How to Make a Japanese Style Lamp & Lantern


Spruce up your indoor or outdoor space with homemade Japanese lamps and lanterns. Although they look complicated, they are simple to construct and make an impressive impact hanging from the ceiling or placed on the ground. The gentle light that filters through the lamp or lantern creates a calm ambiance and serves as an eye-catching conversation piece. Use brightly colored papers with attractive patterns and textures for the lamps.

Things You'll Need

  • 1/4-inch wood Saw
  • Wood glue
  • Construction or rice paper
  • Scissors
  • Wood, 3/4 inch thick and 1/2 inch thick
  • Battery-operated light

Japanese Lamp

  • Cut eight, vertical lengths of ¼-inch-thick wood to form the inner frame of the lamp. Keep the pieces 14 inches long. Also cut eight, ¼-inch-by-5½-inch horizontal bars.

  • Create a ¼-inch-wide, ?-inch-deep notch 2 inches from each end of a vertical length. Create a notch ½ inch from each end of four of the horizontal bars that measures ¼ inch wide and ? inch deep.

  • Cut each end of a horizontal bar at a 45-degree angle. The angle's slope must rise up to the notched section of the horizontal.

  • Place two vertical bars parallel to each other with the notches facing upward. Position a notched horizontal bar so its notches line up against the notches on the two vertical bars. Apply wood glue over the notches and press together to join the horizontal bar to the two verticals.

  • Position a second, notched horizontal on the top notches of the verticals and glue together so you form a tall rectangle. Repeat the procedure to form a second, identical, tall rectangle.

  • Stand both the rectangles so their angled ends face each other. To join them together, glue the remaining horizontal bars between each side of the rectangles. The ends should form 90-degrees angles when joined.

    Glue a sheet of rice paper or colored construction paper to each inner side of the lamp.

  • Draw the outline for the four legs on ¾-inch-thick wood. Keep each leg 17 inches long and 1½ inches wide. Curve the last 3½ inches of each length's curve out by 1 inch. Cut over the outlines with a saw so you have four legs.

  • Form two notches on the inner side of the leg where it begins to curve out. Form a ¼ inch wide and equally thick notch 2¼ inches from the top, and another identical notch 12 inches from the top of the same leg.

  • Create eight, ½-inch isosceles triangles from ¼-inch thick wood. Glue the tip of each triangle and insert it into a notch in the leg. Join the leg to each corner of the construction paper rectangle. Measure and cut a 7½-inch square from a ½-inch-thick wood. Glue it to the top of the rectangle lamp.

Japanese Lantern

  • Fold a sheet of construction paper in half with the long sides are together. Mark 2 inches along the upper edge and two sides of the folded paper before forming vertical slits through the fold.

  • Unfold the sheet and glue the short sides together to form a cylinder. Cut a circular cutout to form the base of the cylinder and glue together.

  • Cut an 8- to 10-inch-long strip of paper and glue its ends to the sides of the cylinder for hanging. Place a battery operated candle over the base of the Japanese lantern.

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