Conductive Paint Liquidity Lamps

Craft & Design Furniture & Lighting Technology
Conductive Paint Liquidity Lamps

liquidity1 small

Irish designer Patrick Stevenson-Keating made these innovative lamps using Bare Conductive‘s nontoxic electrically conductive Bare Paint suspended in oil for the 2012 Milan Furniture Fair. Tilting the lamps so that the Bare Paint makes contact between the two electrodes extending from the bulb turns the lamp on. To turn the bulb off, you just rotate or tilt the lamps until the paint is no longer making contact.

From the artist’s site:

Liquidity is a new set of imaginative, exploratory table lamps marrying the modern material technology of conductive ink with hand blown glassware.

Inspired by the potential of BARE conductive ink, and curious to explore an alternative use for this new material, I aimed to exploit its properties in its crude liquid form.

The fluid nature of the ink creates a wonderfully playful and subtly charming interaction, whereby tilting the lamps makes/breaks the circuit as the ink flows between the metal contacts. This is a true visual representation of basic electronics at work, as well as being a beautiful piece in its own right.

Every element of the Liquidity project has been carefully handcrafted. After coating the inside of the glass with a hydrophobic solution, transparent oil is added to act as an insulating substance. A measure of liquid conductive ink is then inserted, forming the switch contact. The oil allows the ink to remain liquid, and ensures the ink stays in its globular form.

The bulb holder had to be hand made from custom rubber bungs, allowing standard ES screw type bulbs to be used.


liquidity3 small

Bare Conductive had a great booth at Maker Faire Bay Area last year, leading hands-on activities featuring their products, like making light-up greeting cards. They’ll be back again this year, May 18 and 19, in the Startup Zone in Expo Hall. Looking forward to seeing what they have in store. Check out the tutorials page on their site to see how-tos of projects you can make with Bare Conductive. Also, scope their community page to check out how others have creatively used Bare Conductive.

4 thoughts on “Conductive Paint Liquidity Lamps

  1. Patrick Stevenson-Keating says:

    Hi, thanks for featuring my work on the MAKE blog! But one small correction – I am actually from Northern Ireland not Scotland. I studied in Dundee, Scotland, but am not originally from there.

    1. Goli Mohammadi says:

      Sorry about that Patrick! I’ll fix it now. Cheers on a wonderful project!

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I'm a word nerd who loves to geek out on how emerging technology affects the lexicon. I was an editor on the first 40 volumes of MAKE, and I love shining light on the incredible makers in our community. In particular, covering art is my passion — after all, art is the first thing most of us ever made. When not fawning over perfect word choices, I can be found on the nearest mountain, looking for untouched powder fields and ideal alpine lakes.

Contact me at or via @snowgoli.

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