Picture of Japanese lamp from recycled materials
A cheap but attractive paper "shoji" style lamp that uses mostly recycled parts and is easy to put together.

DISCLAIMER 1: The overall design (and possibly the whole idea) of this lamp was influenced by atarax's shoji lamp Instructable. The motif on the side was influenced by Nick Falzone's superb Sangaku and Yuugou case mods. I did not steal either of their ideas.

DISCLAIMER 2: This is probably one of the safer non-computer Instructables I've written. However, hot glue is hot, scissors are pointy, bamboo can give nasty splinters and this Instructable involves wiring a mains lightbulb socket. If you are unsure of how to do that safely, I disclaim all responsibility for electrical mishaps.

DISCLAIMER 3: Yes, I got the parts images from Google image search because I built this thing before taking the photos, and couldn't be bothered taking photos of a light socket and corrugated cardboard. If I am using your image and you would rather I didn't, let me know and I'll replace it with one of my own.

Step 1: Materials

You will need the following.

  • Glue gun
  • Craft knives
  • Scissors
  • Diagonal/wire cutters or nail clippers


  • Strong corrugated cardboard, preferably 2-layer
  • Paper- I used regular lined paper but if you wanted to be fancy you could used textured craft paper or tracing paper
  • Bamboo/wooden chopsticks or kebab skewers
  • Straight batten lightbulb socket
  • Plug
  • A couple of metres of flex (2-core or 3-core is ok)
  • (optional) Inline switch
  • Lightbulb- I use an 11W CFL, I'm not happy about the idea of an incandescent bulb in a box made of paper
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sonisimi4 months ago

Thanks for sharing

prosper584 years ago
Thanks for the great instructable. I made one, but i came out pretty bad :P I sort of screwed up after gluing the paper, so i improvised by tracing the bamboo skewers with electrical tape. At least it looks kinda cool in the dark. I'm not done yet, but i'll go ahead and take some pics.

Hi prosper58 10 points for motivation & effort BUT, yes there is a Big BUTT

I recommend fitting a 200 watt lamp to your effort & recording the result on time laps.

Looking VERY forward to your NEXT attempt.



Spray water mist on tissue paper and it will stretch as it dries!
But be careful! Just moisten the paper!



for an example!
jetamkadlec made it!7 months ago
Awesome!! I've just made my own one an it's amazing :) Thanks fo this great instructable
RyanFitz5 years ago
Thanks For the idea, I kinda took the idea and ran with it. I made a night light lamp for my nephew. his favorite characters are the ones i put on there. used bass wood and acrylic paint with some super glue. and bought a bag of 99cent letters for the front. was having a hard time finding sockets at my local hardware stores so i just used what i could find. there's a night light light bulb that is 7.5watts to give the entire picture a nice glow without being to bright and the bulb is never too hot to touch or hot enough to burn paper. i added a cable with an on off switch for easy off switch total cost was pretty cheap. turned out pretty decent.
2010-05-22 21.06.11.jpg
marcEmarc RyanFitz11 months ago

Hi Ryan, I just came across the project you did for your nephew for years ago and I really love it. If you get this message, could you tell me what kind of paper you used with all of the cartoon characters? I really love this idea and would love to try it out with other characters. Thank you. Hope this message finds you.

Thats an awesome idea! Great job man
iram m1 year ago

i want to make this lamp in a hut shape,is it possible?

Jerry E made it!1 year ago

Nice idea for a project! I tried it (quickly) to see if it would make a nice enclosure for a multicolor LED bulb. I like the effect, so I think I will keep refining the lamp.

blackweb1 year ago
I wonder if this would work with leftover wallpaper....will have to try.
nageeK2 years ago
Thank you so much PKM for this incredible idea, as many other have said it has inspired me to make several of these. Below you can see a version of my latest one.

The second picture depicts an "interior skeleton" if you will to help strengthen the lamp. I found that, when moving from one apartment to another, it was a very delicate item to transfer, so I sought to improve its structural integrity.
Here is the giant floor lamp I made my mom for Mother's Day. She loved it! The panels are constructed similarly to the ible, with ripped wood, tissue paper, and a whole lot of hot glue. Spray-painted the wood black before attaching the tissue paper. Inside we ran two long wooden dowels which we attached by a piece of sheet metal across the top of the lamp, and into our wooden base. (Drill a couple tight holes in each, shove the dowels in, and hot glue like you mean it). Before securing the dowels inside though, we configured three CFLs on the dowels. Similar method- we secured the base of the light socket to the sheet metal which we slid over the wooden dowels. Probably the most pain in the butt parts of the project were tidying up strings of hot glue, and accidentally ripping the tissue paper in construction. Repairs were pretty easy though. Oh, and we put one panel on by hinges, and secured with a hook-and-eye latch. This way the bulbs can easily be changed. Turns on and off with a wheel click switch on the cord.
Beautiful! You have inspired me to make this my first summer project of 2012. Can you post detailed instructions though?
I am a novice at this, so I'd need the help to get it right. Thanks!
Mariana89193 years ago
wow i like all the designs that everyone made.
Amravan4 years ago

This is my rare lamp
Awwww!!! this one is sooooooo cute!!!! ^_^ it looks so adorable
lol it looks like its a poor little lamp
AWWW!! SO CUTE! i want it lol
d1ndian Amravan4 years ago
Wow that turned out awesome! Love your blue walls!
n looks cool with that shade of blue
thats really cool, love the style.
velorna3 years ago
I love it and i will try it
colorex3 years ago
You're awesome! You inspired a huge bunch of people!
pikru4 years ago
Big thanks to the OP, it's great to see how many people had a try with the project. Mine was made with bamboo sticks, chopsticks and baking paper. I kept the pattern connections all over the lamp. Glows much brighter than in the picture.
buzhik4 years ago
This one was my second variation of the lamp idea.
Could you give me some instructions and/or list of materials used to make mine look like yours? I love your design.
Sorry, didn't see your comment earlier... In case you are still interested in making this lamp here's what I've used:
-7 plywood squares (bought pre-cut from Michael's; check pieces against one another to make sure they are identical in size and completely flat)
-craft paper (also from Michael's). The paper I used was sold in a roll. It was a little bit hard to glue because it was thicker than rice paper; but not impossible.
-thin dowels for accents
-light socket
-spay paint

I glued all pieces together. It took time because I could only glue a couple of pieces at a time and wait till it dries.
Thanks! I'll post when I get the time to get the parts and make this!
Near24 buzhik4 years ago
That lamp is simply stunning! Marvelous work! What did you use for the paper?
buzhik Near244 years ago
Thank you for checking out my design :) I used a roll of craft paper from Michael's. Also, I've posted additional details about the project in the comment below.
The Bulldog4 years ago
Ill try to make something a lamp like this with LED's I'll post the result here :P
Here is what I came up with. Made my a hanging lamp and left the bottom open for more light.
shoji lamp.jpg
Here is a new one with a better design
I like this pattern much more than the one on the instructibles, its more eligent.
Thanks for the idea on how to hide my ugly kitchen light fixture!
hunnybaby5 years ago
awesome build! it inspired me to attempt my own. I bought tin foil to line the bottom of my lamp to reflect more light AND also going to use parchment paper (high heat baking paper) as the paper liner because parchment paper can with stand temps of 400 deg Fahrenheit!! So, if I chose to use an incandecent bulb there would be less risk of fire (fingers crossed). Thanks for the awesome idea! You saved me close to $100 on lamps for my new house! :) :) :)
I love the parchment paper idea but is it flurescent?
I tried to use the parchment paper, but because its used for cooking and "non-stick" I couldn't get the hot glue to stick to attach the paper. :(
I ended up using a CFL (spiral) bulb for low/no heat for the light source and regular roll of white paper for the lantern walls.
Thanks, it is realy great!
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