Introduction: How to Make a Lotus Lamp (or a Copycat Version of Ikea Knappa Lamp)

Picture of How to Make a Lotus Lamp (or a Copycat Version of Ikea Knappa Lamp)

Now let's go straight to the details, saw this gorgeous lamp in Ikea, seems easy enough to make one thyself. Plus it doesn't cost £17.99.

Hence investigation on the interweb... Lamp very popular on Apartment Therapy, found Ikea provides copies of their assembly instructions for download, and here it is for the said lamp:
Under 'K' - Knappa Pendant Lamp

Whilst, the template for the leaves and skeleton is there, not really much you can do, unless you draw one and experiment to get the right shape. See PDF grab below.

There's this nifty FREE program from eMachineShop - ver1.69 - Windows only

I don't use their services, but the program is a very easy to use CAD program. All the template files with extension EMS are to be opened with this program. Next step!

See end-result below for motivation

Step 1: Using the Template

Picture of Using the Template

Material you need:

1) Plastic file folder - choose a material that feels like 2 to 3 (max)  sheet of 80gm paper. The folder I've got cost only £1.50, felt like polypropylene. I've found white teflon sheets 30x20cm sold on-line, they have excellent temperature tolerance, if you use them, choose a thickness of 0.25mm ~ 0.5mm, as what I had measured on my plastic folder.

2) Pair of sturdy scissor, like fabric scissors. Use this to cut the plastic with template.

3) Double sided tape - Stick the print out on plastic, simply cut the trace, avoid tissue type these are hard to remove

4) Single core wire, roughly 1mm diameter should do fine. This to secure the leaf together.

The list of files:

knappa_ext.ems - This is the separator that hold the shape of the lamp, the way the leaf overlap and opens out like a lotus flower. There are 2 rings, one is 5cm, the other 7cm.You will only need 4 'rings' for 8 C-shape seperator in each case.

knappa_ext-x8.ems - This is the ring copied 8 times, limited to A4 size print outs, for your convenient.

knappa-leaf-small.ems - is sized for the 5cm ring, this is probably as small as you can make this. Any smaller you'll need hands the size of infants or Santa's elves or Foxconn employee.

knappa-leaf-small-x16 - Again fits A4 printout. You will need 40 of these leaf.

knappa-leaf-medium.ems - is sized for 7cm ring
knappa-leaf-medium-x9.ems - again for print out

- A4 PDF, is the ring for both sizing, you need 8 of these so make 2 copies
knappa-leaf-small-x16.pdf - is A4 PDF
knappa-leaf-medium-x9.pdf - is A4 PDF, if you are using letter size paper, remember to use 'shrink to fit' on your printer option

Irrespective, you want a bigger size, on the software, drag and select the entire drawing, from the menu, Line -> Transform -> select scale button to scale it up.

Next step - cutting it out and assembly

Step 2: Assembling

Picture of Assembling

As with the actual Ikea lamp, 5 leaf make up a single segment and there are 8 segments, hence 40 leaf.

The photo shows an assembly of 3 segments of the 7cm 'medium' version.

2 segments share a single C-shape separator (cut from the ring template). Each leaf overlaps.

e.g. Look at the close-up photo, first leaf, hole 1 and 2, second leaf, hole 3 and 4, third leaf hole 5 and 6, and so on.... Hole 2 and 3 overlapped, hole 4 and 5 overlapped and so on.... Tie these together with wire.

To finish tying all 8 segments is repetitive and straight forward.

Next step - finishing, difficult!

Step 3: Finishing

Picture of Finishing

The most difficult task is to string up the 8 segments together, basically the bigger the lamp, the easier it is to reach in and tie the wire. You simply have to secure the 1st and last (8th) segments together.

The 7cm version is just about the limit to stick your hands in, the 5cm version you might need pliers.

The photo below shows the 5cm version in daylight. With top view and bottom view.

7cm version lit with LED.

Step 4: Final Touch

Picture of Final Touch

If a base for the lamp is required, for the 7cm version, a cheap lamp base from Habitat is most suitable, but only use energy saving bulb,  7w golf ball type work great.

Unfortunately I had not taken a photo together with this base before packing it away for as present. (Update, finally got a photo with the Habitat base, the gunmetal colour one seems to be sold out.)

DO NOT use incandescent bulb, they generate too much heat!

For the 5cm version, I had made a LED lamp base.

The aluminium enclosure which double as the heat sink is from Maplin:

The 3W mains power LED driver is from Dealextreme:

There's an extra bit that hold the thing in place:
knappa snap hold fingers.ems - note this is size for 5cm, use scaling if you need a 7cm version, simply scale up by 140% (7/5 *100)


FeliciaBess (author)2013-05-21

what do i do with the circle cut outs after looking at the instructions im unsure i wish there was a photo that showed how they are used

ravenkan (author)2012-08-09

Thank you very much for giving me an inspiration on a birthday present for my gf! I put 3 RGB LEDs together with some electronics into it and the lamp turned out just outstanding.

Here's a vid showing how it looks:

Wow, pretty awesome, very sure your girlfriend would love it! Like Tau 005 also, what is it for?

Thecaterpillar (author)2011-11-26

How many of the links above do i need?

porksoda16 (author)2011-11-25

So this project require an e-machine?

elimasmx (author)2011-10-18

Oh my my... I promised the photo a long time ago... here it is!
It looks weird because the ceiling is sloped (:

Just as good as the real thing! Nice (^_^)

A reminder... I hope you are using energy saving bulb.

Bee Hive Lamp coming soonish...

bennett.schatz (author)2011-06-29

I NEED HELP WITH THE FILES FOR A APPLE COMPUTER...I can not open nor change the file extension. Not to mention there is no ems program to use for apple -at least that i could find...any help would be really appreciated!

Did I just replied to you?

Yes you did..Ill be hanging tight and cant wait for your artichoke!

The PDF copies are up....

elimasmx (author)2011-05-07

I just made one and in looks absolutely amazing! All my family loved it and I already have a lot of lamps to do D:
Thank you very much for sharing your archives and the instructions, I wouldn't even think about doing one if it wasn't for your instructable.
I'll post a picture tomorrow (:
Again, thanks!


nabau (author)2011-04-07

Congratulations really!!! excellent job.
thanks for sharing :))

verdastel (author)2010-12-21

Affordable, yet elegant and functional craft!
Thanks for sharing

ravijojla (author)2010-10-26

Amaising instructable! Thanks a bunch for sharing, way to go! Greetings from Serbia, have started making the lamp, will put up some photos how it turned out :)! Once again thanks! All thumbs up!

Glad you like it, do enjoy making one!

The thing is, cutting and making those holes for the 40 leafs might take some patience, but I like it so much that I made 2 of these. Assembly it and seeing it slowly take shape is very satisfying.

Ikea don't make these in any colour other than white, so....

Bought the material! I decided to make it out of those plastic sheets that are yoused for spiraling stuff in copy centres etc... They've had this nice choice of colors and different % of transparency...So I ended up bying milky white one with some rough surface that looks almost like a sand glass. Now I come to the question(s) and forgive me if I haven't been too attentive to the comments, was a 'bit' distracted by awsomness of the project ;) :
Are all pieces of the same size? and what did you use to drill the holes? Also, how did you copy the shape onto the plastic filefolders?Did you copy the shape through transparent sheets and if so what did you use for it? Also, I have really sharp pare of scissors but no matter what I do the edges keep being rough... scalpel is an issue because I can't make this nice round line with it... Any advice you can share on this?


I think the material you're refering, are those used for plastic cover page? Nice idea.

Anyhow, as long as they are not too thick, you should be able to cut it with a heavy duty scissors, I had a chunky heavy fabric scissors, essentially they don't 'slide' when you cut the plastic but maybe try kitchen scissor, probably too tough for paper craft scissors. Scapel is really too time consuming...

There are 2 sets of leaf, one has 16 on a page and the other has 9, they are meant for different size, x16 = 5cm ring, x9 = 7cm ring. I would suggest you print them out and experiment with a paper cut out first.

Once you have them printed as 'actual size' from the eMachine program, together with the 'ring', hold the paper against a lamp, you should be able to simply overlay the leaf, and see the holes on the leaf matches up.

What I had done is to use bits of double sided tape, stick the paper onto the plastic and cut the trace, it is that straightforward. Choose the right tape, they can be ugly to remove, especially tissue type, I tried them, ended up using cooking oil to 'dissolve' and scrape them off.

Once that leaves are cut out, you can stack them and drill the hole, many birds one stone, so they say. Do this while you have at least one leaf with the paper template stuck on. I use the excellent Dremel Stylus 1100, but any small drill will do, those for printed circuit board will do fine, just don't be too greedy with the number in the stack.

Don't give up just yet, will be around to answer your Q.

finfan7 (author)2010-10-19

Your ems files are all downloading as tmp files. What's goin on?

Hi, I read the PDF, you have to rename the extension from tmp to ems. Tell me if you have any problem opening them there after.

Hi, beautiful instructable! I am hoping to make these for my wedding, but the files are downloading as .tmp files for me as well, and I tried renaming them to no avail... any suggestions? Thanks!


I am using Windows XP.

Once downloaded, try 'Right-Clicking' the file, select properties...

This will open up a new window. On the tab that shows general, you will see the file name with the extension, within the text box on top, simply rename it from .TMP to .EMS

Tell me if it works.

No luck...what program should it open with? I am using Windows Vista.

Hello People? You would not be able to make this without reading through the instructable in entirety, please....

There's this nifty FREE program from eMachineShop - ver1.69 - Windows only

I don't use their services, but the program is a very easy to use CAD program. All the template files with extension EMS are to be opened with this program. Next step!

Thanks, that did it. Nice work on the ible.

2ndopinion (author)2010-10-25

What program can I use to open the file extension "ems"? Thanks

jovino (author)2010-10-24

You got permission to use Ikea's intellectual property within the introduction of this insructable, right? :)

How do you know if Ikea has any IP rights on this lamp at all? Ikea are adapt at copying too...

Allow me, see this:

Tell me how many similar design can you find on Ikea past and present catalogue?


and... Vate table lamp - Now selling.

That's how and why the fashion industry work so well, creatively. While I can't copy that famous Louis Vuitton monogram pattern, any one can certainly imitate the design aesthetic of their bag.

Total bollocks to say they own the design, I have been told this and those similar 'tessellation lamp' has been around since the 70s, and as fad come and goes and get recycled....

"Be nice" ? I just get a little bit angry when the scum of the earth, the IP police shows up. Send me the lawyer letter.

Actually, I was referring to their printed guide not to the lamp design itself.

I'm not the scum of the earth IP layer people that you hate, I'm only a fellow community member attempting to reach out to you to give you a heads up that those people *might* ask you to take down those particular images.

So yeah. Chill.

emmakrazy (author)2010-10-24

I love it and it will make a beautiful addition to the living room lighting! thanks!

chakra (author)2010-10-24

looks brilliant!! may be i will try a pink & purple plastic sheets to make it look more lotus-ish... pink ones are considered as sacred offering to God by hindus!!
ah... i can imagine my mom smiling ear to ear already!!! ;-)

itgasht (author)2010-10-23

oh cool ! Thanks for share it.

You're welcome. Really like the idea that someone from Tehran had seen my instructable! Guess Ikea hasn't expanded to Iran, not a bad thing really....

ChrysN (author)2010-10-19

Nice, I couldn't even find a knappa lamp at the Canadian Ikea website now we can make our own.

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