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Handmade Paper Lamp and Nightlight

Japanese native Yoshi Aoki takes traditional Japanese designs and incorporates them into his handmade paper lamps and nightlights.

Projects by Yoshi Aoki from Seaside, Ore.

Materials and Tools:

band saw
belt sander
palm sander
wood glue
wood stain
surface-mount socket
line switch
2 electrical terminals
electrical cord
electrical plastic clamp
wood screws
25-watt light bulb
sketch book
soldering gun
lead-free solder
flux and brush
wire cutters
galvanized wire
baking soda
wire brush
craft glue
brushes for glue and water
flame retardant


1. Cut two pine squares for the base. Cut four pieces of the dowel for feet. Sand all six pieces and glue pieces together.

2. Stain pieces and wait for stain to dry before proceeding to electrical wiring.

3. Drill two holes through base large enough to feed the cord through. Split electrical cord approximately 5 inches and run the two pieces up through the holes on the base. Knot the ends to secure. Affix bottom half of socket to base with wood screws.

4. Run cord up through socket, strip ends of wire bare, attach terminal to each end, and connect to socket. Screw on top half of socket. Secure cord to bottom of base using electrical plastic clamp and wood screw.

Figure A

5. Install line switch. Install plug at other end of cord. Screw in bulb.

Figure B

6. Sketch design. Bend, cut and solder wire in size appropriate to fit base. This will become bottom piece of square frame. Continue in this fashion to create top piece and sides of square frame.

7. Using the completed square frame, create leaves by soldering wire directly onto the frame (as opposed to cutting the leaves out and bending them prior to affixing to frame, as we will be doing with the flowers in next step).

Figure C

8. Cut, bend and solder wire to create flowers. Using the completed square frame with leaves, solder flowers to frame.

9. Carefully scrub frame with water and baking soda solution to remove all traces of flux.

Figure D

10. Brush glue on one side of frame and apply off-white base paper to fit this side. Wet paper and tear off excess. Repeat with remaining three sides.

Figure E

11. Cut out leaves and flowers. Brush glue on metal leaf (or flower), lay enough paper on this spot to cover the area, and wait until dry if possible. Then use water (and tweezers if necessary) to remove excess paper from wire form.


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