Introduction: Light-up Cardboard

About: Chicago based maker and artist. I'm all about reducing waste through repurposing, refashioning, thrifting, salvaging and upcycling. Sometimes I hug trees.

Toilet rolls. Yes. I wanted to make something pretty with toilet rolls. And I wanted to spend $0 making it. This is what I came up with.

Step 1: What You Need:

I guess under "what you need", I should really write "to be a hoarder." I'm not really that bad. But I do tend to store packaging of different types so I can challenge myself to upcycle it. Rather than recycle it.

What you need:

1. A salvaged cord from an old holiday-scene / shadow box someone leaves on a dumpster (I know, that's not very helpful. A small, low-watt pendant lamp set - think IKEA - would also work great).

2. A great cardboard box from the shampoo gift set you got three birthday's ago!

3. Loo rolls. Or paper-towel rolls ... we all have access to lots of these!

Step 2: Wire Up Your Lamp

All I had to do to insert the light bulb was make a hole in the box and push it through. It's a low watt bulb so I'm assuming it's safe inside a cardboard structure.

Step 3: Cutting and Fitting the Tubes

I started making cutting lines before I thought about creating space behind the circles. Without space behind them, the light won't be distributed across the whole piece.

So I changed tactics... see below.

Step 4: Try, Try Again...

This little circle was my template. It fit between the light bulb and the edge of the box.

Step 5: A Layer of Artistry

To make the cardboard circles different sizes, split a few of the rolls and use tape to resize them.

Step 6: Complete the Circle (!)

I can't show you the juggling act that resulted from trying to squish them all in there. But, they ultimately support themselves by putting pressure on each other - no glue required.

As you put the whole thing together, expect a few circles to spring out. A few times. It's a bit silly but it works in the end. And it's nice not to use glue.

Step 7: Final - Unlit

And there it is! I considered painting it but, for now, I like how simple it is. And when it's lit, the glow is really warm.

Step 8: Final - Lit Up

And there it is, all lit up.

Cardboard Contest 2016

Participated in the
Cardboard Contest 2016