Introduction: Bamboo Lamp (from Cardboard)

Today my girlfriend and I will make a bamboo-like lamp using cardboard tubes and boxes. The tubes and boxes were acquired from my girlfriend's place of work and are stiff cardboard used in shipping pallets, however there is no reason this build can’t be made using regular paper tissue rolls, although you will have to scale it down to size.

Step 1: You Will Need

  • Cardboard rolls and cardboard boxes
  • Water based paint and brush
  • String
  • Lamp socket (E27 or E14, depending on the size you make) and lamp
  • Cable, cable clamps, wall plug and switch(optional)
  • Hot glue gun, small flat screwdriver and box cutter

Step 2: Cutting and Painting the Cardboard

Begin by cutting down the rolls to the desired length. The ones we used here were about 80cm and were cut down in half into pieces of 40cm. If you are using paper towel rolls that are about 20cm each, there’s obviously no need to cut them down, and you might want to use an E14 lamp since it will be smaller in size. You will also need one or two cardboard boxes to serve as a base for the lamp socket.

Mix the water paint you will use, and begin applying coats to all the pieces. You might need to apply at least 2-3 coats depending on the rolls and how much paint they absorb. After applying the base paint, go over with a darker color and paint the details if you wish. Let them dry and move into step 3.

Step 3: Make the Base for the Lamp

You will need to make the base for the lamp. Trace out the shape of the lamp socket and cut the box accordingly. The one we used had two clips on the side, so we had to make holes to push it through the box and then clip it back on. Don't forget to make holes for the wire to run through.Yours might have a screw on top piece, so make sure to find the least destructive way to mount the socket into the box. We used another box as a protoype to find the best way to mount the socket, while the boxes we would use were drying, but that is obviously not necessary. Run the amount of wire you want through the box, and connect the wall plug, and switch if you opted for one. This would be a great time to check all your wiring to make sure it works before continuing.

Step 4: Final Assembly

Place the lamp base at the center and begin placing the "bamboo" rolls around it, trying to figure out the best placement. Once you're satisfied with their placement, grab your hot glue gun(not pictured, but you should know what it looks like, right?) and begin gluing one piece at a time, on the base of the lamp. This is where having two boxes really helped mount the rolls better. Make sure to let each one glue well before proceeding. After placing all of the rolls, you can wrap some string around it to make the light diffuse a little better, and to give it the look of wrapped up bamboo sticks.

Nothing else to do besides place the lamp in a quiet corner of the house and admire it. This is a fun and quick project that doesn't require a lot of skill, and will be fun to make with your kids, as long as you're taking care of the electrical stuff. Enjoy and stay safe!

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