Introduction: Cardboard Table Lamp

Picture of 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:

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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!

Picture of 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! :)


Christian Reese (author)2015-05-11

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

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!

nevadavic (author)2014-11-30

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!

lindarose92 (author)nevadavic2014-12-01

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

sandhyam (author)2014-11-03

sundarigari naveen (author)2014-09-26


Thank you!! :)

theconstructor (author)2014-09-15

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 :)

Oh ok thanks!

sugianto liu made it! (author)2014-09-15

Just made it last Saturday with my 3rd years old daughter. It's a
fun project to do. But instead of thick corrugated cardboard, I use
styrofoam which wasted around in my office, and white LED lamp.

The light effect is reduce, but my daughter love it !!!!

lindarose92 (author)sugianto liu2014-09-16

Oh it's great! and I'm so glad you had fun with your daughter!
Did you paint the styrofoam or was it already black? I always wish I could use styrofoam for some projects but I have none at the moment...I really like that material and it must be easier to cut so I must try it too sooner or later! :)

sugianto liu (author)lindarose922014-09-16

Its already black. And yes, much much easier to cut. I hope you can try it soon too !

Iris23 (author)2014-09-10

Awesome lamp. I need to ponder ways to convince my kitties that this would not be a scratcher for them!

lindarose92 (author)Iris232014-09-10

lol I suggest you to make this for your kitties: :D

Thank you! :)

Iris23 (author)lindarose922014-09-15

I'm gathering cardboard to try and make this for my kitties Christmas present. Thank-you so much for the idea!

lindarose92 (author)Iris232014-09-15

Great! Please post a picture of your cat bed here when you are done (if you can), I'd love to see it! :)
Have fun!!

watchmeflyy (author)2014-09-13

Creative and gorgeous as usual!

lindarose92 (author)watchmeflyy2014-09-13

Thank you so much!

agusprihatono (author)2014-09-12

I like this for my gues room, thank for your ide

Thanks! Please post a picture of your version here if you make it, I would love to see it :)

rocker2031 (author)2014-09-11

Great idea!

lindarose92 (author)rocker20312014-09-12

Thanks! :)

shazni (author)2014-09-10

Linda....ah...Lovely as usual!

The prizes for these contests are amazing I'm drooling looking at them! haha.

Voted :-)

I'm going to try one more entry, hope I have enough time to get votes.

lindarose92 (author)shazni2014-09-11

Same here haha :D Can't wait to see what you come up with! Thank you so much Shazni! :)

Siddharth Jain (author)2014-09-09

You managed to cut a three layered cardboard, with just a cutter, and with such perfection! Hail your patience!
And such a nice looking lamp!
Voted! :D

Thank you so much! :) I tried to cut that same thick cardboard with a jigsaw once, but the cut was ruined by it, it wasn't as clean and accurate as it is with a it's definitely worth the time, patience and effort :D

PeckLauros (author)2014-09-09

So simple, easy and beautiful! Voted.

lindarose92 (author)PeckLauros2014-09-10

Thanks a lot!! :)

Tarun Upadhyaya (author)2014-09-09

Voted in all 3 Linda Ji :)

Oh thank you Tarun Ji! :)

Passion Make (author)2014-09-09

Looks amazing! I love the effects it has created.

lindarose92 (author)Passion Make2014-09-10

Thanks so much!! :)

BIVS2000 (author)2014-09-09

I have seen fellow woodworkers make a version of this, but I really like yours for relative simplicity, low cost of materials and just how cool it looks with the light shining through all of the cracks and crevices. Well done! I voted.

lindarose92 (author)BIVS20002014-09-10

Thank you so much! I'm glad you like it :)

fbio (author)2014-09-09

Bella li Linda! Ottima da realizzare (e anche semplice) insieme a miei figli!

Good Job!

lindarose92 (author)fbio2014-09-09

Grazie mille Fabio!! :) Mi raccomando, posta la foto qui se la fate, sono curiosissima di vederla! :D

fbio (author)lindarose922014-09-10

Ma certo cara Linda!! Non vedo l'ora :)

Cairdy Crafts (author)2014-09-09

This is such a simple but stunning little LED lamp! I love the use of corrugated card (triple ply is really quite strong!) and the way the gaps in the cardboard walls scatters the light looks brilliant :) Great job!

Thank you very much!! :) That kind of cardboard is my favorite one, it's really strong!

spylock (author)2014-09-09

Wild looking,great job.

lindarose92 (author)spylock2014-09-09

Thanks! :)

M.C. Langer (author)2014-09-09

This is awesome, Linda! I love it!

lindarose92 (author)M.C. Langer2014-09-09

Thank you so much Mario!

MicioGatta (author)2014-09-08

Bella, Linda! Che pazienza che hai col cartone ondulato!

lindarose92 (author)MicioGatta2014-09-09

Grazie mille!! Come avrai capito, adoro il cartone ondulato :D

MicioGatta (author)lindarose922014-09-09

Ma lo compri apposta o lo ricicli dalle scatole? Io faccio Arte nella mia 5^ quest'anno, se ti andasse di venire a fare un laboratorio (gratuito....) con la mia classe, saresti la benvenuta! Temo che abitiamo un po' lontane, però....

lindarose92 (author)MicioGatta2014-09-09

In effetti è un po' troppo lontano, però ti ringrazio per l'invito! :) Comunque prendi pure spunto dai miei progetti per le tue lezioni se vuoi, anzi, sarei onorata se ne facessi uno con la tua classe!
Il cartone che uso io è sempre tutto riciclato. Compro raramente materiali per le mie creazioni, figurati il cartone :D Quello che ho usato per questa lampada è davvero bello e resistente. L'ha trovato un amico vicino al bidone di una fabbrica...sono belli grandi e non ci sono sempre quindi ne ha approfittato e me li ha portati! :)

Tarun Upadhyaya (author)2014-09-08

This is super neat work Linda :). And lovely photographs. Thank you for featuring me in your ible.

I'm so glad you like it :) Thank you Tarun!

About This Instructable




Bio: I love creating. I love ART in all its forms. I am a daughter of the 50s, born in 1992. I had the pleasure to ... More »
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