Lamp Shade, Paper, Modular




This instructable is how to make the Ed Chew lamp shade from new card stock instead of the recycled material.
Photos and article of the original can be found here:

These shades are based on the work of Designer Heinz Strobl.

This shade is put together with out any glue, just cut and folded card stock. Use any color you like, I used an off white because that was what I had on hand.

This shade will take between 30 and 40 hours to make, and I would not recommend this for someone who is easily bored.

Step 1: Matierels and Tools Needed


You will need a 100 sheet pack of 8.5 inch by 11 inch, card stock.


Some type of paper cutter..

Step 2: The Modules

The entire shade is made from two modules.

A triangle and a connector.

The size of the triangle I chose was 1 inch on each side and 1 inch deep.

The connectors are 7/8 inch wide and 4 inches long.

Step 3: Making a Template for the Triangles

All of the triangle modules have to be the same size.

Each triangle is made from a piece of card stock 5.5 inch by 1 inch

In order to accomplish this I made a scoring template.

You will need a piece of card stock 4 1/2 inches by 3 1/8 inches.

Draw a line 1 inch from each 4 1/2 inch long side, this should make the center division 1 1/8 inch wide.

Draw lines across this center division 1 inch apart. This will leave a half inch at the end.

Next cut slits about 1/32 inch wide centered on these lines. I used a craft knife and a cutting mat.

Now fold along the long lines, the easiest way to do this is with a straight edge and score with the back of the point of a knife before folding.

Fold one side down put a little glue on it and fold the other side down and hold for a few seconds until the glue holds it.

Put a small piece of tape around the end with the 1/2 inch showing.

To use the template slide the card stock into the open end as far as it will go. Then using the back of the point of a knife score the card stock through each of the four slits. The card stock should not be cut, just compressed when scoring.

Step 4: Cutting the Card Stock and Folding the Modules.

The strips for the triangles are made by cutting the card stock sheet into two 5 1/2 inch by 8 1/2 inch pieces.

Then cut these into 1 inch wide strips that are 5 1/2 inch long.

The strips for the connectors are made by cutting the card stock sheet into two 4 inch by 11 1/2 inch pieces.

Then cut these into 7/8 inch wide strips that are 4 inches long.

To fold the triangles, after scoring the card stock, fold the 1/2 inch piece first, then fold on the other score lines.

It should look like the first picture. Now hold the triangle and fold the remaining piece down to form the completed triangle as in the middle picture.

The connectors are just folded in half.

The last picture shows several triangles and connectors ready for assembly.

Step 5: How to Conect Modules

Slide one side of a connector through a triangle as in the first picture.

Keeping the fold of the connector held tightly against the triangle fold the end of the connector down against the triangle, as in the second picture.

Now add a second triangle to the other side of the connector and fold it down as well.

It should look like the third picture.

This is how all connections are made. No glue is needed, when the triangles are held against each other they hold the connector folds down.

Step 6: Making More Conections

By connecting 6 triangles you will make a hexagon.

The hexagon in the first picture is shown from the back .

Now add 3 more triangles, as in the second picture, and you have a larger triangle with 3 modules on a side.

Step 7: Making the Large Triangle With 6 Modules Per Side

The shade is made from triangles with 6 modules per side.

For each triangle with 6 modules per side you will have to make 4 triangles with 3 modules per side.

The first picture shows the way these 4 triangles will be connected.

The easiest way I found to connect them is to turn them front down and insert three connectors at a time, as in the second picture.

Then turn this over and push the connectors all the way through, as in the third picture

When the connectors are folded down it should look like the fourth picture.

Connect the other 2 triangles and you will have your first 6 module per side triangle, as in the last picture.

Step 8: Making the Top

You will need 5 of the 6 module per side triangles to make the top section.

The first picture shows the 5 triangles ready to be connected.

The second picture shows the 5 triangles connected with the last side ready to be connected.

The last picture shows all of the triangles connected forming a domed up pentagon.

Step 9: Making the Center Section.

To make the center section you will need 10 of the 6 module per side triangles.

The first picture shows these stacked up ready for connection.

The second and third pictures show how I put six connectors through from the back and then turn it over and push the connectors all the way through.

The forth picture shows what you will have when all ten triangles are put together into a long strip.

The last picture shows this strip connected into a ring.

Step 10: Add Top to Midle Section

The first picture shows the top section sitting on the middle section.

The connectors have to be inserted from the inside and then folded down between the triangle modules

This can be a little tricky, but it can be done.

The last picture shows the top and middle sections connected.

Step 11: The Bottom Pieces

For the bottom 5 triangles I made a modified 6 module per side triangle.

I left 3 of the module triangles off of one of the points.

When finished this gives you an opening in the bottom large enough to change the light bulb.

Before I put the bottom pieces in place I inserted the light cord and socket.

I used a clear DVD spacer that comes with a spindle of DVDs or CDs on top of the socket to help spread the weight of the shade over a larger area.

With the shade hanging you can now add the last five modified triangles to the bottom.

Step 12: FinIshed

This is what it will look like with out the light on and with it on.

In order to get the strong shadows you will need as close to a point light source as possible.

A Compact Florescent Light will not give you any shadows at all.

I found a clear incandescent 200 watt special purpose bulb at my local HomeDepot that works fairly well.

When you have completed this shade you will have made over 700 of the triangle modules and over 1000 connections.

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25 Discussions


3 years ago

Hi, aweome Instructable! Thank you for the detailed instructions and pictures. We are just building this lamp and have completed the top part, and the triangles for the middle. When combining them we notices that the numbers don't fit: 6x6 = 36 for the top and 5x6 = 30 (chain of 10 triangles) for the middle part. Do we need to use 12 triangles for the middle so both have 36 sides to combine, or did you skip some triangles when merging the top and middle? Thanks for and advice =)

thank you for your reply

I know this is not for sale.I am trying to make this lamp from three years but i failed n now i want to buy this . if you have some email address of the maker please tell me i want to contact him.or if you contact to him and ask him .??

thank you once again


i love the lamp you made .I just wanted to ask that will you please made one for me i will pay you for this i need it in 2 weeks.actually i tried it by my self making it from the orignal tutorial i used tetra packs but i failed.

i will be very thankful to you if you give some positive response.please

1 reply
davedabeatrix aberto

Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

I think you will find that things on the instructibles web site are generally not for sale.

Most are made for the benefit of the maker and the instructions shared so other people can make their own items.

This lamp shade was originally made by some one else, my contribution was to show how to make it, not to sell them.


4 years ago on Introduction

hi i like your work very much i want to ask that how you join or close these connectors please answer me

1 reply

Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

Look at "Step 5", of this instructable. It shows pictures of the way a connector is used to join two triangles. All connections are made exactly the same way.


5 years ago on Introduction

I marvel your endurance, well done ; )

May I ask why you didn't use recycling material for your build?

6 replies

Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

This project uses a lot of material.

Card stock is readily available, is rather inexpensive, and uniform size and thickness.

The problem with recycled material is getting enough, the time it takes to gather, and it is not uniform in any way. You would probably have to get a thousand or so of the drink cartons to make the shade the way the original was made. In the end I think you could spend more to gather the recycled material than the cost of new card stock. I just bought a 250 sheet pack of card stock for $7.36.


Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

Is the card stock the same thickness as beverage cartons? Or would I have to make some adjustments to the template if I used tetra bricks material? I also wonder if the lamp would become heavier then...

I kind of like the metallic look you get by using the drink packages...


Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

I do not know how the thickness and weight of drink box material compares with card stock.

As long as they are cut to my sizes, I do not think you would need to make any adjustments to the template, for the variance in thickness. The triangles just need to all be the same size.

Another thing I did not mention in my instuctable, the material that makes the connectors, is basically all you see in the finished shade. The connectors wrap all of the triangle material and cover all but a small part at the corners.

You could use anything for the triangles and then use the metallic material just for the connectors.


Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

That's good to know! Thank You!

I really would like to give it a shot, I'm just not sure if I have enough persistence.


Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

You can work on this a little at a time. Any time you have an hour or so. It took me over two weeks to make this working an hour or two at a time. I made all of the 6 module per side triangles and just stacked them up until I had them all made and then connected them together.


Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

Maybe I should just start cutting and folding every time I finish a beverage carton. This would make it a real long term project - but with a given rhythm so I wouldn't forget about it.

Thanks for the encouragement!

Antzy Carmasaic

5 years ago

Nice build. The sharp triangular shadow image by Ed Chew was a render, an expert lamp maker told me. This is still a good effect...

2 replies
davedaAntzy Carmasaic

Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

Thanks for the info on the Ed Chew image. I was sure that it was a manipulated image. The only way to get close to those sharp shadows would be with a point light source.


Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

You might be surprised how often this happens. There is a huge amount of rendered imagery out there these much.


5 years ago on Introduction

wow what tedious work! You must be proud, it came out very clean and well! =) excellent work!


5 years ago

wonderful ....