Grocery Bag Pendant Lamp




About: Instructables got me started on an incredible DIY journey, which turned into a blog, which replaced my day job in 2 years. Anything is possible here at Instructables.

Trader Joe's is one of my favorite grocery stores – yummy foods, happy people, and those cool looking paper bags!

This pendant lamp is made with one and a half paper bag. All you need is a little folding.

And the magic of origami: it can shape-shift into a much smaller object!

Step 1: Materials, Tools, & a Little Practice

Materials and tools:

  • paper grocery bags : if you can't get interesting looking ones, you can transform a plain bag with paint, stamp, etc
  • string or yarn to tie the ends
  • sharp tool to poke holes in paper
  • scissors to cut paper
  • pendant lamp cord
  • IMPORTANT: use LED light bulb, 7.5w will light up like 40 watts! very little heat = minimal danger of fire!

I designed a folding pattern for this pendant, and practice diagram you can download ( Download pattern and diagram here), or create your own!

Print the diagram out on a piece of letter size paper and practice a little. The key here is to get comfortable with the “mountain” and “valley” folds. Mountain folds are towards you, and valley folds away from you!

Step 2: Accordion Folds

After a little practice from the patterns in the previous step, the way those “mountain” and “valley” folds coming together will become easy to you!

We will be using the same pattern on a larger scale to make our pendant. Again, here's the pattern for the origami paper lamp shade we are making.

Begin with 2 paper grocery bags you like, remove the handles carefully, cut off bottom of the bag and open up the one side that is glued so it’s ONE continuous piece and ready for folding. Use the dimensions in the download diagram as a guide. It does not have to be so exact since your grocery bag might be different in size.

Now we can start with the long ( full bag) piece. Fold it lengthwise in half, then fold each of the half piece in half, repeat till you dived the whole length into 16 equal parts with these accordion folds.

Tip: be as precise as possible in this first step!

Step 3: Diagonal Folds

Fold the first row of diagonal folds, don’t worry about mountain or valley yet, just make some good creases. You can mark the next folding points with light pencil marks if that helps. After all the creases are made, fold them according to the diagram, the photos might be helpful as well.

Next, cut the second bag to half the length of this piece, and start with the accordion folds, this time into 8 equal parts
since it’s half the length. Repeat with all the folds. Pay attention that the accordion folds start and end differently than the first piece, this is not required but will make the gluing a bit easier.

Step 4: Glue and String

Join the 2 sections together using either glue or double sided tape. Just find the parts that matches, overlap them, and glue them together.

The final step is to poke holes at the top tip, and thread a string or yarn through the holes.

As you tighten the string, gently form a swirl by pushing the tabs on the inside, like in the photo above.

Tie a knot that can be loosened so you can insert a pendant cord easily.

Step 5: Dress Up the Pendant Cord

This plain pendant cord is transformed to a charming one by wrapping Sisal Twine around it and hot gluing the ends. Natural Hemp Twine would be beautiful too!

Step 6: Make Your Evenings Merry and Bright

Choose a nice bracket, like this tree branch from the lovely tree trimming people, and hang your pendant!

Again, remember it’s important to use low heat LED light bulbs near paper, such as 7.5 watt LED bulbs!

Step 7:

Papercraft Contest

Third Prize in the
Papercraft Contest

2 People Made This Project!


  • Big and Small Contest

    Big and Small Contest
  • First Time Author

    First Time Author
  • Toys Contest

    Toys Contest

30 Discussions


2 years ago

This is so wonderful.


3 years ago

I suppose if you spray some water-resistant lacquer which creates a compact, water-resistant layer on the paper, you could use it outdoors too - it shouldn't be hard to seal off the space where the cord gets into the lightshade with some silicone.


3 years ago on Introduction

This just has to win the origami prize! it's the best in that category :-) All the best!

2 replies

Reply 3 years ago on Introduction

thank you shazni! =)

i am truly honored to be among all these crazy inspiring projects!


Reply 3 years ago

Blissful2015 your photograph if the lamp is so special, it looks like autumn leaves on a tree. This makes me wonder how to "modge podge" real leaves onto a more translucent bag for another type of effect.
Thank you for inspiring more creativity!


3 years ago on Introduction

This looks phenomenal! I want one in my house right now. I'll start keeping an eye out for particularly classy grocery bags.

1 reply

3 years ago on Introduction

What a great effect. It looks so clean and modern for something made from scraps! And super easy; anyone could make one of these. Thanks for the guide. :)

1 reply

3 years ago on Introduction

Maybe it's just me, but I really struggled to follow the folds needed; perhaps you could add some steps or a video? It's a lovely looking project and seems like it should be simple to make too...

1 reply

thank you for the feedback! =) for now, try this video

different design, but with some similar folding processes!


3 years ago on Step 7

really cool upcycle, saves money and adds panache, yeah i was wondering about the fire hazard and saw the caveat. thanks for sharing


3 years ago on Introduction

Totally cool, it matches my style to the tee. I will be making this soon after the holidays.


4 years ago on Introduction

I made something similar a while back, I placed it over and existing tube table lamp shade. It got far to hot though because it wasn't LED, I might give this a go though because it looks much more interesting on patterned paper.

origami, lamp.jpg
1 reply