Make your own Japanese lamp

Japanese Lamp

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Are you a fan of the Japanese motif? If so, you have probably checked out some Japanese lighting sold in home furniture stores. But why buy those costly lamps when you can make it yourself?

DIY Japanese Lamp

This beautiful DIY lighting is great as a night lamp you can use for reading before bedtime or as an additional decorative lighting to any room.

This project is a super light-weight lamp and not a very strong structure. So make sure that you place this where it won’t get accidentally knocked around.

If you want a more secure and stable lamp, you can still use this tutorial as guide!

Why spend on costly lamps from stores when you can buy inexpensive materials needed and make it yourself?

Click on any image to start lightbox display. Use your Esc key to close the lightbox.8-)


  • 2-ply strong Corrugated Cardboard
  • Paper – regular, textured craft paper or tracing paper
  • Bamboo, Wooden Chopsticks or Kebab Skewers
  • Straight Batten Lightbulb Socket
  • Plug
  • A few meters Flex – 2-core or 3-core
  • Inline Switch (optional)
  • 11W CFL Lightbulb


  • Glue Gun
  • Craft Knives
  • Scissors
  • Diagonal / Wire Cutters or Nail Clippers


Japanese Lamp

Before doing this you will need to decide how big you want your lamp to be. You are constrained by the length of your chosen framing material (unless you want to go hardcore woodwork and make joints) and the size of your paper. I chose a shape a little smaller than the A4 paper I was using in roughly the same aspect ratio. If you are very keen on mathematical aesthetics you might like to use the golden ratio, but a slightly tall rectangle is generally a good way to go. Avoid a shape wider than it is tall, your lamp will look squat and weird.

Japanese Lamp

Cut two stick-like things (hereafter referred to as “sticks”) to the height of your frame and two to the width of a side.

Glue a short stick to a long stick.

Japanese LampGlue another short stick to the free end of the long stick, then get the right angle as much as possible and glue the remaining long stick between the two short sticks.

Japanese Lamp

Now you have to decide what, if any, motif you want on the side of the . I used this asymmetric square pattern because I liked the way it looks- anything within the bounds of reason that you can construct with a glue gun and bamboo skewers, go for it. I will provide instructions on how to construct this motif which can be generalised to many rectilinear patterns.

I was intending for the small rectangle in the middle of the motif to be square, but screwed up my measurements, and by complete chance it ended up having the same aspect ratio as the side which actually looks much better. The exact lengths are unimportant but I will assume you have “short motif sticks” and “long motif sticks”.

Japanese LampMeasure one short motif stick length from one long side of the frame, at the top and bottom.

Japanese Lamp

Glue a long motif stick to one of the points you just marked, along the line connecting the two points.

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