Geometric Cardboard Lamp




About: I love creating. I love ART in all its forms. I am a daughter of the 50s, born in 1992. I had the pleasure to be a Featured Author on this fabulous site, and you can read my interview here: https://www.ins...

One of the things you may notice from all of my projects is probably my love for cardboard and lamps :)
My new creation mixes both these things, so working on it was really fun! I made some mistakes at first, and that made the work even longer, but they actually opened up my mind on new ideas that can be made with this technique.

This lamp is a dodecahedron composed by many pentagons that have been joined together. Composing it isn't as hard as it may seem, I must warn you though, that you'll need a lot of patience and time to cut all of these pieces by hand!
Don't worry, the result will reward you, believe me! ;)

The Featured Author Contest is what pushed me to make this cardboard lamp, and I've come to realize how much I missed creating lamps! Thank you for this opportunity Tarun Upadhyaya! :)

I'm finally selling this cardboard lamp in my Etsy shop! :D Check it out here!

Step 1: What You Need

  • Cardboard - I used a thin one because it was easier to cut by hand
  • cutter
  • ruler and pencil
  • hot glue
  • white glue
  • LED* light bulb and bulb holder

*the LED light bulb is very important because it won't burn the cardboard.

Step 2: Draw the Pentagons

Draw 11 regular pentagons on your cardboard. In case you don't know, a regular pentagon is a pentagon that has equal sides.
The sides of the pentagons I made are 6cm long (2.36 inches) but this is up to you anyway. The most important thing is that all the pentagons must be equal. Try to be as accurate as possible!

In case you don't remember how to draw a perfect pentagon (I didn't), take a look at this video.
I first drew it on a piece of cardstock, cut it, and drew its outline on the cardboard multiple times. Drawing them was much faster this way.

Step 3: Cut the Pieces

Now draw 5 smaller pentagons in each of your 11 pentagons. They need to have a distance of about 6 mm (0.23 inches) from each other, as you can see in the first photo.
All you have to do is measuring 6mm from the the sides and trace a line.
These smaller pentagons must be one smaller than the other.

When you are finally done drawing them, cut them very carefully using a cutter.
I decided to remove the central pentagon, but you can keep it if you like.

This is the longest step to make, but not very difficult! ;)

Step 4: Compose the Pentagons

Let's consider your first group of pentagons now:

lay the biggest one on a table and glue the next (smaller) one on it placing its angles on the sides of the big one. They'll create 5 small triangles all around.
It looks like a star, doesn't it? :)

Now glue the next pentagon on top, always turning it like you did before, so that the angles always match the previous pentagon's sides.

Keep adding the next ones following this pattern, one after the other.

You can either use white glue or hot glue for this. I used white glue, but it doesn't make a big difference.

When you are done with the first group of pentagons, proceed this way with the other 10 groups as well.

Step 5: Compose the Lampshade

Now that all of your pieces are done, you can compose the lampshade.

First of all lay a pentagon on a table (or something that keeps it flat).
Apply hot glue on 2 adjacent sides and glue a new pentagon on each of them, making sure to place them in a way that their 2 vertical sides also touch each other. You'll notice that in order for them to touch, they need to be lifted up a little.

Complete the first round gluing 3 new pentagons on the 3 left sides of the "base".
You'll obtain something that looks like a bowl.

Add a new piece on top of 2 of them, gluing 2 of its adjacent sides on 2 pentagons, as you can see in the third picture.
Do the same all around the "bowl" gluing the 4 pentagons you've left.
All the 5 pieces of the second round must touch each other too on their sides: to do this, you need to place them as if you were closing the "bowl" to create a ball.

Turn the "ball" upside down: your lampshade is done!

Step 6: Cut the Base Pieces

Draw about 8 new pentagons on cardboard, just like the ones you made in Step 2.
The number of pieces you need for the base depends on how thick your cardboard is and on how thick the base of your bulb holder is. For this reason, make sure to make some tries with it. You may need to remove or add some.

When you are sure of the number of pentagons you need, draw a smaller pentagon in each of them, at about 1cm (0.39 inches) from the border.
Cut everything using a cutter, removing the central part.
What you'll obtain is new equal pentagons.

Glue them one above the other with white glue (or hot glue), making sure to match their angles and sides together this time.

Step 7: Make One More Piece

This last piece is the one that will hold your bulb holder.

So, draw one more pentagon on cardboard, just like the previous ones, and draw the outline of your bulb holder in the middle.

Cut both the pentagon and the round outline you drew.
Remove the central piece so that the round hole is free for your bulb holder to be inserted.

Glue this new pentagon piece on top of the rest of the base, always matching sides and angles.

Finally, turn the base upside down and cut a thin section at the bottom of one side, so that the cable will pass through it and the lamp will be steady.

Step 8: Lampshade + Base = Lamp!

All you have to do now is inserting the bulb holder through the hole in the base, and finally place the lampshade you made on top of it!

If you want your lampshade to be perfectly firm on the base, glue some small pieces of cardboard on the base, very close to the sides, like I did here.

Light up your new lamp and enjoy the spectacular light effects it creates!

Featured Author Contest: Tarun Upadhyaya

Second Prize in the
Featured Author Contest: Tarun Upadhyaya

Epilog Challenge VI

Participated in the
Epilog Challenge VI

Glue Contest

Participated in the
Glue Contest

Green Design Contest

Participated in the
Green Design Contest

14 People Made This Project!


  • Pets Challenge

    Pets Challenge
  • Beauty Tips Contest

    Beauty Tips Contest
  • Fandom Contest

    Fandom Contest

106 Discussions

For those who don't know Linda and I won our first ever contest by making a cardboard lamp. Since then I have become a huge fan of Linda and her cardboard creations never ceases to amaze me. She is my all time inspiration source.

With this amazing & creative lamp, I respect you even more. Thank you for being so awesome and an everlasting source of inspiration and a dear friend :)

1 reply

Tarun, I can't thank you enough for this, really. It means so much to me!
And I can't tell you enough how honored I am to know that such a great artist thinks all of these things about my work. You know what? I'm extremely proud to call that artist FRIEND! :)

I know for sure that all the things I make are inspired by something, sometimes I can't realize right away what actually inspired me, but every time it comes back to me and believe me, your creations are always a big part of it.

Thank you, thank you, thank you! :)


4 years ago on Introduction

Linda, this is my version :) I hope you like it. I changed something in the base ;)
(E anche io sono italiano!)

fotocamera 1138.jpg
3 replies

Wow, è bellissima!! La base alta mi piace davvero tanto, così facendo l'effetto della luce si vede anche sotto...complimenti! :)


Grazie!! :D
ho avuto un po di problemi con le dimensioni e l'altezza della nuova base ma sono molto soddisfatto.


2 years ago

Here is another version of the same one

Ramadan Kareem.jpg

2 years ago

Bellissimo lavoro Linda, veramente bello. Complimenti sinceri
Mi piacerebbe realizzare la tua lampada in legno.
Una curiosità, che lampadine a led utilizzi di solito per ottenere quella luce calda che si vede in foto?

Complimenti ancora. Bravissima.



2 years ago

Thank you so much!:) This helped me a lot for D.T project! :) This is amazing!


3 years ago

How bulb is changed in this lamp?


3 years ago

This really nice i will try it


3 years ago

We made it!!! Thanks for the idea!!
Leonel and Florencia from Argentina :)

If I wanted to suspend this from the ceiling how would I do that, so that I could frequently change the light bulb when I need to?


4 years ago

Hi Lindarose! Thank you for the wonderful idea! I used laser cut wood instead of cardboard and made a beautiful present for my girlfriend. I found out that a thinner base and larger pentagons look more appealing to the eye (10cm each side). I also added a dimmer to the lamp which improved the overall effect.

1 reply

Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

Oh wow, this is so beautiful!! You did a wonderful job! I will take your improvements as example next time I will make another one :) Thanks for sharing! I bet you made your girlfriend really happy :D


4 years ago

Hello im new here, i love your creation the way it look is awesome. You inspired me to not throw away cardboard and use it as something really cool. Thank you ! Btw im not american soo thats why my english not very good :)

1 reply

Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

Thank you so much, your words mean a lot to me! :) And don't worry about your English, I'm Italian so English is not my first language either :D Welcome to Instructables!