How to Make a Lamp Post Out of Cardboard

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Turn scrap cardboard into an elegant lamp.
Turn scrap cardboard into an elegant lamp. (Image: Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

The green movement has not only sparked an interest in recycling, it’s sparked an interest in cardboard. Many artists and homeowners are using cardboard for everything from furniture to wall art. Lamps are not an exception to this rule. In fact, if you’re looking for an inexpensive, DIY lamppost project, a cardboard craft endeavor could be just what you need. Cardboard is sturdy, versatile and often comes with a corrugated center that offers interesting visual effects.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 4-inch diameter, 1-inch thick cork discs
  • 1-inch diameter boring bit
  • Electric hand drill
  • 1-inch wide brass lamp tube
  • Corrugated cardboard
  • Circle punches, several sizes
  • Hot glue (optional)
  • High speed rotary tool
  • Carving tip
  • Light socket extension cord
  • Industrial stapler
  • Decorative light bulb

Drill a 1-inch hole down through the center of two 1-inch thick, 4-inch diameter cork discs with a 1-inch boring bit. You can get cork discs at your local craft store.

Push one of the discs onto the bottom of a 1-inch diameter brass tube. This gives you a solid base for building your lamp.

Slip a piece of cardboard into a circle punch and press the button, punching out a circle. Punch all 4-inch diameter circles or punch them as small as 1 1/2 inches in diameter. You’ll need about 90 circles for a 2-foot post.

Slip the cardboard circles down over the brass tube. Arrange them by size to create an undulating lamp post. If your circles are all 4 inches, you’ll have a cylindrical post. Push the circles closely together, leaving an inch of space at the top of the brass tube.

Push the second drilled cork piece down on top of the tube. If it doesn’t stick snugly in place, add some hot glue to the top cardboard circle and press the cork back into place. Let the glue dry for about 10 minutes.

Flip the post over so you see the underside of the bottom cork piece. Draw a straight line from the edge of the brass tube to the edge of the cork with a rotary tool carving bit. Carve a ¼-inch wide and deep channel this way.

Slip the plug of a socket extension cord down through the top of the post, snugging the socket into the top of the lamp.

Run the cord along the channel in the bottom of the lamp and staple it into place with industrial staples. The staples shouldn’t puncture the wire; they should bridge it and sink into the cork so the lamp sits straight.

Screw a decorative light bulb into the socket at the top of the post.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use a regular light bulb and add a lampshade with a bulb harp if you don't like the look of a bare decorating bulb. Use a small balloon lantern shade if you like the look of street lights.

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