Introduction: PETITE OURSE_ Homemade Paper Lamp

About: Taking a break in my studies, I'm in Belfast for one year as a volunteer in Belfast Fablab. I will share with you my projects and hope you will be able to use it or be inspired of. :D

The french designation for Ursa Minor, Petite Ourse is a little lamp made of recycled paper, a LED string and a piece of plywood. It can take many forms because YOU choose the shape you want in origami. I chose the bear but it can any other shape on condition that you can introduce the LED inside or underneath. That's why I also propose to you a variant with the shape that reminds the sea urchin. I didn't know homemade paper could have that effect and I'm totally in love with the finish! :D

I made this little lamp using the laser cutter of a fablab but I will also propose a version totally feasable at home with some cardboard for the support and a knife. I hope you will enjoy following this tutorial and that you will make your own little lamp, and without forgetting to share a picture of your realisation!

Step 1:

I will explain you my way to make some recycled paper but I advise you to go to see some nice videos explaining how to do it. These following links are the videos that helped me to make my own paper :

What I like with this last video is that you can see a lot of different possibilities and give you ideas about things to add to your paper to personalise it even more. You can experiment a lot with homemade paper!

Step 2: How to Make Homemade Paper _ Preparation

First of all you will need a deckle. You have plenty of different ways to make one. Mine has been cut by laser cutter but you can reuse two old frames. One more time I invite you to take a look on internet and choose the solution that is the most suitable for you.

You can use the files attached at the bottom of this step to laser cut the same deckle as me. I used plywood 6mm of thickness.

After cutting it you just need to assembly the pieces of wood. You might need to modify the file to make the pieces fit together. It depends of the laser cutter and the settings you use.

After that you will need a screen. It can be many things, use what you have at home but from experience I prefer the tulle fabric because you can take off the paper easily contrary to the screen I have here which is a cleaning cloth with big stitches.

While you have done these steps you're ready to start your recycled paper.

You will need:

·Your deckle

·A big basin

·Dish towels (2 or 3)

·A rolling pin

·A hand blender (additional)

·Printer paper sheets destined for the bin and some water

Step 3: How to Make Homemade Paper _ Mix

·Tear the sheets of paper in pieces and put them in the basin.

·Add enough water to cover the papers and mix it a little bit with your hands.

·Mix again your paper pulp with a blender to have a uniform paper at the end.

The sheets of paper that I used are printer papers with ink on it. That is what give a slight grey/blue colour.

Step 4: How to Make Homemade Paper _ Redo the Paper Sheet

·Take your deckle (the frame with the screen and the other on top) and immerse it into the basin until you have a homogeneous layer of paper pulp on the screen.

·Remove the top of the deckle, place a towel on the paper layer and turn over the whole thing.

It can help to remove some water by wiping off through the screen with a sponge.

·You can now carefully remove your deckle.

·Cover your paper layer with another towel and start pressing through the towel with the rolling-pin. The stronger you will press the thinner your paper will be.

You can change several times the towels you use to remove the most of the water.

·Let it dry on another towel one day and night ( the time will depends on the ambiant temperature ).

Some people try to accelerate the drying process with hair dryer or other trick. Again take a look on internet if you can't wait to have the result ;)

Your paper sheet is now ready to be shaped!

Step 5: PETITE OURSE _ Material

To realise all the elements of your lamp you will need:

·Your homemade paper sheet (you can also use a classic sheet of paper the result is also really nice)

·A LED string ( I buy mine in Poundland for £1 )

·A piece of plywood 6mm of thickness OR a piece of cardboard if you can't work with wood or just if you prefer

·Glue gun

· White glue

·Double-sided tape

·Knife / Ruler / Pencil for the homemade version

Step 6: PETITE OURSE _ Realisation of the Bear

The video shows how I have realised the bear. I used the laser cutter but you can totally cut the bear by hand with a knife. I have joined the shape of the bear that you can print and use as a template ( Width:164 High:180 )

The steps to realise it by laser cutter:

·Cut the shape with the laser cutter.

Here is a trick about the laser cutter that has permitted to realise the little dots in the folds of the paper: When you use a really low frequency, instead of a regular stroke it will make dots more or less spaced dependent on the settings you use. I used a epilog laser mini with a first frequency at 10 and another time at 50. This is what gives two different types of dots.

·Mark the folds

·Tape up as you see in the video with double-sided tape

The bear is ready!!

Step 7: PETITE OURSE _ How to Realise the Wooden Support

I made this video so you can see easily how to make the support in plywood.

·In the file attached there is the PDF which will permit to you to cut the 4 parts of the support in plywood 6mm.

Depending of the size of the battery of your LED string you might need to change the file and adapt it but make sure you have enough space to turn on and off the switch.

· Once you have cut the plywood you will have to glue them together. Make sure that the battery fit well in the hole while you're glueing it.

·Press the parts together with clamps until the glue has dried.

·Start to sand with the belt sander until the burned part has totally desappeared.

The burning sides can be esthetic but I prefer sanding to have a smooth surface.

·Use a drill to create a hole to let the LED string come through the wood.

·Pass the string through the support and stick the battery (tape or hot glue) in the hole.

Step 8: PETITE OURSE _ How to Realise the Cardboard Support

The cardboard version is totally feasable at home with basic tools:

·A piece of cardboard or a sheet of thick paper

·A pencil

·A ruler

·A knife

·Double-sided tape

·The paper template (Width:172 x High:168)

For this step you will need to

·Draw the template on the cardboard then cut the shape of the support with the knife (black lines).

·Mark the fold (red lines) without cutting totally the cardboard

·Remove layers of the cardboard and keep just the last layer. It will be easier to stick the parts together

·Tape up the part as shown on the pictures.

·Realise a hole in the support to let the string go through and make the same steps than with the wooden support (see previous step)

Your support is ready!

Step 9: PETITE OURSE _ Put Up the Bear

To attach the bear to the support :

·Roll the LED string to make it fit inside the bear.

You can glue with a glue gun some LEDS inside the bear. The more the leds will be close to the paper, the more the light will be powerful.

·Tape up the legs of the bear to the support with double-sided tape

Your lamp is now finished!

Keep it like that as long as you want but whenever you get bored of it just change the shape of your paper shade!

Step 10: VARIANT_ Paper Sea Urchin

This origami is another shape possible for the little lamp. I found the idea on a really nice blog.

Here is the link:

I invite you to take a look because the explainations are really clear and it is realised without any machine.

This is my own version of how to make this shape. In the video you can see quickly each steps to realise it:

To make it you will need:

·A sheet of paper (homemade or not) with a minimum size of 490x111mm ( the file measuring exactly 477x110mm)

·Double-sided tape

·A string (I use wire but it can be wool or anything you have)

·Knife/punch/ruler/pencil if you make it by hand


·Cut the paper with the laser cutter or by hand without forgetting the folds (red lines)

·Mark the vertical folds. Then turn the paper and mark the diagonal lines.

·Give form to the paper (the video is more significant):

·Catch the centre of the shorter border of the sheet and fold a first diamond following the crease that we made before.

·Repeat the operation 3 or 4 times before dealing with the edges

·For the edges, you will need to fold inward the triangles to shape a croissant.

·Repeat these steps for the whole paper ·Pass your string through each holes, tighten it and tie it to have the final shape.

·Tape the two edges with the double-sided tape

Your origami is now ready to be put on your lamp!

It is also the end of the tutorial. I'm sorry for the framing I need to improve that part with a proper equipment. Hopefully the explaination is clear but if you need more information don't hesitate to ask!

LAST POINT ( I promise... ) I enter this tutorial for the paper contest so if you liked it a little vote from you would be huge for me! :D Many thanks!!!

Paper Contest

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