Perhaps no material in the artist’s arsenal is as essential as 3M’s ScotchBlue Painter’s Tape. Used to create clean edges when painting and to hold architecture students’ models together, the tape is near ubiquitous in creative practices.
When Design Milk challenged New York-based designer Dino Sanchez to make something out of the tape, his recent interest in lighting led him toward the idea of fashioning a lamp out of the blue sticky stuff. The designer began by testing the performance of the tape but found that he could make the material structural only with taxing amounts of effort. He then moved on to using wooden dowels for the frame of the lamp, each piece connected with the blue tape. He then wrapped the tape around the frame to fashion a lamp shade before adding the finishing touch: a light bulb. Sanchez was so pleased with the end-product that he decided to make another one.
The result is beautiful; a strong striated pattern created by the overlapping tape adds subtle imperfections and variances thicknesses and translucence that animate the deceptively simple piece. The tape also does a wonderful job of filtering the bulb’s strong electric glow, radiating a gentle blueness into the surrounding space.
The best part? You can make one too! The project screams DIY and seems easy enough to replicate at home, especially since the materials are easy to find. A word of caution, though: back in architecture school, when we were young and foolish (this past spring), we attempted a tape lamp—the best word to describe the results would probably be “squingey.”