Cardboard Table Lamp

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Introduction: Cardboard Table Lamp

This cardboard lamp is a remix of my dowel lamp and Tarun Upadhyaya's cardboard pendant lamp.

The reason why I made this lamp is that I wanted to make a bigger version of my dowel lamp. I really loved the light effect but the dowels I made it with were short and the lamp turned out small too.
For this reason I decided to create one using thick corrugated cardboard, and the first thing that came to my mind was Tarun's lamp. My cardboard lamp is composed of squares instead of pentagons, but the structure is quite similar.

What I loved the most about this cardboard lamp is that it's relatively fast to create (it can be made in an afternoon!), it creates an amazing light effect, and it's completely upcycled and eco-friendly.

Please vote for it in contests if you like it, and don't forget to tell me what you think about it! :)

You can find this lamp for sale here!

Step 1: Materials and Tools:

  • thick corrugated cardboard - as you can see in the picture above, I used the 3 layers kind. It's about 1,5cm thick (0.59 inches)
  • cutter or x-acto knife
  • white glue or hot glue
  • ruler
  • pencil
  • lightbulb socket with cable
  • LED light bulb - there won't be any fire hazard this way!

Step 2: Cut the Cardboard Strips

Draw 64 strips on cardboard using a pencil and ruler.
All the strips need to be 1,5 x 18cm (0.59 x 7 inches).

This way you'll obtain a lamp that is 27,5cm large (10.82 inches). You can even make them longer or shorter, as long as they are all the same size.

You also need to draw 4 smaller strips to make the small square on top of the lamp. These strips are 1,5 x 12,5cm (0.59 x 4.92 inches).

Cut all of them using a cutter.

This is the longest step. It takes a little bit of patience and strength, but you'll do it! ;)

Step 3: Compose the Squares

Now you need to put together 4 strips of cardboard to create a square.

As you can see from the pictures, I started gluing one end of a strip with the side of another, forming a right angle. Glue the pieces together using white glue (or hot glue, if you prefer).

Make another right angle with other 2 strips.
Join them with the other 2 ones to obtain a square.

Do this with all of your strips, including the 4 small ones.

Let the glue dry.

At the end of this step you'll have 16 big squared frames and a small one.

Make a hole on one of the strips. The hole should take about 2 layers of cardboard, as you can see in the picture above.
The frame with that strip will be placed at the bottom of the lamp, so that the cable will pass through it.

Step 4: Prepare the Base

The base will be a simple cardboard square with a hole in the middle for the lightbulb socket.

So cut a square out of cardboard that is 16,5 x 16,5cm (6.49 x 6.49 inches).

Draw the round outline of your bulb socket in the middle of the square and cut it out.
You can make a round hole if you want, but I decided to cut a square instead, because it would have been easier to cut. The cardboard is really thick so cutting a small round shape with a cutter can be tricky.
The squared hole is fine, as long as it is as large as the bulb socket.

Apply more glue on the sides of the cardboard piece and insert it into one of the frames that you composed in the previous step.

Step 5: Compose the Lamp

Glue a cardboard square on top of the first one (the one with the hole), making sure that the angles of the first one match with the sides of the other, and vice versa. Try to center them as much as possible.

Please look at the photos to understand what I mean.

Now glue the base on top of the second frame, always with each other's sides matching the angles. This way it will be placed just like the first frame.

Add the rest of the big frames on top, gluing them following the same pattern.
Make sure to always look at the previous frames as reference for the next ones.

When you have finally added all of the big frames, glue the small one on top, with its angles on the big one's sides.

Let everything dry.

Step 6: Turn on the Lamp!

Install the bulb socket in the base letting the cable pass through the first frame's hole, and put a LED light bulb as well.

You can finally turn on your cardboard lamp now and admire the beautiful light effect!

Did you like it? If so, please vote for it! Thanks! :)

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53 Comments

This lovely idea really inspired my to make a lamp shade of my own. Instead of following your tutorial however, I decided to make my own design. I still think yours is way better though. This is what my lamp shade looks like.

For anyone interested you can see how I did my batman lamp shade here

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It looks great! I'm so glad my lamp inspired you :) I personally love cutting patterns like you did and the light effect is very nice!

Looks great and this sample allows for different geometrical shapes. Plus I want to add little spacers at each layer to alter the light pattern. Thanks!

It sounds great! Please share a picture of it when you are done, I'd love to see it! :)

I'm not sure if you mentioned it, but where did you get the LED light bulb? Also, great instructible!

Thank you! I got mine at the hobby store, but I live in Italy and I noticed that they are sold almost everywhere now...they can be found in regular supermarkets as well! Oh, and of course you can find them on the internet too :)