Handmade Bamboo Lantern. Using Old Bamboo Blinds.




Introduction: Handmade Bamboo Lantern. Using Old Bamboo Blinds.

About: An artist by birth, a software architect by choice, a lamp maker by passion, a learner forever. Featured Author here:)

Dear Fellows,
This is like a dream come true, I had always been so much amazed by artwork & furniture made using Bamboo and kept wondering how this strong grass (yes, it is a grass) can be bend to make so many beautiful shapes.

Believe it or not, at the back of my house, there is a giant bamboo tree (can't help calling it a tree) on someone else's land, everyday I fascinate to cut some bamboo and made something out of it but I could not :(. Well the day come when I came across a bamboo artist here in India. She was weaving a bamboo basket, I asked her how do you bend it so easily without breaking it. There my friend the secret was revealed (Shhhhhsss... I will tell ya soon)

So I decided to get my hands dirty, I am nowhere near to being a bamboo expert but I guess I figured out my own ways to get it work.

This iBle has 9 steps, Step-8 is totally optional and Step-9 is my closing thoughts, so its just 7 steps :).

Interestingly, I found this shape of the lantern very unique :).

So lets bend some bamboo :)

Step 1: Stuff That You Will Need

I have made two versions of this lamp, so some of the stuff is very optional unless you choose to go for it. So This is what you will need.
  1. An old bamboo shade or blind. In India it is easy and cheap to get such blinds, you can even get thin bamboo strips which are used to make such blinds or curtains. I found that in US you can get it at Home Depot.  These strips are thin and flexible.
  2. Some metal wire which is strong but easy to bend using hands.
  3. A plastic container, I used a whey protein container of 5lbs.
  4. A plastic bottle, a little bigger will be better.
  5. Hot glue gun
  6. Garden pruning tool
  7. Plier
  8. Nose Plier
  9. Wire Cutter
  10. Scissor
  11. Elmer's glue or Fevicol(India)
  12. Some old cloth (I had an old jeans)
  13. For V2:OPTIONAL: Some handmade paper (I don't really know what exactly it is called, when I asked in the craft strore, the guy told me its handmade paper) or you can use Kite paper. Totally your choice here.
  14. A pair of gardening gloves for safety of your hands.
  15. An electric cord with bulb holder.
  16. ESSENTIAL: Lots Drinking water and coffee (I went with green tea and Chai this time) :)
  17. Our best friend PATIENCE :)
Lets start our preparation.

Step 2: Preparation

The unique characteristic about bamboo is its ability to bend into any shape when wet and retain that shape strongly when its dry. This is the science behind bamboo artwork and furniture.

Lets get started. Time to reveal the secret
  1. Dismantle your old blind (or curtain or shades, whatever name is familiar to you :))
  2. Soak the bamboo strips overnight in water (you can put it in bath tub) or  do as follows:
    1. Water the strips using a bucket. Take an old towel, soak it in water and then cover the strips with this towel, leave it overnight.
  3. Next day when you are ready to resume work, take the strips out from towel.
  4. See the images above, how flexible the strips have become.
This step is very important: It will ensure that bamboo strips don't break when you try to bend them and it will also protect your hand from bamboo fiber  (although this does not override the need to wear gloves).

Lets make our lantern's  skeleton next.

Step 3: Building the Skeleton of the Lamp

Ok, Now grab the container and wire. Proceed as follows:
  1. Wrap a single wire around container (Image 1), not too tight, not too loose.
  2. Insert a bamboo strip (Image 2)
  3. Keep inserting strips distanced equally from each other (Image 3), cover the complete container like this. You may need to tighten or loosen the wire a bit to adjust strips.
  4. The final outcome should look like Image 4. 

Lets weave the lantern next.

Step 4: Bamboo Weaving

Now is the time to do some weaving, bamboo weaving, do as follows:
  1. Take a strip and insert it so that it intersects the strips which are fixed vertically (Image 1) , the strips are so flexible that they will bend like a plastic wire.
  2. Keep weaving till both the ends of the strip meet (Image 2), cut the remaining strip, leaving some extra so that both ends overlap each other. TIP: Use may want to use nose plier to pull strip because they become tightly weaved.  
  3. Tie both the ends using wire (Image 3). This is important so that the strips don't loose their shape, we will remove them later.  
  4. Repeat 1,2,3 till you reach the neck of the container (Image 4). As you repeat, you may have to keep adjusting the strips so that they cross each other other properly.

Lets Shape the lantern next.

Step 5: Shaping the Bamboo

Our lamp is taking its shape slowly, now we need to shape it a bit more so that it looks like a wine bottle :). Do as follows:
  1. Place the plastic bottle on top of container and wrap a wire around the strips, so that the strips touch the bottle and our structure start looking like a bottle :). (Image 1)
  2. Start weaving the bamboo (Image 2)as described in last step but this time start from above the wire you just wrapped.
  3. Weave 2-3 times (Image 3), don't forget to wire the loose ends.
  4. Now just wrap a strip as shown in Image 4 and tie it using wire tightly (we will remove it later). I realized later that, this was not necessary, I could have just wrapped wire 2-3 times but I guess I became obsessed with bamboo's flexibility :)
  5. Now using the pruning tool cut the strips from top (Image 5) op that the structure looks like Image 6.

Congratulations for completing the weaving process, lets see the result by gently pushing the bottle from top, this will subsequently push the container outside the bamboo skeleton. See Image 7 for the outcome :)

Celebrate your success with a glass or water and some tea or coffee :-), before we proceed to next step.  

Step 6: Clean Up Touch

We have to get rid of all the wires that we used to tie up ends, also we need to glue the ends so that they don't peek out outside our lamp structure. Lets do it 
  1. Heat your hot glue gun and be ready. TIP: Before you proceed adjust all the strips so that they don't look overlapped or uneven.
  2. Remove one tie, put some hot glue in gap (Image 1)and press the two ends using the plier, wait for few seconds for the glue to dry.
  3. Repeat this for all the ties.
  4. Now create a circle using a strip small enough to fit inside the top of our lamp, join the ends using hot glue. See Image 2
  5. Insert this circle from top of the lamp and stick it using hot glue, Image 3TIP : See #1. 
  6. Our lamp after the finishing touch is ready, see Image 4 :)

 Lets decorate our lamp to enhance its aesthetics in the next step. Drink lots of water to Hydrate yourself :)

Step 7: Decoration and Finishing Touch

Grab the old cloth or jeans in my case and proceed as follows :

We will use Fevicol to glue jeans, not hot glue.
  1. I Cut 2 strips of the jeans wide enough to cover the bamboo strips at the bottom of the lamp, see Image 1  
  2. Glue the strips as shown in image 2.
  3. Fold the jeans to hide rough edges (Image 3)
  4. glue the jeans (Image 4).
  5. Glue inside the bottom and fold the jeans (Image 5)
  6. It should look like Image 6 :)
Lets do the same for top of the lamp but before we do it, lets build a hanger for the lamp.
  1. Pick a bamboo strip and bend it as shown in image 7.
  2. Using hot glue, glue this strip using on top of the lamp as shown in Image 8. You may need to hold the hanger for few minutes till the glue bonds the strips.
  3. Cover the top using jeans strip just like we covered the bottom. You need to cut the jeans so that you are able to fond it inside the lamp (Image 9).
  4. The lamp should look like Image 10.

Congratulations!! Your bamboo lamp is ready, light it up the way you want. I am not going very specific about light here, just grab an electric cord with bulb holder, attach a CFL or bulb or LED and put it in. Don't forgot to tie the electric cord to the lamp hanger :).

This lamp is an ideal choice where you need more light. Garden, terrace, balcony, above stairs are just places to name a few.

My friend suggested that I should make another version of this lamp if someone wants soft or soothing light for indoors. Thats why next step is totally optional. But if you want it, jump in.

Step 8: OPTIONAL: Upgrading Lamp to V2.0 :)

Lets upgrade our lamp to v2.0 :)

I will be honest that my creative juices stopped flowing at this point and this is not the best I could. So use your inner artist to decorate it the way you want. Heres what I did:
  1. We will cover the lamp using handmade paper from inside. (You can do it from outside too like Chinese lanterns)
  2. Take some handmade paper (Image 2) and cut strips (Image 2).
  3. Start from bottom. Glue the strips from inside and stick paper on them. Repeat till you reach the neck of lamp.
  4. The Final outcome is shown in Image 7. v2.0

Congratulations!!!! v2.0 of our Bamboo Lantern is ready (I know, I know, I used the word LAMP & Lantern interchangeably, sorry about that. ;-))

Step 9: Finally

This is my first ever bamboo project and I am very excited that I have made this lantern. Hope you will find this iBle helpful and fun.

I have also participated in Lamps & Lightings contest. If you like this iBle, please vote for me by visiting the link or by using the VOTE button located at the top-right of this page (if Its not there, please come back after 24 hours, I would really appreciate.)  

Thank you for visiting this iBle.

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    21 Discussions


    4 years ago

    Awesome Tarun...Love your lamp projects :)


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Great work! I think the handmade paper is called Rice Paper. ;-)

    Tarun Upadhyaya
    Tarun Upadhyaya

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Ahh..so thats what rice paper looks like ;-). Thank you for clarification and I am happy that you liked it.


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Hi Tarun,

    There are different grades of Rice paper, but that's what it is. You're welcome! ;-)


    7 years ago on Step 8

    Awesome! Great job! Thanks! Hey, you can also get bamboo blinds at thrift stores -- cheap, cheap, cheap! (And environmentally friendly, you know, reusing stuff that's already out there!) Thanks again! -- Lori

    Tarun Upadhyaya
    Tarun Upadhyaya

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Oh Yes thrift stores are great place to shop for such stuff:)).
    Thank you Lori :) I am glad that you liked it.


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Wonderful! And a great way to recycle bamboo shades!


    7 years ago on Introduction

    I like this idea! Thanks so much for sharing and do have a splendorous day!