Kusudama Light (Chandelier/Centerpiece)




As you may have seen from some of my other recent instructables, I am engaged and in the process of planning a wedding with my fiance. We are having an art theme wedding and love to do crafts. I designed some wedding jewelry for the bridal party based on the Kusudama origami flower. Along that theme, my fiance and I wanted to explore other ways to incorporate this design in our wedding. She hasn't decided yet, but may use a kusudama flower ball for her bouquet. While testing this out, I wanted to try hollowing out the flower ball and making either a lighted chandelier or centerpiece for the wedding. The benefit of this design is that the lights would be easily biodegradable, and we could recycle left over scrapbook pages to make them.

Step 1: Folding the Kusudama Flower Petals...Lots of Them!

To make a Kusudama flower ball I needed to make 12 individual kusudama flowers, each with five petals, for a total of 60 petals. I wanted the ball to be pretty big and sturdy, so I opted to recycle a variety of left over scrapbooking pages instead of using origami paper. The scrapbooking pages were thicker and had interesting designs. I used colors that would be in the wedding. They are all shades of green and brown. I cut out 60 paper squares 6 inches by 6 inches from the pages (NOTE: for the chandelier, I should have made them bigger. Next time I plan to make them 8 by 8 or larger to create more space for the light and greater distance between the bulb and the paper).

I will give a quick run down on how to fold the petals, but I've written more detailed instructions in my other instructable on kusudama wedding party jewelry. Take a look for better instructions.

To make a petal I took one 6 by 6 sheet and folded it in half diagonally to make a triangle. I position the triangle with the open angle up (farthest away from me). I then took the two angles of the triangle to the sides and folded them up to the open angle to make a diamond shape. This is represented in the picture above.

Step 2: Folding the Petal Cont.

Then I took the one of the flaps on the diamond and folded the flap in half at an angle. When I did this the edge of the flap that was lined up with the other flap in the middle was turned and ran parallel to the outside edge of the diamond. I did this on both sides.

Afterwards I unfolded the fold I just made, opened the flap (like in the picture) and pressed it down to fold along the lines I just folded (see picture above). I repeated this on both sides.

Step 3: Folding the Petal Cont. II

I then folded the tips of the flaps inward. The fold ran along the outer edge of the diamond. Once I did this on both side, I refolded the flaps in half, put glue on one side, and brought the two flaps together. I then used clothespins to hold the sides together until the glue was dry.

Step 4: Cutting the Petal to Size

Now a normal kusudama flower is made of 5 (or 6) of these petals glued together. I cut the bottom off of each petal to ultimately create a space for the light when the flower ball is assembled. I clipped the last inch and a half off the bottom of one petal. I made a slight curve in the cut towards the rounded back of the petal as this resulted in a straight cut afterwards. I kept the discarded bottom from the first petal and used it as a template to cut the next 54 petals (NOTE: Next time I plan to cut another 1/3 inch off the petals from the bottom to create more space for the light bulb--however, too small of a cut loses the depth of the flowers). I only cut 55 petals total at this point because the last flower will be shallower as the light fixture and bulb will come through it.

Step 5: Plump the Petals

To make the petals thicker and rounder, I pushed the sides out and down softely (don't fold them or warp them).

Step 6: Arrange the Flower

Take 5 petals that match in color/style and arrange them into a flower.

Step 7: Glue the Flower

Once the flower looks right, add glue to the side of a petal (about 1/4 inch away from the petal center). I used small craft clothespins to hold the petals together while drying. Then add glue to the next petal and clothespin it to the prior petal. I contined this process until all the petals were glued and pinned.

Step 8: Star in the Center

When gluing the petals together, I made stars in the center to help judge the each petals was evenly spaced and arranged.

Step 9: Pin the Back for Gluing

Once I pinned all the petals in the front, I turned over the flower, and clothespinned the spaces closed to allow the glue to take hold.

Step 10: Make 11 Flowers and 5 Petals

I made a total of 11 flowers, and 5 petals for the 12th one. I didn't glue the last flower together yet, as I knew that I wanted it to wrap around the cord of the hanging light.

Step 11: Cut the Final Flower and Glue Most of It

I cut the final 5 petals shallower than the rest to allow space for the light. I glued all of the sides except on (note in the picture that i can space out two petals). The petals I did glue, I glued slightly higher up the side of the petal to create a slightly bigger star in the center (more space for the cord of the light).

Step 12: Make the Kusudama Ball

To prep the flower, I arranged individual flowers together in a circle, holding petals together with craft clothespins.

Step 13: Gluing the Ball

While it was pinned together, I started gluing individuals petals together, then repinned them before moving to the next one.

Step 14: Next Layer

Once the ring was all glued and the glue was given time to set, I pinned the next round of flowers to the first ring.

Step 15: Gluing Again

As before, I removed only one section of pins at a time for gluing, then repinned them to let the glue settle. I pinned them inside and outside.

Step 16: The Top (or Bottom) Piece

At this point there were only two flowers left, the top one and the bottom one. I glued the bottom one on all 5 petals, and pinned it into place on the ball. I used regular clothespins because I couldn't reach the back of these flowers, and they reach longer.

Step 17: Stage in Review

At this point, everything was glued and set, and I have one opening for the top flower. You can see the cavity space for the light bulb in the picture above (NOTE: again, when I make the next ones, I will make them with bigger paper, and cut them smaller so that there is more space inside the ball).

Step 18: Sealing and Coating

I used a clear spray sealant on the paper to make the flower ball last longer and stand up to some time. Make sure to spray the inside well to create a protective layer against the heat of the bulb (but only use an LED bulb as they produce significantly less heat).

Step 19: Setting the Cover on the Light - Chandelier

I bought a cheap small pendant light from Home Depot, and stripped off the light shade.

Step 20: The Final Flower

I took the final flower and wrapped it around the cord of the pendant light. I then glued it and pinned it so that it would stay in place until the glue dried.

Step 21: Completing the Ball

I slipped the kusudama ball base over the light (again, make sure you use an LED light as they produce less heat) bulb and pinned the top flower to the base.

Step 22: Connection

I didn't glue the top to the base because I needed to be able to change the light bulb. Instead I took 10 paper clips and folded them light in the picture. I slipped the bottom hook under the lip of the flowers around the base, and the pinched the top onto the top lip of the top flower. I used two paper clips per petal.

Step 23: Optional Heat Guard

Using an LED light, I didn't think I would need this step but I originally designed the final top flower to have a "heat guard" underneath. I cut the top out of a big pretzel bottle top and cut it into the same shape as the flower top. I also cut a hole in the center to allow the cord to go through. I planned to glue the flower base to the heat shield.

Step 24: Hanging and Illumination

I hung the completed Pendant Light from various locations and turned it on. The light cast on the wall presented in really interesting patterns.

Step 25: Design Option II - Centerpiece

To turn this design into a centerpiece for our wedding or into a nightlight for my neice I first lined the inside of the kusudama ball with a thin layer of tissue paper. I sprayed adhesive into the flower ball, and then pushed the tissue paper in. I then inflated a balloon inside to push the tissue paper into the inside walls of the ball, and trimmed any pieces that stuck out afterwards.

Step 26: The Bottom Piece

The last flower (the one that was the top of the chandelier) is the bottom flower to this design. I first trimmed the tips of the petals so that the flower would lay flat on the table when face down. I stuck an LED push light to the back of the flower, and set it on the table

Step 27: Assembly and Illumination

I then put the kusudama ball on the base. I did not attach the base to the ball in any permanent way so that I can just take the ball off the base at any time and turn off the light. The soft ambient effect of the tissue paper looked really nice.

Step 28: Other Aspects

These just show pictures of the centerpiece in different levels of lighting.

Step 29: Chandelier With Tissue Paper Liner

Just to see the effect, I added the tissue paper to the pendant light, I rehung it from the ceiling to see the color. It looked really nice. I would like to make a few more and hang them together. At 40 Watts, the light output is perfect for a wedding centerpiece or a nightlight. You could use a higher wattage for brighter lighting, but be wary of the heat factor. Make sure to use LED lights and treat the paper. Also make sure the light bulb is not touching any part of the cover. The Centerpieces work well as they do not heat up in any noticeable way.

Lamps and Lighting

Participated in the
Lamps and Lighting

Green Design Contest

Participated in the
Green Design Contest

Wedding Contest

Participated in the
Wedding Contest

Battery Powered Contest

Participated in the
Battery Powered Contest



    • Growing Beyond Earth Maker Contest

      Growing Beyond Earth Maker Contest
    • Pets Challenge

      Pets Challenge
    • Beauty Tips Contest

      Beauty Tips Contest

    17 Discussions


    3 years ago

    This is pretty amazing!

    I've been making kusudamas for a while, but somehow never thought to put a light inside of them. Totally didn't occur to me to cut the ends off to create a hollow!

    I will definately have to try this!

    I agree with the other person here in that it would be interesting to make it out of clear sheeting. Things to try are OHT's (overhead transparancy sheets, the things you use with overhead projectors) and maybe cellophane, since that comes in different colours. Would suck to work with and glue though because of its thin nature and its sensitivity to moisture.

    Could possibly print on an OHT sheet with a colour laser printer to get tinting and shades.

    Good quality tracing paper might be an option too, as it's robust plasticy stuff and though white, it is kinda see through by design.

    Things to try, anyway. :)


    4 years ago

    I'm going to try making this because its really beautiful. Thank you for the detailed how-to. By the way, your fiance is one of the luckiest women alive! That you are taking the time to make all this for your wedding, and also one for your niece, is thoughtful and amazing. I bet your wedding will be out of this world gorgeous. Keep this up and you two will have a fantastic marriage-Cheers!


    5 years ago on Introduction

    I love that you used this model for the light; I never thought of cutting the units to make room for something inside. :)

    1 reply

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks. I've been experimenting with kusudama designs lately. Its pretty versatile. I'm thinking of making a collection around the design


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks! Overall it's really not too hard, just repetitive. Lots of folding and gluing.


    5 years ago

    it would have been sooo much cooler if you used clear origami paper to make the kusadama flowers

    1 reply

    5 years ago

    This is so pretty. I was thinking of making something like this. Thank you for sharing.

    1 reply

    5 years ago