The following tutorial, originally written for my language hacking blog, ChineseHacks.com, shows you how to create an ambient lamp out of a box of Taiwan beer by cutting out the Chinese characters. You could use any type of box, though, and cut out a logo or a stencilled design, creating a lamp that suits your own taste.

What you'll need for this project:

A cardboard box (free) - My choice was a Taiwan Beer box, though you could use any brand, and if you can’t source a box with Chinese characters, then there’s nothing stopping you stencilling some on
A craft/utility knife
(about $2US) - You’ll need a decent knife to make a clean cut around the characters
A lamp (about $8US) - All I could find was a work lamp and just removed the weather shield
Corrugated plastic sheets ($2US each) - I bought an orange and yellow sheet, both are about 4mm thick, though 2mm would also be fine
Adhesive - I used a glue gun, but super glue or any plastic adhesive would be fine, too
Time - About 3 to 5 hours, it really depends on how long you spent cutting out the characters
Taiwan Beer -  or the beer of your choice, for drinking when you complete the lamp

Step 1: Cut out the characters

As I mentioned in the into, for this project I used a box with Chinese characters, though you could use any style of box and cut out a logo or make a shape of your own.

Using your craft knife carefully start to cut out the Chinese characters from the cardboard box.

I found the best way to do this was to first score the first layer of the cardboard, the steadily go over the lines applying further pressure to cut through the corrugated layer. This is why you need a sharp knife with a blade locking function – otherwise you’ll end up with a rough cut or damaged cardboard from applying too much pressure.

One of the problems I had to overcome, was that as some parts of the characters were complete blocks, and if they were cut out completely would just leave a big hole, like a silhouette of the character. To get around this I opted to leave a small strip to the right of each such section. So long as you chose a system and stick to it, the characters should look uniform and the legibility shouldn’t be affected.

Cutting out the characters takes a long time, so you’d better get comfy – just don’t drink the beers at this stage, though, as you’ll need all of your fingers for the rest of the project.
See, I knew someone would have done this so I could have an awesome example for my Jack Daniel box. Thank you for sharing.
It should be mentioned that this should only be done with flourescent and LED bulb types. An incandescent ("traditional") light bulb will simply get too hot and burn the cardboard box.

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