Introduction: Epoxy Kumiko Lamp Cabinet - Faux Stained Glass

About: My name is Johnny and I am a woodworker in NYC. Check out my Instagram to see what I'm currently working on @jtwoodworks and you can visit my YouTube channel to see videos on these Instructables and other proj…

Today we’re going to make this kumiko and epoxy lamp that’s also a cabinet. A lampinet…?

For those who may not know, kumiko is an ancient Japanese technique of assembly strips of wood in geometric patterns without the use of metal fasteners. The grid and infill pieces in this project are 1/2" x 1/8" strips of basswood and you'll need kumiko jigs to cut them to their appropriate angles. Both the jigs and the strips are linked bellow in the 'Tools I used section'.

TotalBoat was kind enough to help out with this project and provide you with a coupon code. Use "JTWOODW10" at check out and receive 10% off all TotalBoat products at

Tools I used:
These are the tools I used for this project, however, similar results can be achieved with similar tools.

Kumiko jigs -

Sawstop table saw -

Chisels -

Japanese handsaw -

Hot glue gun:

Router -

Drill press -

Random orbit sander -

Kumiko strips -

TotalBoat epoxy -

Black diamond pigments -

Sheathing tape -

LED Light strip -

Step 1: Kumiko Panel & Frame

I’m starting with the kumiko grid which I’m making out of basswood strips. They go together with half lap joints that I cut on the table saw and if you want to see the process of making these grids in depth, I have a dedicated video and Instructable that explains the process.

I had a few different ideas for the design and because this is my entry for the Rockler bentwood challenge, I wanted to incorporate some bentwood. These strips are ⅛” thick, off camera I took some light passes with a block plane so they’re easier to bend. I don’t want them to look thinner that the other pieces so I took off as little material as possible so I can make these bends.

With the pattern done, I move on to making a simple frame out of cherry. I added glue to the inside of the frame so the kumiko panel itself can help hold it together. The epoxy will also help hold everything together.

Step 2: Pouring the Epoxy

The epoxy is one of the most satisfying but nerve racking parts of this build. I covered some plywood with sheathing tape, which the epoxy won’t stick to, and secured the kumiko panel to it using hot glue. I pressed it down with a weight to remove any slight twist, to make sure I end up with a flat panel.

I'm using TotalBoat epoxy and doing two different pours. The first is clear and this will slightly soak in and up the wood which will prevent the colors from soaking in when I do the second pour. I went with three different colors. Light blue, dark blue, and dark green. If you want to try something similar or if you have an epoxy project in mind, you can use the coupon code jtwoodw10 to get 10% off of any product on Total Boat website. If you try epoxy kumiko, tag me on Instagram, I’d love to see what you come up with.

After the epoxy cured, I removed the panel from the backer board using chisels. I then sanded the back of the panel which will help defuse the light.

Step 3: Cutting the Curved Slots

The cabinet, or lamp shade depending on how you look at it, is made from ¾” baltic birch plywood and I cut it to size on the table saw.

To cut the slots on the side of the lamp, I pieced together a circle jig for the router. The two main components to get accurate curved slots are the jig itself where the pivot pin needs to be centered on the workpiece. And the reference edge (left side) which has a ruler attached to it. The workpiece has a mark on it so I can constantly slide it over ½” which gives me a ¼” spacing between the slots because I’m using a ¼” router bit.

Step 4: Kerf Bending

To bend this piece, I’m using the kerf bending technique which is where you take a series of cuts almost all the way through your material. Here I’m leaving about 1/32” uncut. The cuts are ⅛” with ⅛” spacing. I needed to make a full 180º bend which ended up working but I wish I cut a little deeper on all the cuts to reduce some stress and make it easier.

Step 5: Cutting the Keyhole Slot

On the back of this piece I drilled holes to help cut the keyhole slot so it can be hung on the wall. A keyhole bit in a router cuts a t-slot into the wood and the three holes I drilled are access ports for the screw heads to enter the slot. I used an edge guide with the router to make sure the slot was parallel to the top edge.

Step 6: Top and Bottom Pieces

Next I milled some cherry for the top and bottom on this lamp. I made this template to test and make sure I had the curves and length right before tracing and cutting it out of the final piece. I cut close to the line and refined the shape on the sander. These pieces also got some slots to allow the light to come through them and I cut those with a router and edge guide, just like in the previous step.

Step 7: Glue Up

I normally do a dry practice run before I do a glue up and for this piece I did it a couple times. I used titebond quick and thick to hopefully fill in some of the kerf cuts and help hold the bend closed but it also has a shorter working time. Thankfully only one side gets glued because the other side will function as a live hinge for the cabinet door.

Step 8: Adding the Shelf

Throughout the build I wasn’t sure if I wanted to add a shelf as I thought it may interfere with the lights and create a shadows but decided to go for it. I want to minimize the use of metal fasteners in this project so these screws are used to hold the shelf in place so I can drill out the holes for dowels.

Step 9: Glueing on the Door

Glueing on the door would've been easier to do before the kerf bending but I wanted to make sure it worked out and didn’t crack. The kerfs came in handy with the glue up. I placed a piece of aluminium in the top and bottom kerfs to clamp the door to the hinge. I used a piece of wood in the center so I wouldn’t harm the slots.

Off camera I made these clips to help keep the door closed. They have an oversized hole so they can move freely around the screw. There is on on the top and bottom of the door.

Step 10: Adding the Lights

Because of the shapes and slots, I went with a simple to apply finish and used spray lacquer. Once that dried, I fished the led light strip though one of the slots and placed it in the cabinet in a way that would evenly distribute the light.

Step 11: Final Thoughts

This project was a bit of a design challenge for me as I rarely work with curves and bends. Let me know what you think of this lamp cabinet (lampinet?) in the comments and if you watched and enjoyed this video, give it a thumbs up and consider subscribing to see more epoxy and kumiko projects.

You can watch the video here on how I built this lamp.

You can also find me on Youtube

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Facebook and Twitter for behind the scenes shots

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