“All grown-ups were once children... but only few of them remember it.” ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
Long-time Instructables user, first-time contributor. My partner and I have a special place in our heart for the book Le Petit Prince (The Little Prince). We thought it would be fun to make our own little home planet - a paper-mache lamp lit by a single LED. You could either wire up the LED yourself, or you could use a readymade battery-powered LED light. Make sure to only use lights that don't create much heat, as paper + hot light bulb could be dangerous.
Step 1: Gather Materials
For Lampshade & Rose
- White Tissue Paper
- School Glue
- Fake flowers or fabric cut into flower shapes (ours were recycled from a dollar store lei)
- Fibreoptic Cable (optional, ours was salvaged from an old Christmas tree)
- Green Paint
- Glue Gun
- Large Paint Brush
- Battery Powered LED light from around the house
- 1 LED (we used a 3mm warm white LED)
- 1000 Ohm Resistor
- Toggle Switch (note: the one we use is overkill for this project, it has three settings on-off-on, you only need one that can do on-off)
- 9V Battery Connector + Battery
- Spare Wire
- Soldering Iron
- Helping Hands
Step 2: Make the Planet
Inflate the balloon to the desired size. if it is oblong you can use masking tape to make it round. Cut the tissue paper into pieces; the size and shape don't really matter. Mix a few tablespoons of glue with an equal amount of water (we found tissue paper rips if the glue isn't thinned out). Wet the balloon and stick pieces of tissue paper to it, using your fingers or the paintbrush to get the tissue damp. You don't have to cover the knot on the balloon. Do one or two layers of tissue paper and let dry.
Once it has dried, add another one or two layers and let dry. Next, coat it with a layer of non-watered down glue to help give the structure some strength.
Repeat until there are approximately 6 layers of tissue paper.
Step 3: Make the Rose
Gather the fibreoptic cables and secure them with tape. Cut holes in the centre of approximately 12 fabric flowers. Put the fibreoptic cable through the holes, leaving about an inch at the end. Use a glue gun periodically between flowers to ensure they are well stuck together. Pinching the flowers while the glue is hot will help give them shape.
Once you are satisfied with the shape of the rose, wrap the fibreoptic stem in tissue paper, and use a school glue/water solution (like in step 2), to adhere it.
Step 4: Make the Light
Skip this step if you are using a readymade light.
Creating a simple DIY light is a good beginner's project. Before soldering, try connecting the components together using a breadboard to ensure the circuit works.
In this circuit, the order of components doesn't matter, however, the LED is directional and needs to be connected facing the right way (the long arm should be closest to the red wire of the battery pack). The resistor prevents the LED from burning out. The switch can be used to turn the lamp on/off. Once you have tested that the circuit works, solder the components together so they are more durable
If you have never worked with these components or soldered before this Adafruit guide is a good resource for getting started.
Step 5: Putting It Together
You can now pop the balloon. It's possible that this might cause the paper mache to collapse. If it does, remove the deflated balloon, and blow into the hole to return the mache to its original shape. Use scissors to even out the hole at the bottom.
Puncture a small hole on the top where you want the flower. Place the flower through the hole, and secure it with hot glue. You may wish to add a layer of tissue paper around the base of the flower to hide the seam.
Put the light into the planet. We left the switch for ours hanging out the back, however you may wish to create a base to attach it to.
Step 6: Finishing It Off
Paint the stem of the flower. To improve durability, apply a thin layer of school glue to the whole planet. This will make it shinier and surprisingly strong.
Step 7: The Great Beyond...
We thought white tissue paper lamps look super interesting, so we also used this technique on a few other lighting projects (pictured). We'd love to know what you've made using paper mache.
“It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.” ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, The Little Prince
Runner Up in the