Cardboard Lamps and Sculptures

Hi everyone!

I’ve been loving the outcomes of my latest cardboard crafts obsession and wanted to share some of them with you. I wanted to take this simple, low cost, and abundant material that we all have at home and transform it into beautiful lamps and sculptures. I’ve also gotten a lot of questions from family, friends, and other Glowforge owners about how the lamps are made.

I started creating YouTube videos showing my process of designing, 3D modeling, laser cutting, and assembling these projects. I hope these videos can help some of you with your crafts and inspire you to explore new materials :slight_smile:!

1. Power Fist

2. Spherical Lamp

3. Helix Light

Let me know what you think and if you have any questions!


Cool layered projects.

How do you address the concerns of heat with lamps and cardboard?


Absolutly beautiful - can’t wait to get to this point with my GF! Thanks for INSPIRING!


Good question. The base of the lamp, which doesn’t get as hot as the bulb itself, is held in place at the smaller opening where the cord comes out. The light bulb is LED and sits away from the cardboard by about 1.5 to 2 inches. I haven’t experienced issues with heat from the light bulb on the cardboard.

With that said, there’s likely risks involved with projects like this, so its definitely worth pointing out to anyone thinking of making a lamp shade out of a paper material.


That’s a good idea. What wattage and size? A standard E26 base/A19 size? Trying to get a sense of scale.


It’s a standard 60 watt LED bulb. I was just thinking it would be easier to show what I was describing instead of trying to write it out. Here are some photos. The idea was to keep the bulb away from making direct contact with the cardboard like a standard paper based floor and table lamp is typically made.


60 watt equivalent leds are like 6 watts actual power. I could see how that can work here without much heat, you have good clearance.


Well, I’ll tell you what I think…I think they are incredible! I love the very modern and simplistic designs of all of them. Thank you so much for showing us!


Great work.

Wondering where you source your cardboard.

I have been working on a large scale design, but haven’t pulled the trigger as I’m not particularly satisfied with the sources I’ve found so far. Probably just being too picky…


His video on the spherical lamp mentions he gets it from Amazon. Can’t wait for GF to roll out their Proofgrade cardboard :wink:

Really like the way these came out. The globe in the original marketing video was really captivating, and seeing these types of projects are always exciting to see.


Very cool.

I am going to have to think of a place to hang one. So I can make one too.


My opinion is that these are very, very appealing. I love the texture of the cardboard and the interplay that results with the light. The spherical lamp is my favorite because of its simplicity. It reminds me of the Phillips Hue Go lamps.


Incredible work Tim and thanks for the inspiration! Do you ever sell your designs? While I am totally inspired I also realize I am limited in my skills/ability to create something like this. :blush:



I get mine in bulk from Amazon, but I’ll probably switch over to a local recycling facility in the future. The ones from amazon come with a slight curve at the center, so the material never lays flat. However, it cuts well with the crumb tray pins to hold the material down on the cutting bed :slight_smile:


I’ve been considering selling the cut files for these projects, so maybe I’ll setup a small Etsy account soon :slight_smile:. Thanks for the idea!


That’s been my concern, it’s not guaranteed to be flat. Local sources like uline and blicks can’t guarantee it either.

Here’s an interesting note - if you pin the material down on Glowforge’s crumb tray and get it to be as flat as possible (it’ll still bevel up at the center of the sheet) and you run your cuts, the resulting pieces come out pretty flat. I have a feeling it’s just the composition of the material that causes it to buckle.

I haven’t noticed any issues with the dimensions of my pieces nor issues with cutting all the way through. The piece actually “flattens out” when it’s cut and it falls flat on the laser bed. You can see it in the Spherical Lamp YouTube video at around 7:44.

I’d love to see the big project you have in mind. Hope you give it a shot!


can you put the cardboard in something to “flatten” it?

I use the Amazon cardboard all the time. It’s less warped than a lot of the wood I’ve used; doesn’t bother me a bit.


That’s a great thought - I tried putting flat pieces of plywood with heavy weights on top of the cardboard for a little over 2 weeks and the pieces still returned to the original warped shape. It hasn’t been an issue for laser cutting and assembling products, so I don’t worry about it anymore