How to make a DIY lampshade

25 x highlight in the apartment: DIY paper lampshade.

If you are lucky enough to walk past a light house in the evening, your gaze inevitably falls on the dazzling variety of lamps and lights. Paper lights in particular have become increasingly popular with designers in recent years. The soft translucence of paper makes interesting shades possible, and paper can be shaped almost unlimitedly.

Unfortunately, such designer lights can cost several hundred euros. Therefore, we have collected some ideas for you that you can implement independently as a DIY. For some of the suggestions you will need a round paper lamp (also called a Japanese balloon) as a basis. These paper lights are very inexpensive to have almost everywhere. In addition, a lamp holder is of course required, and its procurement should not be a problem either. Above all, however, choosing the right paper is crucial. High-quality papers, such as the "elephant skin" paper, make a clear difference in the effect here. If the lampshade is very close to the light source, you should definitely use coated paper. Transparent paper is generally coated and is particularly suitable when several layers are to be placed one on top of the other. We will explain the details to you below. Have fun browsing and upcycling!

1.) Spring light

Don't worry: no bird had to lose its feathers for this magical lamp. The feathers are cut out of normal printer paper and then - from bottom to top - stuck row by row to a Japanese balloon. In this video everything is explained to you in detail. The video is in Spanish, but easy to follow due to the detailed pictures.


2.) Paper plate floor lamp

With this floor lamp, a purchased but boring-looking lamp has been pepped up in an original way. All you had to do was fold a few paper plates in the middle and glue them to the lampshade at the folding edge with a hot glue gun.


3.) Fringed star

Rays above rays - this lamp is fascinating because of its delicate play of shadows. The basis for the lampshade is again a Japanese balloon, which is pasted in turns like the spring lamp. Each row is no more than 1 cm above the previous one and is always offset in such a way that the rays overlap. Speaking of "rays": These are cut from sturdy tracing paper. Here you should pay attention to the so-called running direction of the paper, because every paper has - due to production - the tendency to bend slightly. This curvature should be done on the sides and not lengthways so that the rays stick out nicely later. Here everything is explained to you again in detail.

apartment therapy

4.) Paper cup ball

The paper cup ball is a little less complex. Again, a Japanese balloon serves as the basis. Next, you'll need quite a few half-height paper cups (which can be bought very cheaply) that are glued tightly together on the lampshade. The instructions are here.


5.) Heaven and Hell Ball

Japanese balloon embellishment number 4: Do you still know the game "Heaven and Hell"? A square piece of paper was folded into a finger game that could be opened and closed in two directions (see instructions). You now need this finger game in large quantities. The center of the underside is always attached to the round paper lamp with hot glue - the corners then nestle themselves. See also this description in English.


6.) Heaven and Hell scales

The following lamp is simply a variant of the "heaven and hell ball". The finger play is made from transparent paper and glued to the round lampshade when pressed flat.


7.) Origami hanging lamp

For people who appreciate the Japanese art of precise folding as a relaxation exercise, this lampshade is just the thing. Coated sheets of construction paper are suitable for this, the top and bottom of which have different colors or patterns. A folding template to print out is available here.


8.) Paper roll light

Those who have less experience with handicrafts (or two left hands) can show off with this engaging designer lamp. It is made very simply - and looks stunning. What you need are a few sheets of white A4 paper (approx. 130 g / m2), a ruler and a craft knife. Small cuts are now made on the left and right of the corners of the paper so that it can be rolled up and hooked on. All individual rolls of paper are now hooked together again - and the lampshade is ready. Sounds complicated? If you've watched the video, you'll understand.


9.) ammonite

At the time of the dinosaurs, millions of them populated the seas: impressive cephalopods with spiral-shaped shells. Because of their frequency, they are very popular nowadays as fossils - and as inspiration for interior designers. Again, all you need for this lamp is paper, a ruler and a craft knife. Two triangles of different sizes are cut out of the paper, into which strips are then drawn with a cutter knife. If you now put the tips of the triangle together, the lamp is in principle already finished (a lamp socket is of course still missing). See also the instructions as a video.


10.) Vortex ball

This hanging lamp turns everyone's head. For this you should get sturdy, coated paper, from which you cut out the curved basic shape several times. The individual parts are then simply plugged into one another. In the video you can see how easy it is.


11.) crack edges

The effect of paper lights depends heavily on the material. This is especially true for this lampshade. For this purpose, an old ceiling lamp was "pulled out" down to the wire frame and covered with a beautiful, matt shimmering paper. Two smaller wire rings are attached inside the lampshade and covered with brown paper, which has a high proportion of wood. Finally, carefully tear out the lower edges of all three umbrellas so that the layer behind them protrudes from the bottom.


12.) Hanging caterpillar

For this distinctive designer piece you need a lamp holder, a sturdy wire and white construction paper. The wire is shaped into a crescent and attached to the lamp holder. The construction paper is cut into 8 oblong triangles, each triangle is always 4 cm longer than the previous one. At the thin ends, the corners of the paper are cut so that they can be put together in the form of a loop. Then the loops only have to be lined up according to their size on the bent wire and fixed with hot glue.


13.) Swarm of butterflies

A happy flutter ensures summer lightness in the living area. For this decoration idea, butterflies are punched out of the lampshade (you can buy appropriate holes). The removed butterflies are carefully bent in the middle so that their wings point slightly upwards. The butterflies are now attached to the wire frame of the lamp with transparent elastic cords in such a way that they seem to frolic under the shade.


14.) Origami ball

Is this lampshade really just a piece of paper? Yes, that is him. The lamp with its symmetrical zigzag pattern inspires with its timeless style. You can find instructions in this video.


15.) Meadow of flowers 

Another punching project. This time not with butterflies, but with flowers (there are also inexpensive punches for this). You will also need a Japan balloon, tracing paper, and hot glue. The flowers are punched out of the tracing paper and fixed to the Japan balloon with hot glue. There is also an English explanation of the work steps, but the flower meadow lamp is actually not that complicated.


16.) Wicker basket

This example, woven from strips of paper, is a very special kind of tea light. You can easily remember the instructions for such wicker baskets for other purposes!


17.) Spiral light

In the store, these spiral lights cost over 500 euros each. Admittedly, there they are made of frosted glass and not paper. But you can get the same effect with a decent elephant paper. You just take 2 paper cups and glue them with the opening on top of each other. Then you take strips of paper that are about a third longer than the paper cups that are glued together. You arrange the paper strips at even intervals around the cups. There is also a video for this lamp.


18.) Bird of Paradise

This extravagant lamp basically consists of a large piece of sturdy tracing paper. Elongated fringes are cut into the left and right of the paper, which get shorter and shorter towards the top until everything looks like wings. The wings are then attached to the lamp holder with a wire. Since you need the right feeling for the shape of this lamp, it is something for real craft professionals - or for skilled hairdressers!


19.) Bouquet of roses

Much simpler, but no less beautiful, is this rose lampshade. It consists of 24 paper cups. 12 roses are formed from the 24 paper cups (you can find out how to do this in this video), the 12 roses are again glued together to form a round ball. Shaping the roses is quite time consuming, but it's well worth it.


20.) Flower tendril

The 20th lamp in our gallery is the seventh based on a Japanese balloon. In this variant, flowers are tinkered with paper and placed on the lampshade in the form of a curved tendril. This lamp leaves a lot of space for your own ideas. If you still want instructions, you can take a look at the individual steps here.


21.) Shining book

Books are considered a cultural asset by many. But to be completely honest: not every book is worth a place on the shelf. If you own a specimen in which only the paper is too good for the garbage can, then you can create a wonderful wall lamp out of it. A piece about 7 cm deep is sawn out of the book spine (a fretsaw is suitable for this). The lamp holder is fastened in this recess. On the opposite side, a hole is now drilled through the cover and the sides. Cords are now pulled through these holes to prevent the pages from fluttering around when opened. Last but not least, the book just needs to be opened and attached to the wall. Here you can follow the work steps with the help of pictures.


22.) Deep sea fish

Kirigami is the name given to the variety of Japanese craftsmanship that not only allows paper to be folded, but also to be cut. The following deep sea fish lamp is an impressive example of the results that can be achieved with this craft technique. This introduction to crafting koi carp is a good way to get started.


23.) Fluffy snowball

How many Japanese balloons have already been embellished here? In any case, now comes the last one. For the fluffy-soft effect, countless filter baskets were glued tightly together. You can find out exactly how this works here.


24.) Colorful triangles

The penultimate example in our series impresses with its bright colors and clear design language. With a craft knife and ruler you cut triangles of various sizes from 2 sheets of colored paper. The 2 sheets of paper are now rolled into bags, fixed with glue and put into each other. An original eye-catcher is ready (video instructions).

architecture design

25.) Interleaved light

The best comes last? Well, at least this lamp doesn't have to hide from anyone. Fold 5 strips of dark construction paper into even squares, which you then cut in the middle on each side. The squares can now be staggered one inside the other. In the top square, a holder for the lamp holder is mounted from the same construction paper. You can also understand this exactly in the video.


As you can see, there are countless ways to create impressive lights out of paper. "And how do you clean them?" My mother would ask immediately. Quite simply: with a feather duster or with a hair dryer. "And don't they break right away?" My mother asks. No, not if you've used decent construction paper. The biggest problem is that paper is not forgiving of mistakes when it is cut and folded. In the case of complicated copies, you should therefore first practice with ordinary copy paper before you start your project. But then there is no longer any excuse for continuing to have boring standard lampshades hanging in his living room. The paper lights not only look good, they also bathe your entire apartment in a new light. A real highlight. So share this article with all design lovers and creative handicraft fanatics you know!