How to Make a Japanese Hanging Lamp

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Why pay a hefty sum for a Japanese-style lantern when you can make one by recycling décor items? Most Oriental lamps are handmade, which gives the lighting fixture its unique character. Here are the steps for making an Oriental hanging lamp using leftover Venetian blind slats and bamboo sticks.

Things You'll Need

  • Venetian blind slats
  • Bamboo sticks
  • Interlining or cheesecloth
  • Hot glue or construction adhesive
  • White glue
  • Knife
  • Scissors
  • Handsaw
  • Look around the house for materials you can use for the walls of the lantern, like leftover Venetian blind slats (the ones you remove when you size the blinds to fit your window) that are made of natural materials like bamboo, cane or reeds. Unwanted or discarded Roman shades are also excellent material for handmade Oriental lanterns. The criteria to consider is the material must be natural (for the Japanese look) and somewhat see-through to allow a hint of illumination.

  • Recycle decorative bamboo sticks to serve as the lantern's frame. Wooden dowels, pieces from broken furniture or even bamboo chopsticks can be recycled into lantern frames.

  • Make a design sketch of your lamp. Taking into consideration what materials you were able to gather, draw a design of your lamp. This will help you work out the dimensions of the lamp and the measurements of the materials you will use.

  • Cut a piece of interlining or cheesecloth to serve as the backing of the walls of the lamp. This backing has two purposes: to hold the pieces you have chosen as your lamp's walls and to diffuse the light from the light bulb inside the lamp.

  • Attach the walls to the interlining using white glue. After the white glue dries, attach the walls to the bamboo frames using hot glue or construction adhesive.

  • Attach an x-brace to the corners of the frame. This will help stabilize the lamp and become the anchor point for hanging.

  • Add decorative trim like split bamboo pieces.

  • Make another one, so you'll have a pair of hanging lamps.

Tips & Warnings

  • By starting with a design sketch you can decide how to build your lamp. You may want to split the bamboo to create a semi-circular, hollow canal to which you can attach the corners of the walls. Or you may want to tie two pieces of bamboo together to serve as the frame.

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