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Make an Alien Abduction Lamp

30 March 2009 589,807 views 86 Comments

by heather

This is an entry in the Living With Lindsay Five Dollar Challenge! The challenge was to make a home decor item for $5 or less. My project is inspired by Lasse Klein's conceptual Alien Abduction Lamp. The lamps are still being developed and are not available for sale yet.* (update 2010: oh yes, the lamp is now available). I thought it would be fun to make one for my own personal use out of materials I found at the dollar store.

When I was shopping for materials, I couldn't find any toy cowshere are some cows for you (a cow has to be the one being messed with by the aliens, right?), so I bought a plastic "Noah's Ark" set that contained a pig (although there were only one of each animal in the set, so I hardly see how that qualifies as a Noah's Ark set!) After everything was done, I found a farm seta set something like this that had a cow in it at Target's dollar spot, so I had to get it to make the lamp perfect!

Project Materials:

  • Large-lipped bowl, $1
  • Smaller bowl, $.25 (mine was marked down)
  • Acrylic drinking glass, $1
  • Touch light, $1
  • Package of farm animals, $1
  • 3 Aliens I happened to find in the coin-op machines on the way out, $.75

Total cost: $5

You will also need, from on hand:

  • Glue (E6000 recommended, but hot glue will probably work)
  • Cutting implements to cut hole in one bowl and the top of the glass, such as a Dremel, drill, or tin snips (we used the latter two--a pain)
  • Batteries to operate the light
  • Paint (we used black spray paint and silver craft acrylic, if you don't have them, cost less than $3 for both)

To make:

1. Dismantle touch light so it will fit inside larger bowl, facing down. You will either discard all the white parts, or you might need to trim the plastic rim down so the smaller bowl will fit snugly on top of everything.

2. Cut a hole in the larger bowl about the size of the bottom of the acrylic glass. We used a drill and tin snips because we don't have a Dremel, and it was kind of a mess. Hopefully you have better tools!

3. Cut a hole in the bottom of the acrylic glass.

4. Put the acrylic glass upside down on the table, put the large bowl right side up on top of the glass to test for fit. You won't want to glue them together now because when it's all set up nicely, you'll paint the bowls flying saucer color.

5. Put the touch light face down into the larger bowl.

6. Place smaller bowl on top of everything, face down.

7. How does it look? If good, then paint the bowls black and/or silver.

8. When everything's painted, glue the appropriate parts together. Leave the top bowl unglued so you can turn the lamp on and off, and change batteries when needed.

9. Set it up and enjoy!

Here's the lamp in the daytime.

*It goes without saying that I made this for personal use and am giving instructions on how I made mine only for your personal use. Please don't make copies to sell--that's bad! It's unethical to rip off independent designers, and it's not great to rip off mass-market designers for selling purposes, either! Be original in your Etsy shop!


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  • amy said:

    Such a cute idea!! LOVE it!!

  • Dawn said:

    I love this idea! Thanks for sharing. I finally tried it and love how it turned out. Here’s a blog post about it: http://notjustmacaroniart.blogspot.com/2011/01/alien-abduction-lamp.html

  • UFO Dollarstore Lamp – Erin's Blog of Everyday Happenings said:

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  • Janis said:

    Awesome. The cow is what does it, you know. WAY better than a police car.

  • Ursula said:


  • Crystal said:

    That is so cool my little brother would love that! I will make that for him for his birthday!THANKS FOR THE IDEA!

  • Per Olav Hofstad said:

    Very nice! :-) Art dont need to cost much.
    Want to show you my lamp to. Made with a IKEA flower glass vase, green doormat, uplight lamp, reflector from a lamp, bottom from a sealing lamp, LED-light from IKEA, Aliens made of cernit, cow from a toy store. a lens, etc..

  • CraziestGadgets.com said:

    DIY Alien Abduction Lamp…

    We covered an Alien Abduction Lamp back in the ’00′s (that “aughts” thing never really caught on, eh?) but not everyone wants to shell out $179 at Amazon for a lamp like this. So now we’ve found a DIY version that you can …

  • Jessica said:

    OMG!!! That is amazing! I’m doing my daughter’s room in cows, and was wanting to find a lamp but I came across this and I have to do this for her room lol. It is just sooo neat. Thank you.

  • She’s Crafty: Heather of Dollar Store Crafts Is Redefining DIY Blogging said:

    […] of her most popular posts – the Alien Abduction Lamp – has over 300,000 views with more linking to it all the time. She didn’t come up with the […]

  • She’s Crafty: Heather of DSC Is Redefining Craft Blogging said:

    […] of her most popular posts – the Alien Abduction Lamp – has over 300,000 views with more linking to it all the time. She didn’t come up with the […]

  • Kevin - DIY Dork said:

    This IS a cool idea! …and I know just the person who would like to make one of these. He’s gonna love it!

  • Shannon said:

    I will DEFINITELY be making this soon….it’s awesome :)

  • sandy said:

    Only thing I’d change is I’d tie a fish line around the cow and pull the cow up and down so it’s getting kidnapped by the UFO.

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  • Alien Abduction Lamp DIY said:

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  • Childlike Fascination said:

    Alien Abduction Lamp…

    What kid wouldn’t love an alien abduction lamp on their bed side table.  There’s some electrical work to be done by moms & dads but overall it’s a great kid project.  Now you just have to push them towards some sort of alien book or science proj…

  • Patrick said:

    This was an Awesome tutorial. I had seen the original lamp MANY times and wanted one but couldn’t justify paying almost $100.

    Instead of using a touch light I rigged an old lamp fixture up with a nightlight. Used the same idea of the bowls, plastic cup, etc. etc. Only this way I can choose to turn it on and off without having to remove the bowls. 3 Tiny screws hold the bowls in place so I can change the bulb at a later date (to any color too!). Used plastic apoxy to hold the UFO at a slant.


    I’m still looking for the cow, but bowl, plastic glass, aliens, the grass pad, and paint ran me less that $7. The lamp fixture was on hand but runs about $10 at a hardware store.

    Pic for lit up here

    I’m thinking about cutting holes in the top and trying to find something to give it some green windows, but that will have to be at a later time.

    (As I’m typing this) I just received a request to make a much larger one with salad bowls and large flower vase as beam, and a normal light bulb as well. If I decide to make this I will post pics as well.

  • Dollar Store Crafts » Blog Archive » Top 10 Dollar Store Crafts Posts of 2011 said:

    […] As last year's number one post, it's no surprise that this project is still wildly popular.  It's another of Heather's awesome creations and it's gotten linky love from all corners of the web.  Will it be just as well-loved in 2012? [read the post] […]

  • Krystal said:

    OKAY. I wasnt looking for anything like this But now I MUST make it! Thank you!! Im gonna head out today and get myself all the materials! Maybe for a matching set =)

  • Lia said:

    This is amazing, thank you so much! I’m very excited to make it for myself! Happy new year!

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  • Terri said:

    I’ve got an added idea, if someone wants to spend a little more money: buy an electric cord [or use an old one from a lamp], take a strand of old christmas lights, use approximately 10-11(?) of them, drill spaceship designs into the bowls, top or bottom, or around it, drill a slightly larger hole in the bottom upright bowl to feed the cord thru; put the christmas bulbs thru the drilled holes, dab of hot glue to hold in place, put a white or yellow light poking out the bottom (or green), electrical tape one end of christmas lights (to keep from getting shocked), then on the other end of the christmas lights, twist each wire strand to the electric cord, electrical tape each, and for safety put a wire tie around them, pull in the cord and your spaceship comes alive with different lights ~ coming to the get the cow….of course drill holes, paint bowls, wire up, hot glue, etc….what do you think of that idea?

  • Alien abduction lamp « Hands off my hem gauge said:

    […] DIY and craft ideas you might also enjoy. In the meantime, make this lamp for yourself from this tutorial. Share this:TwitterFacebookStumbleUponLike this:LikeBe the first to like this […]

  • Terri said:

    Someone was looking for cows, Michaels Arts & Crafts Stores has cows if you can’t find one @ a Dollar Tree.

  • Tutorials Flies When You`re Having Fun « You Must Be This Tall To Craft said:

    […] super cheap lamp based on this slightly more awesome lamp that is not super cheap. It is the Alien Abduction Lamp. The creation of the tutorial for the replica lamp was actually because of a contest. The contest […]

  • spinndiva said:

    OMG! Hysterical!!!! I need to make one for my husband! Thanks so much for sharing your brilliance!

  • Joe said:

    Brilliant, I can’t see how I am not going to have to make one of these [looks for dremel tool I know it’s around here somewhere]

  • Caren said:

    I just thought I would share the lamp I made for my son. Thanks for the inspiration. http://mom22evs.blogspot.com/2012/05/just-wanted-to-share-my-latest-creation.html Take a look and let me know what you think.

  • » It’s Extraterrestrial Abductions Day! » Life in the Lost World said:

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  • Annette said:

    this is will be in my cubicle at work on Monday morning!!!!! love it! Thanks for sharing!

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