Introduction: Table Lamp 'Windows'

This lamp has been created as another reuse project; here, I reuse some cardboard frames from a kind of ‘Ravensburger puzzle’ and electrical parts (cable, switch, E14 socket) of a broken table lamp. In fact, these cardboard frames tempted me to create something both amusing and useful of them; I thought initially to make the lamp as a ‘Rubik’s cube’, but then considered that window would be a better image.



  • cardboard frames and electrical cable mentioned in the Intro
  • three wooden bars 20 x 20 mm, about 250 mm long 
  • three wooden rods, diameter 6 mm, 190 mm long
  • piece of wood or plywood 20 x 10 mm, about 200 mm long
  • transparent paper of various colours
  • dense white paper, at least 140 g/sqm


  • ruler, protractor, pencil to mark
  • ruler (or hardwood bar), ‘exacto’ knife to cut paper
  • drill, drill bit for wood (diameter 6 mm) to make holes
  • saw for wood, clamps, small wooden bars with sandpaper 80 and 120 to manufacture pieces for the lamp’s base
  • soldering gun, small screw driver, long-nose pliers, wire cutter to perform works on the electrical part
  • brush for glue, brush for paint


  • wood glue
  • white paint
  • solder

Step 1: Frames

Three frames have been used for this project. Each frame is a 178 x 178 mm square made of 3 mm thick cardboard, and has 4 square openings 70 x 70 mm; therefore, it’s necessary to cut four 80 x 80 mm squares of coloured paper to manufacture one ‘window’ with 4 ‘panes’ of various colours. These squares will be glued to the back surface of the frame; the result is shown in the picture. The choice and distribution of the colours depend entirely on you.

Step 2: Base

The base of the lamp is an equilateral triangle with one side equal to 224 mm; it is manufactured of 20 x 20 mm wooden bars. The pictures shown the end result of this operation. I chose the 224 mm length to assure that each frame is approximately on the centreline of each side of the base; I found it to be the best arrangement (it’s just my opinion).

The base is an equilateral triangle; therefore, the summit angles are 60 degrees each. A 30 degree angle will be marked at each end of each wooden bar, and necessary cuts will be made. A small allowance should be made when sawing; thus, you could sandpaper the cut surface to assure its correct shape. 

It’s important to assure that the saw is perpendicular to the bar (such was my case, because I used a manual saw).

After the three pieces are ready, they will be joined by using wood glue, and the crossbar attached to the triangle, too. The entire base will be sandpapered (No 120); I also painted the upper surface white, I thought it would better match to the white frames of the lampshade.

The crossbar for the socket is manufactured of a piece of wood 20 x 10 x 200 mm. I proceeded as follows to make this part:

  • mark the future centre of the hole for the electrical cable)
  • put the piece onto the triangle so the future centre of the hole is positioned according to the drawing
  • mark the lines where the piece will be cut
  • saw the piece, sandpaper the cut surfaces to make them straight
  • attach the crossbar to the triangle by using wood glue

Several 6 mm diameter holes will be drilled in the base as follows:

  • three holes 10 mm deep for wooden rods in the upper surface; these holes must be perpendicular to the upper surface of the base 
  • one through hole for the electrical cable in the upper surface
  • one through hole for the electrical cable in a side surface

Step 3: Lampshade

The frames will form a triangular prism composed of lateral surfaces only; this is the lampshade of the lamp. The prism will be fixed to three wooden bars, and be removable from the lamp’s base. 

I suggest the following technique to manufacture the prism:

  1. cut three 170 x 6 mm strips of dense paper and ply them following their long centreline
  2. glue one strip to a side of one frame, then glue a side of the second frame to the free half of the strip

Note: I had to sandpaper the surfaces where the paper strips would be glued, to remove small ‘bumps’ from the cardboard frames.

3) glue one strip to the opposite side of the first frame, and another strip to the opposite side of the second frame

4) glue the third frame to the free halves of the strips on the first and second frames

5) insert three wooden rods into the holes in the base; the overall length of a rod being 190 mm, it will protrude by 180 mm above the upper surface of the base

6) glue the assembled prism to the rods

The rods are not glued to the base; therefore, the lampshade is removable. Thus, it’s easier to replace the bulb - you remove the prism, replace the bulb, put the prism back.

Step 4: Electrical Part

That’s how I proceeded with this assembly: 

  • install the switch on the cable
  • pass the free end of the cable into the appropriate holes in the base
  • fix the wires in the socket
  • fix the socket to the base with two wood screws

It should be noted that the socket used for this project has two features to block the cable; therefore, if the cable is accidentally pulled from outside, the contacts in the socket wouldn't be disturbed. Had I used another kind of socket, I would have needed to attach the cable to the base by using, for example, a plastic strip fixed with two screws.

Step 5: Additional Screen

I installed a 7W LED bulb into the lamp and discovered that the bulb and the socket remain visible through the coloured lampshade; therefore, I decided to add a screen made of dense white paper.

The flat pattern of the screen has dimensions 180 x (335 + 10) mm; the length has been written this way to show that there is a 10 mm reserve to glue both ends of the resulting cylinder. The diameter of this cylinder is 107 mm which allows to insert it fairly tightly into the lampshade; therefore, there’s no need to glue the cylinder to the prism or the base.

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