against each other as you continue to add more), 4) it will go a lot faster, and 5) because of number 4, you will hate yourself if you don't. Since we're all about loving ourselves here, do yourself a favor and space the filters loosely. Also, stagger them from row to row to achieve a more even look.

As you continue to add filters, the gaps will fill in and it will look great. Here's what mine looked like after about twenty minutes.

This is what it looks like after Lion King and Lion King 2: Simba's Pride.

We're making progress, ladies and gents!