Etsy Journal

Explore ideas and inspiration for creative living

How-Tuesday: Cardboard Chandelier

A cardboard box can be so many things: a pint-sized rocket to the moon, a typewriter, or this classy silhouette chandelier.

A cardboard box can be so many things — a pint-sized rocket to the moon,  a typewriter, or this classy silhouette chandelier, designed by the one and only Kayte Terry. Kayte is an all-around creative spirit and the author of several craft books, and this project is an excerpt from her forthcoming volume, Paper Made (available May 9, 2012). For more DIY projects, inspiration, and tidbits, check out her blog. Rescue a cardboard box from the recycling bin, and follow along for a project to light up your life.

Who needs antique Murano glass? This lamp takes the very essence of the chandelier — its intricate and delicate shape — and turns fussy and old-fashioned into super modern and graphic.

This project takes a lot of careful cutting but practically no money to make, so it’s a good rainy weekend project. Use an LED light bulb to light it up —it’s a greener choice (they use a lot less energy than standard bulbs) and it gives off less heat, which is the better option when you’re pairing a bulb with a paper structure!

What You'll Need: ? Access to a computer with a printer and paper ? Chandelier templates — download and print each: one, two, three. ? Craft knife ? Self-healing cutting mat ? Large cardboard box (approximately 3' x 2') ? Painter’s tape ? Pencil ? Foam brush ? Acrylic paint in desired shade ? Floral wire ? Wire cutters ? Awl ? Hammer ? Hanging lantern cord kit ? LED lightbulb


1. Print the 3 pages of chandelier templates (above). Use the craft knife and cutting mat to cut them out.

2. Flatten the cardboard box and arrange template pages 1a, 1b, and 1c on one side. Tape them in place and use a pencil to trace around them.

3. Peel up the templates, flip them, and arrange them to mirror the tracing you made in step 2. Tape them in place and trace around them.

4. Cut out the entire silhouette.

5. Repeat steps 2–4 with template 2 to create the second piece.

6. Paint both sides and edges of the cardboard silhouettes with the foam brush. Let dry and paint one more coat.

7. Cut two 5" pieces of floral wire with wire cutters. Give them two coats of paint, letting them dry fully between coats.

8. Use the awl and hammer to punch holes, as marked on the templates, into the two cardboard chandelier silhouettes.

9. Slide the two pieces together where the slits are cut, aligning the pieces perpendicularly.

10. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to assemble the lantern cord kit. Then hang it at the desired height.

11. Poke the pieces of wire through the top, lower holes on the chandelier, and wrap them around the lamp cord to secure the chandelier to the hanging lamp cord.

12.  Adjust the lamp assembly so the bulb is hanging in the open space of the chandelier before turning it on.

Mark your calendar! Kayte also be hosting a fun hands-on event at powerHouse Arena in celebration of Paper Made on May 7, 2012, sponsored by Etsy. Details to come.

Thank you to Kayte Terry for sharing this project with us. For more paper projects, check out Paper Made available from Workman Publishing, Amazon, or an independent bookstore near you.

More Things to Make | Lighting on Etsy

Kayte Terry image
Kayte Terry
Style Inspiration

Unlock Coastal Grandmother Style in 8 Easy Steps

Achieve the summer’s trending-yet-timeless aesthetic one classic core piece at a time.

Style Inspiration

10 Uplifting, Colorful Finds From This Year’s Etsy Design Awards Finalists

Feast your eyes on a few of this year’s vibrant creations, then vote for your favorite find from our top 100!

Gift Ideas Inspiration

21 Father’s Day Gift Ideas To Celebrate What You Love About Dad

From his silly sense of humor to his insatiable sweet tooth, honor your favorite things about your dad with a unique gift for Father’s Day.