This is one awesome DIY project – an amazing lamp shade made from soda top tabs. You will need a lot of these soda top tabs but the finished project looks awesome and cool. This is very nice to display in your room or in your house’s general living space.
Remove the tab from the can by bending it back and forth until the metal fatigues and breaks.
If you want to estimate the number of tabs you'll need beforehand, here are a couple of rules of thumb:
For each row of mail, including the top and bottom hoops, you will need 4.857 tabs for every inch of shade diameter.
The top and bottom wire hoops, wrapped with tabs, add about 1/4" of height apiece.
Each row between the top and bottom hoops adds 1/2" inch of height.
Grab the tab across the short dimension with a pair of pliers, and use your thumb to bend it down about 20 degrees, as shown.
Tabs that will go in the top and bottom rows should be bent, but not cut (at least, not yet). So bend enough tabs for two rows of mail and set them aside before picking up your side-cutters.
Unplug the lamp, remove the bulb if one is present, and install the top lampshade hoop on the lamp.
Update: I use a pair of jeweler's pliers with a custom 3D-printed insert to bend each tab to exactly the same angle, which greatly improves the appearance of the finished mail. More details here.
Start with an uncut tab bent as in Step 2.
Set the tab on the top wire hoop, aligning the hoop with the bend. Apply finger pressure to continue the bend to about 90 degrees.
Insert a small flatblade screwdriver through both openings in the tab and apply leverage, as shown, to wrap the tab tightly around the wire hoop.
Check to see that the bent tab is secured to the hoop and will not "lift" off. Pinch troublesome tabs with needlenose pliers to secure them.
Continue adding tabs around the circumference of the top hoop, as shown in the previous step, until it is covered all the way 'round.
To accommodate the spokes attaching the hoop to its hub, remove an adjacent tab that has already been formed around the wire, and cut the finger loop so the spoke can be passed through it as shown.
Do not attempt to just work around the spokes by butting tabs close against them on either side. These tabs will be too far apart.
Set aside one row's worth of bent tabs. These will be used later to form the bottom hoop clips, and should not be cut yet.
Snip the remaining tabs, as shown, using a pair of side-cutters.
Continue adding tabs, as shown in the previous step, until you've completed the first row.
Keep adding rows until the shade is almost as tall as you want it to be.
The last row requires a bit of special treatment, so when you feel like you only need one more row of mail (not counting the bottom hoop), stop and proceed to the next step.
Remember that the bottom hoop will add about 1/4" to the height of the shade.
Tabs in the last row (again, not including the tabs that will be wrapped around the bottom hoop) have to be trimmed a bit, as shown.
Use your side cutters to make two cuts, one from each edge of the tab, about 1/8" up from the end, as shown.
Proceed to install the trimmed tabs in the last row of mail, as shown.
Proceeding as in steps 3 and 4, wrap the bottom hoop in uncut tabs to form "clips" that will link it to the mail above.
Once formed, remove the clips from the bottom hoop and, using your fingers, open each one to an angle of about 45 degrees.
Snip each tab with side cutters so that it can be incorporated into the mail.
Work the bottom hoop clips into the mail as usual; slip the cut loop of each clip through two adjacent tabs in the bottom row.
Insert the bottom shade hoop into the open clip, as shown.
Use strong finger pressure to close the clip around the hoop.
As before, make sure the hoop cannot "lift" out of the clip, and use pliers to secure troublesome clips.
Work all the way around the bottom hoop, installing clips as shown in the previous step.
Install the bulb and test the lamp.