Introduction: Cardboard Ambience Lamp

This is my first instructables and I must say that I am very pleased with how it turned out. Hope you like it and try making it yourself!

Step 1: What You Need


  • Cardboard
  • MDF (150mmx150mmx19mm)
  • 3 surface mounted diodes
  • Wiring cables
  • Battery cage + batteries (double A cells)
  • Shrink tubes
  • Push-to-make switch (12mm in diameter)
  • Plywood square dowels (15mmx15mm and 500mm long)
  • Paint (any color)


  • Pillar drill
  • Forstner bit
  • Scroll saw
  • Soldering station
    1. Soldering iron
    2. Holder for the iron
    3. Sponge
    4. Alligator clips
    5. Solder
    6. Extraction fan
  • Wood glue
  • Modeling glue
  • Hot glue
  • Utility knife
  • Cutting mat
  • Clamps

Step 2: Cut MDF to Fit Battery Cage

In this step, you will be cutting the MDF so that the battery cage can fit in it.

First, with your pencil and ruler, mark the center of the MDF piece and trace the battery pack. Use the forstner bit to cut two 15mm deep holes with a diameter of 34mm inside the traced area.

Next use a hand chisel to chisel the MDF around the holes previously drilled so that the battery cage can fit in it. Use clamps to secure the MDF to the table to avoid it moving.

Keep in mind that all this will be done on the back of the MDF.

Step 3: Drill a Hole for the Switch and Cables

Drill a 12mm wide hole in the middle of the side of the MDF all the way until you reach the hole you previously drilled and chiselled for the batteries. This hole will be used to place the switch.

Drill a 4mm wide hole at the very edge of the previously drilled hole for the battery cage all the way through the MDF. This hole will be used to pass the cables from the switch and battery cage (on the back) to the front.

Step 4: Make the Support for the Cardboard

Measure your plywood dowels so that you have two of 130mm and two of 115mm. Set these dowels as in the image shown above (to form a square) and glue them to the MDF with white wood glue. Use clamps to secure them in place.

Step 5: Paint the MDF + Plywood

This step is optional. If you decide to paint the wood remember that most likely more than one layer of paint is needed to make it look uniform.

Step 6: Solder the Battery Pack to the Switch

Run the positive cable from the battery pack, through the drilled hole and solder it to the switch. If you are new to soldering here is a great instructables for it. Solder a red cable to the other side of the switch and run it back through the hole.

Pass the red cable and the negative wire (from the battery pack) through the 4mm hole to the top of the MDF.

Step 7: Solder Your LEDs

To solder your LEDs first solder (red) positive wires to the positive side of the LEDs. Then solder black (negative) wires to the negative sides of the LEDs. When doing this, it is easier to first put some solder on the wire itself and then melt that to the LED so that you don't have to work with three things at a time.

Next, solder all the positive cable to the corresponding cable from the battery pack and repeat with the negative wires. To do this it is easier to firs wrap all the cables around each other and then apply the solder. Remember that for this step it is important to place the shrink tubes before soldering or they will not be able to be placed later.

Now, 'shrink' the shrink tubes with a hot air gun and glue the LEDs to the MDF using modeling glue.

At this point you can use hot glue to glue the cables down to the wood and glue the battery pack as well.

Step 8: Cut the Cardboard

Have a 560mmx160mm piece of cardboard. The thickness I used is 4mm as it is easier to cut by hand but that is optional. Divide the piece in four sections of 140mm in length each. In two of these sections (with one section in between, look at image) measure 15mm from the bottom and 10mm from the top. Proceed to measuring 5mm from each side.

Now, draw out the pattern in the image (it is easier to do this by turning the cardboard into a sort of grid with 10mm squares), or any other pattern within those limits. Cut it with a utility knife. If you want, you can paint the cardboard as well. I did not have time for this as it was a school project. Then bend the cardboard every 140mm so that it can fit around the lamp.

Step 9: Glue the Cardboard to the MDF

The final step is to glue the cardboard to the plywood dowels on the MDF. Be sure that the part of the cardboard where you left 15mm from the bottom is covering the plywood. Use wood glue as it works for both wood and cardboard.

Step 10: You're Done!

The lamp is finished! Sit back and enjoy the product of your hardwork and the ambience light the lamp gives off.

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