Introduction: Milk Cartons Can Make Your Life Bright!

Hello! We are Charlie Brown2017!

How do you do with empty milk cartons in your house? We have a great idea with them!

We came up with making Washi (和紙), which is a traditional Japanese paper, from milk cartons and we made a lampshade with the paper!

The lampshade looks like a tree of Japanese cherry blossom, and it's very beautiful when it gets together with a penlight. You need only some empty milk cartons and a small penlight. I recommend you to try making it if you have interest in our work!

Step 1: What Is Washi?

Washi(和紙) is traditional Japanese paper Which has a history of about 1400 years.

Washi have features of thin, durable, and long-lasting. One of the most famous way to utilize these features of it is using it for Japanese paper currency. If you have them, you can know how Washi is like.

Traditionally, Washi is made from bark in a very elaborate way, but we know we can make simplified Washi from milk cartons. This time, we introduce you how to make Washi from milk cartons and make a lampshade.

Step 2: Materials and Tools Needed

  • 2~3 milk cartons
  • Penlight
  • Flower paper
  • Net
  • Bond
  • Mortar
  • Wood stick

Step 3: Peel Off

Wash empty milk cartons and cut open them. Then, soak them in water for 2~3 days. After soaking, peel off their both side of the surface of polyethylene.

Step 4: Tear Milk Cartons to Small Pieces and Boil

After step 3,tear milk cartons to small pieces. Put plenty of water and all pieces of milk cartons in a pot. Then, boil them until they gets soft (We boiled for an hour.).

Step 5: Tear the Boiled Cartons Into Smaller Pieces and Mash Them

Take the boiled cartons out of pot and tear them into smaller pieces. Then put them into a mortar, add a little water and mash them with stick until you can feel the liquid soft.

This process goes bit by bit since there is a capacity of the mortar.

(However, if you have a blender, this step goes much faster. You only need to toss the pieces and water into blender. In this way, you can make them liquid easily.)

Step 6: Tear and Mash a Colored Flower Paper, Then Mix It With the Step 6's Liquid

If you want to add colors, tear colored flower paper as small as possible. Then, make it liquid like step 5. After that, mix the colored liquid with the step 6's liquid.

Step 7: Make Japanese Paper

Pour the mixed liquid on net while spreading them evenly and making square shape on the net with your hands. You can make two or three squares.

Before doing this process, put a flat tray under the net and spread some towel under the tray in order not to soak the floor.

Step 8: Dry

With a dryer, dry it until you can peel the paper off the net. Put the papers on a towel and leave them until the papers completely dry.

Step 9: Cut the Paper

On the paper, draw 16 × 16 ㎠ square and two lines to divide it into four equal parts.

Then, tear off the outside of the line, keeping three squares connected. Don't forget to leave some margin.

Do another one equally.

Step 10: Combine Two Parts

Form folds on the paper firmly along the line.

Next, spread some glue on the margin and paste them together, forming a part of the cube. Then paste the other margins of two parts together and make a cube.

After that, Cut off one of the apex of the cube to make a hole into which you can insert a penlight.

Step 11: Make the Base of the Penlight

Draw three centimeters square on the remaining paper which you tore off, and form folds on the paper firmly along the line. Then, put the bottom of the penlight on the center of the square and wrap margins around the grip of it.

Paste paper pieces to make the base steady and keep the penlight standing.

Step 12: Completing

Light the penlight and cover it with square.

After that, turn out the light of the room.

You can see a beautiful cherry blossom at night!

Before and After Contest 2017

Participated in the
Before and After Contest 2017