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Broken glass lamp: Break it to make it

Waay way back in 2007 when I was younger, I was working as a carpenter fitting out a well known high street shop. We were fitting these display units that had this broken glass effect. Well, it was actually broken glass sandwiched under intact glass so customers wouldn’t cut themselves.

One day there was a beautiful young shop staff lady gazing at it in awe and amazement. I asked “oh no, did you break it?” she laughed. One thing led to another and not too long later she was my wife.

Anyway, I really liked the broken glass thing and thought I would use that one day. More recently, I found the LINDRANDE display box in IKEA and decided this was my time.

You can see the whole broken glass lamp project in video form here.

Materials required:
  • IKEA LINDRANDE
  • Approx 2 square meters of 100 micron window security film
  • Window/glass cleaner
  • Cloth
  • Soapy water in spray bottle
  • Small piece of scrap wood
Lindrande decoration box

LINDRANDE decoration box | IKEA.com

Tools required:

Here’s how I made my broken glass lamp

Firstly, you should unbox your LINDRANDE display box and admire it for the last time as it will never be the same again!

Remove and clean glass planes

Then you will need to remove all the pieces of glass. These are held in with little metal tabs which can be easily bent out with the long nose pliers.

There are two tabs at each end of the lid. And you only need to bend them at one end to remove the glass.

Same with the sides. Just bend out the two tabs at the top of the box and the glass can tilt away and out.

Broken glass lamp IKEA HACK


Related: Mirrored mosaic coffee table


With all the glass out you can give it a good clean with a glass or window cleaner to get rid of any finger prints or other marks. There are some small foam pads to support the glass and these left some adhesive residue on my glass so watch out for that.

Next, you can use each piece of glass as a template to cut out the window security film. This film is designed for security to hold the glass together when broken and make it more difficult for burglars to enter your home.

You will need two pieces of film for each piece of glass (one for each side of the glass). Be aware there are three different sizes of glass so keep each glass and its film together.

Give the glass another quick wipe to make sure it doesn’t have any dust particles which will be problematic for the next step.

Broken glass lamp IKEA HACK

Affix window security film

Now that we have a pile of glass and film we can stick it together. First, spray the glass with soapy water. Then, peel the protective backer from the film and place the film with the adhesive side to the wet glass. The soapy water allows you to adjust the position of the film. Then you can squeegee out the water and any air bubbles to stick it in the correct position.

Make sure to get as much of the water out as possible so that it dries out more quickly. Repeat for both sides of all the pieces of glass and then place separately in a warm dry place to fully dry out. A dish drying rack or toast rack would be perfect for this. It may take up to a week to fully dry. It is important that all the water is gone so that the film is fully stuck to the glass.

Broken glass lamp IKEA HACK

Drill opening for lamp socket

While the film is drying you can take the empty LINDRANDE frame and turn it upside down. Mark the centre of the base and drill with the 30mm drill. This is a standard size for a pendant light shade. Make sure it is well centred so that the light hangs straight, if it is off centre the light will sit at a funny angle.

Some time later when when the film is dry you start to replace it into the frame. Remember, there are three different sizes. The largest is for the lid and this can be set aside for now. If you replace it now it will get in the way.

The side pieces will be two long and two short pieces. Make sure you fit the long pieces first as the short pieces kind of fit in between them.

Fit the piece of glass (don’t forget to close those metal tabs) and then run a bead of hot melt glue all around it to seal it in position. Add each piece of glass, sealing it as you go and make sure each piece is fully glued as this will hold the edges together when broken.

Broken glass lamp IKEA HACK

Break the glass

Next is the fun part! Start breaking the glass!

Place a small piece of scrap wood onto a hard surface. And then, place the LINDRANDE onto the wood so that the wood supports the glass only. The glass needs to be flat onto the piece of wood, this will give better control of how the glass is broken.

Then with the empty lid closed you can reach inside and start hitting the glass.

I found a small pin hammer worked really well. Don’t use anything sharp as it may cut the film. You can get creative with breaking the glass and crack it in artistic ways. Just be careful not to turn the glass into powder as then the film will no longer stick and it will fall apart.

Broken glass lamp IKEA HACK

When you are happy with the sides you can glue in the lid piece and give it the same treatment.

Broken glass lamp IKEA HACK

Now the light can be fitted just like a normal lamp shade. Be aware that it is quite heavy so you may need a stronger pendant wire.

Lindrande broken glass lamp

Broken glass lamp – all done!

I am really happy with how mine turned out. I love the patterns it casts onto the wall and also the gradient cube shadow it casts onto the ceiling.

Broken glass lamp IKEA HACK

Some other creative options to consider:

I originally looked at SAMMANHANG display box for this project but it looked a little more awkward to disassemble. And I quite like the minimalist look of the LINDRANDE.

The SAMMANHANG does have toughened glass though which when broken would shatter the entire piece into small consistent particles giving a more clean refined look. You might also consider using frosted film or even coloured film for more creativity.

I hope you enjoyed my broken glass lamp project.

~ by Russ