Introduction: Cardstock Corner Lamp

About: Graduate student at ASU Polytechnic working on my masters degree in Manufacturing (MSE). Additive manufacturing materials researcher. Nuclear Survivability Electrical Engineer by day and student/nerd by night.

This lamp is a project that I have progressively worked on and never had the time to finish until recently. I started on it around February of 2018, having cut the laser cut parts, but not getting around to assembly or code. I ended up having to shelve the project due to college applications and other school activities taking all of my time. Due to not having enough time to do the lampshade in one go as intented, it was put on the backburner. Now with school out for the summer and being confined to my house, I had an excuse to dig it out and finally finish it. I'm proud to finally say that this project is complete.

I designed this lamp off of a similar one that I saw in Ikea. That is where I came up with the idea for a symetrical low poly paper lampshade. I thought the low poly paper shade and the sharp lines of a laser cut model would complement each other well, and I was quite happy with the result. I had originally intended to use a copper tape along the folds of the paper shade, but wasn't expecting how difficult to work with it would be. While I think it would have looked really nice, I am still happy with the result without it.




  • 5.5x2.1 DC Jack
  • On-Off switch
  • 16 gauge wire
  • Arduino Pro Mini (ATMEGA328P 16Mhz 5V)
  • 1000uf capacitor
  • 12mm Panel Mount Pushbutton
  • WS2812B LED strip
  • Misc Wire
  • 10K Resistor
  • 5V Power Supply


  • Cardstock (8.5x11) Letter Size
  • 3mm Plywood
  • Cable Sleeving (optional but looks better)
  • Silver Jewelers Wire


  • Laser Cutter
  • Printer
  • Utility Knife
  • Ruler/Straightedge
  • Super Glue
  • Elmer's Glue
  • Sandpaper
  • Sanding Mouse or Orbital Sander
  • Soldering Iron
  • 60/40 Lead Solder
  • FTDI Programmer Board
  • Mini USB Cable

Step 1: Laser Cutting the Parts

Just like in my last laser cut project I did all of this on the Glowforge at my local library. My cut settings were speed of 250, power of 100, and 2 passes. Cut out all the parts in the folder by the quantity specified in the text document included. After laser cutting the parts, sand them to finish the wood and remove burn marks from the laser. I only bothered going up 400 grit sandpaper.

Step 2: Cutting the Cardstock

This step is pretty easy, it just takes a long time. Print out the lampshade onto the cardstock. Using the ruler as a guide for your knife cut along the solid lines to cut out the pieces. After all the pieces are cut out, score the fold lines. The dashed lines get scored on the front printed side and the dashed/dotted lines get scored on the back of the piece. Do not cut through the fold lines, just barely run the knife edge across the paper to help with folding.

Glue the pieces together with the corresponding tabs and edges matching. I glued my shade so that the tabs were on the inside of the lamp. The edges are all numbered, with the edges and tabs matching up with each other.

At the opening of the of the lamp shade, glue the hollow hexagon piece. This piece serves to make the shade more sturdy and attach it to the lamp body.

Step 3: Electronics

Connect all of the wires as shown in the Fritzing diagram. Double check all of the wiring before plugging it into the power supply. Ensure that positive and negative are correctly aligned.

Before soldering to the DC jack or rocker switch, make sure to install them where they belong on the wooden back piece. To connect the LED to the arduino, I took the JST connector from the end of the LED strip and soldered it on, allowing the LED's to be unplugged for programming.


  • Button - 10
  • WS2812B Strip - 11

Step 4: Arduino

Plug the Programmer board onto your arduino before plugging it into your computer. After connecting the arduino to the programmer, plug it in and then launch the arduino IDE. Select the Arduino Pro Micro in the board manager and the processor as the ATMEGA328P 5V 16Mhz. Once this is all correct, upload the code.

When uploading the code, make sure either the LED's are unplugged from the arduino or that the power supply is plugged in. Once the code is uploaded, the LED's will turn on. If they are still connected to the Arduino without the power supply turned on, they will try and draw too much current from your USB port.

To operate the lamp and change the colors is just as simple as pressing the button. I programmed in several colors for the lamp. It is easy to add new ones to the code as they are only identified by their RGB values.


Step 5: Final Assembly

Now that all the electronics are complete, it's time to completely assemble the wooden pieces. I recommend using the f3d model as a reference during assembly. I used superglue as an adhesive to hold the wood together, but I think wood glue would work just as well. I assembled the stem of the lamp first, putting the wire in the center of it for the LED's. I then assembled the top piece and wrapped the LED's around it. The adhesive on the back of the LED's should be more than enough to keep them secured. The last part I built was the base. I made sure that the button, switch, and DC jack were installed properly. After everything else is assembled, I added the feet to the base installed in the square holes in the bottom.

To attach the shade to the lamp, I suspended it with wire. I used silver plated copper wire, but even string would work. I included six holes in the base of the lamp shade wood and six holes in the base of the top part. They should all line up pretty well.

Finish It Already Speed Challenge

Second Prize in the
Finish It Already Speed Challenge