The beginner’s guide to friendship lamps

German scientist Alexander Fleming made the first device resembling what is known as a friendship lamp in 1928. His attempts to recreate luminous paint failed but left him with an exciting phenomenon of glowing plastic.

Years later, during World War II, the Americans started producing their versions for things such as aeroplane canopies and even goggles for firefighters so they could see better at night. They were also used in some areas of medical care to speed up checkups on patients who were unable to sit through normal lighting conditions. After that, they fell out of fashion for a while until about twenty years ago when interest started picking up again due to kitschy style decorations gaining popularity among young people.

The beginner’s guide to friendship lamps, Zazzy Home

The overall campy style of today’s friendship lamps has been around for a few decades now though the mainstream didn’t immediately embrace it. It was first popularized in Japan before gaining popularity elsewhere in Asia and eventually reaching Europe, where it became widespread. It took a while after that for them to become noticed in America, but now they’re an increasingly common sight almost anywhere there are people with money to spend on decorations.

Why are friendship lamps considered kitschy?

The term kitsch is an art concept meaning something that looks tacky or cheaply made. This case refers to a specific style of lamp characterized by overly simplistic designs and bright colors.

They’re not meant to be taken seriously in the artistic sense. Instead, they serve as conversation pieces for people who want a little bit more exciting decoration than a regular table lamp. It’s also important to note that many friendship lamps have been craftily designed with light covers so they’ll actually filter out at least some of the color from the bulb inside before emitting it outward.

This helps maintain a level of classiness despite their literal colorful appearance, which tends to look childish compared to other types of décor.

Nowadays, people even purchase these lamps to use as unique props in their photography and filmmaking.

How do friendship lamps work?

A friendship lamp is a lamp that uses ultraviolet (UV) light to cause white plastic to fluoresce. They also contain phosphorus, which absorbs energy in the form of ultraviolet radiation and emits visible light in response. The white plastic inside the lamps absorbs energy from the UV bulb, causing it to glow in different colors.

Friendship lamps are small battery-powered devices that have an unseen light bulb inside of them. While there are various designs for how the friendship lamp is supposed to look, most follow a few simple guidelines, so they emit light correctly. First, you have your outer shell that contains nothing or something like water to reflect the colored glow from within.

On top of that, it has what could be called a body, with its primary purpose being to keep everything secure and not let any of the parts slip out during movement. The actual lighting mechanism tends to be close to the ground, with many having shapes similar to eggs or eggs standing on their broad sides. Finally, there’s the decorative aspect that will vary between manufacturers but tends to be the central part that people choose to buy a friendship lamp in the first place.

What’s so great about friendship lamps?

Friendship lamps are fun and lively decorations that aren’t particularly expensive. They’re easy to find and can be set up almost anywhere inside or outside of a home, depending on the type you get.

Since they’re designed for indoors and outdoors, it doesn’t matter much if you live where it snows (or rains) since they’ll still hold up okay under those conditions. On top of all that, there are plenty of variants out there that make them highly versatile beyond their normal function as simple lamps. Some companies make designs such as animal heads, anime characters, cars, and many other things.

One of the most common complaints by people who don’t like them is that they’re essentially tacky lights that remind them too much of things you find in amusement parks. Some may also feel that they’re not attractive enough to be considered décor, which can quickly turn some people away from them out of hand.

Even so, there are ways to make your lamps look more professional than others or even classier if you understand what you’re getting into before deciding to buy one.

Approximately how much do friendship lamps cost?

Friendship lamps typically go for between $20 and $80 depending on where you shop and if any special deals are running at the time. However, many stores in major cities tend to be pricier than their counterparts in the boonies because there’s less competition in smaller markets combined with higher demand and more considerable overhead costs.

What should you look for when buying a friendship lamp?

To get started, you’ll need to decide if you want an indoor or outdoor model before moving forward. While many people use them both inside and out, some lamps are better suited for one environment over the other, depending on how they’re designed.

Indoor models usually feature darker colors such as black (or dark brown), so they won’t distract viewers from the light source inside, while outdoors lights will have lighter colors like blue or green to stand out against any shade of sky visible above them at night. Some companies even make lamps with stars or other sky-themed features for this reason, but they tend to be pricier than more simplistic designs.

It would help if you also thought about the size of your lamp since it doesn’t make much sense to buy a small model for an outdoor light or vice versa. Larger models are generally better suited for use outdoors, where smaller ones will look better inside.

One thing you need to pay attention to is how durable any particular lamp is before buying it. Even though they’re inexpensive, friendship lamps aren’t exactly the most durable pieces of décor out there that can take even limited abuse without breaking down after a while.

As such, it’s important to read customer reviews and find anything with good feedback before choosing one once you’ve settled on a final product.

Another factor to consider is the materials used to build them. For example, some lamps are made of plastic while others may use glass coverings instead, which not only look nicer but will also last longer against impacts from kids and pets who might play around them while your back is turned.

Of course, it’s not always possible to get a lamp that doesn’t have any plastic, but you could always find one with very little if that’s what you prefer.

What are the most common types of friendship lamps?

While there aren’t too many different types from a broad perspective, it’s still good to have a basic idea of all available options before settling on one particular lamp just in case you want something with a little more versatility than usual.

One example is a model where a small figurine or accessory can be placed inside instead of just being empty, which offers an additional feature to look at. At the same time, they’re turned off for those who find them interesting, even when not lit up. Someone may choose these items as gifts with their appearance in mind, and their functionality once plugged into the wall and switched on using the corresponding switch located somewhere near the cord along its side.

These items tend to be a little more expensive than other lamps but are also sturdier and made from better materials, so they should last even longer under normal conditions. Consider this option if you have the money to spare and want something that can pull double duty as both a decoration for your home or garden while providing extra light through the night.

What are the benefits of friendship lamps?

Many people have been worried lately about being exposed to blue light from their electronic devices for too long. It’s a valid concern because a lot of research has pointed out that this type of light can be harmful to your health if you look at it too much or for extended periods. The same is true for LED lighting, which is becoming more popular in hospitals, schools, and standard home settings. As a result, there’s been an increasing demand for alternatives that not only look better but also aren’t damaging to one’s eyesight or circadian rhythm, leading to friendship lamps rapidly gaining popularity among those who want decor that doesn’t come with the possible downsides that LEDs and electronic devices can bring.

What happens when friendship lamps go bad?

While these lamps may be gaining in popularity, it’s always possible that some will end up having issues, such as one or more of the LED lights inside of them drying out prematurely. This is almost inevitable if they’re used for an extended period and daily, so it isn’t recommended to purchase this type of lamp expecting them to last forever without any problems occurring along the way. Even if they work great initially, there’s no guarantee that this state of affairs will continue for long before specific components start wearing out and need to be replaced. If you’re looking for something more durable, it might be best to find those that use halogen or incandescent lighting instead.

What are the main drawbacks of friendship lamps?

As mentioned previously, there’s always a chance that one or more of the LED lights inside of these lamps will burn out, which means they will need to be replaced to function correctly again. However, they do have an advantage in that the vast majority of them use LEDs. You shouldn’t have any problems finding replacements for most models since they’re made by many different companies and are generally interchangeable. This also makes it much simpler to get rid of your lamp because all you need is some scissors or another cutting tool to separate it into pieces after removing all its bulbs.

How do I keep my friendship lamp looking good?

The leading cause of most damage or problems with friendship lamps is usually accidental impacts or breakage of any glass coverings over the light inside due to poor handling on someone’s part where more minor children are involved.

Even though many lamps have plastic covering over them instead, there’s always the possibility that they could be broken if dropped or roughly handled without any precautions being taken by someone grabbing them along the way.

To avoid this from happening to you, it’s usually a good idea to place your lamps on harder surfaces where people are less likely to bump into them by accident. Another option is to put moisture-absorbing packets inside so any spilled liquids will soak up before getting too close to the lamp itself, which can cause severe damage.

Lastly, consider using digital timers on lamps with glass covers since they’re better protected compared to others that don’t have anything covering them at all. These items are often used for Christmas lights and even some indoor models that aren’t designed for use outdoors for various reasons.

What are the different types of friendship lamps?

There are two main types of friendship lamps, each featuring its own design variations and uses. The first type is for decoration only, containing no light source even though it looks like it would hold a standard lampshade or bulb. These designs can vary from looking like regular table lamps to having birdcage shapes with long metal bars in the center where you might expect some shade to be if it did anything besides sit there. The second type typically has some falling water effect that serves as what little decor they contain, usually along with an actual light source hidden on the bottom so you can use them on tables without losing your view of whatever’s underneath.

What is the difference between regular and LED friendship lamps?

Friendship lamps that use regular light bulbs (the type you would find inside any other kind of table lamp) release more heat than those with long-lasting LEDs since LEDs do not give off much heat at all.

This makes them an ideal choice for areas where people will be spending time or if they need to be moved around or transported between rooms for whatever reason. In addition, even though LED lamps are more expensive, there’s less risk of people getting burned by touching them even when they’re turned on and surrounded by hot water vapor.

What are some of the common uses for friendship lamps?

Friendship lamps can be used as either functional or purely decorative items depending on what type you buy and where you intend to put them. For example, if someone had an outdoor patio they wanted to be illuminated at night, then a basic decoration-only model would be a great choice since it wouldn’t require any special wiring and could sit on a table with no fear of falling over during high winds. Likewise, one that has water effects inside it could double as a small aquarium, saving space while still being visually attractive compared to standard fish tanks. The same goes for using one as an actual lamp with a light cover.


Claire is a blogger, writer, and designer with a passion for making the most out of any space. She's worked in interior design and maintenance for over a decade, and has learned how to make the most of even the smallest room. Claire shares her expertise, where she offers tips and tricks for creating beautiful, functional spaces on any budget. When she's not blogging or designing, Claire enjoys spending time with her family and friends.

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