Introduction: Strawbees Decorative Lampshade

Make your own decorative lampshade with Strawbees! This Instructable will show you how to make a customized lamp to light up your room from just paper, some straws, and a few Strawbees. This Instructable is for a basic cube lampshade, but the sky is the limit for shapes you could make for this.

Caution: do not use candles or hot light bulbs to light up this lampshade, as it is flammable. A battery-operated dome light works nicely, and can be readily found at a dollar store or elsewhere.

Step 1: Materials

  • 8 three-armed strawbees
  • 12 straws cut to 7 inches long each
  • 4 sheets tracing paper
  • Scissors
  • Scotch tape
  • Color printer

Step 2: Cut Straws and Attach Strawbees

Cut all the straws to be 7 inches long. Next, attach Strawbees to straws, pushing the plastic tag as far down into the straw as possible. See photo for pattern for attaching the Strawbees.

Step 3: Connect Straws to Form Cube

Attach the remaining Strawbees ends to the unattached straws in a pattern that results in each face of the cube having four equal sides.

Step 4: Find and Print the Image

Find a picture, or pictures, to print onto your tracing paper. Choose images that will look good with light shining through them, and either choose something you can use for each of the four sides or choose a different image for each. Make sure it the pictures are large enough to still look good when it is the size of a sheet of paper. Also, you will lose ¾ of an inch of the photo on both the top and the bottom in the process of attaching it, so consider that when you place the picture to be printed.

Optional: If you do not already know it, do a test print to find out which side of the paper your printer prints onto. You can do this by writing an x on a piece of paper, putting it into the printer x side up, and printing a test page. If the x is the printed side, then you will put your paper in the printer knowing the top of that sheet will receive the ink.

Now print your images - either four of the same image or your four different images. Because tracing paper is very thin, you may get wrinkles in the final prints. We liked this effect, but if you would like avoid it, you can use small pieces of tape to attach the tracing paper to a piece of card stock and send the joined sheets through the printer, making sure to smooth the tracing paper flat and that the tape does not cover any of the area that will receive ink.

Step 5: Trim and Attach Paper

Trim the white edges off the top and bottom of each sheet of paper. You may trim more than this, but make sure to leave enough paper to wrap around the straw to make sure the paper is stretched tightly between the top and bottom straws. Next, fold in the top corners of the paper so the paper wraps smoothly around the straw without getting caught on the Strawbees. Affix the paper to the straw with tape, with the picture side facing outwards. Wrap the paper tightly around the bottom straw and affix with tape. The white side margins on the paper will perfectly line up to where the straws should be to form a square - you may have to pull the straws in slightly before affixing the tape, to make a straight square, rather than a rhombus. Repeat this process for the additional sides. Optional: Affix a blank sheet of tracing paper over the top, or tissue paper in a coordinating color.

Finally, place your new lampshade over a dome light, and light up your room with your new custom lamp!