Upcycle Final Report: Cardboard Night Lamp

One of the side effects of moving in from different country, as I did six months ago, is that I ended up with a lot this.

So, when we were given an upcycling assignment, I had little doubt about what raw materials I was going to use for the project. Yes, I decided to use cardboard. But, what do I make with cardboard. I looked up online to my astonishment that there are people who make a lot of stuff with just cardboard. I decided to make a piece of furniture considering the size of all the boxes. But, all the boxes I have are made up of single layered cardboard which might not be really stable for furniture. Hence, I decided to make something smaller that would not need to carry a heavy load. I ended up deciding on a night lamp.


Image from: http://www.designrulz.com/design/2015/02/diy-20-creative-cardboard-lamp-ideas

With this lamp in mind, I started sketching up ideas for my lamp and decided I would make the design shown on the below sketch. An LED light bulb would be placed in the center of the blocks while the blocks may be mounted on a turn table.

Aesthetic Vision:

The Aesthetic I was looking to achieve is the scattering of light effect by the corrugated edges of the cardboard. The rotation of the cardboard blocks could also produce the effect of a disco lamp only without the colors. Although I couldn’t completely achieve my set aesthetic goal, I improvised during my build process to end up with a rather not so different aesthetic.

Functional Goals:

My goals for this project would be to create a lamp to use during the night without disturbing my sleeping roommates and also look cool while doing so.

Design Process:

Perhaps the major change from my ideal design process for this project would be the selection of raw materials. As an engineer, I’ve been trained to choose a material for my design rather than design for a chosen material. However this being an upcycle project, finding a raw material to make something out of it would become one of the initial steps of the process. Also, the limitations of the materials I had, lead to a few extra steps during the process.

Final Product:

The bat symbol was an afterthought upon finishing the assembly of the layers as I felt this would give a better feel instead of having a simple square opening at the top.

Future Plans:

The bulb could be replaced with a larger and better one to form a uniform pattern of light from the lamp. Adding a couple more blocks of cardboard layers can also help render a clearer and better bat symbol without much diffraction of the light which is the case now.

Here’s a video of my presentation at class.


Previous Post
Upcycle Final Report: Gaudi Mosaic Puzzle
Next Post
Upcycle Project: Corian Box (Spaceholder)

14 Comments. Leave new

  • Your design came out really well! I like the sentiment attached to your design and your choice of materials . You have fully embraced the idea of upcycling, using materials that were lying around. Additionally I like the component of projecting Batman’s icon on the wall next to you. Overall I feel you have made a great looking night light.
    Your report was quite easy to read and I like the use of lots of images to show the creation of the lamp as you progressed. Your concept drawing was particularly amusing, kudos on sticking close to your concept and making your vision come true. Your approach to making the lamp; reflecting on the difference between the idealized and real design loop with clear cut goals was a good read.

  • Your design process shows a loop back to the idea stage, but I don’t see the idea that you scrapped. Was that just trying to use the corrugation pattern that you had to rework, or was there something else? I really like the soft warm light used to complement the wood/paper aesthetic of the hardware–it resembles a small fire or torch in a sconce. Have you thought about hanging it to get a clearer bat signal and avoid direct light? Overall nice work.

  • I really like the that the shade is made of squares but you arranged them so that it doesn’t look like a big block. It would be nice if it was a little brighter, maybe add a second bulb of the same wattage in the top section of the lamp.

  • I really like the idea of projecting the batman logo on the wall! It’s a great additional feature to an already cool looking lamp! The choice of materials is cool and the color scheme is awesome. The fact that you used materials that has a sentiment attached adds value to it!

  • The batman logo is a really unique addition. This is a really well thought-out and aesthetically pleasing project. I understand that cardboard was your upcycle material, and it ended up working really nicely as an aesthetic, but I would get concerned about too much heat being applied to the cardboard that might set it on fire. If you were to pursue this and found that it was an issue, would you add another material to stop this or change the material of your project entirely? All in all, a very nice project!

  • Great use of old cardboard, I always have so much of it laying around and don’t like just throwing it away. I really like the bat signal you put in, it really gives the lamp a unique aspect. The final product came out really nice and has a good functional use.

  • Your lamp initially looks like wood, which reminds me of a campfire. Good job making cardboard look classy.

  • Siddharth Nigam
    February 17, 2017 12:08 pm

    Love the bat signal. If possible you can put a sheet around it to dim out the light.

  • Even made out of cardboard, your lamp is very atheistically pleasing! I was impressed by your inspiration: those are complicated designs. Your design was very intricate and took more material than I expected. It would have been really cool to get spaces between the cardboard to let light shine through, as mentioned.

  • The lamp is visually pleasing, especially considering that it’s all cardboard! I like the partial scattering effect the light has when shining through the porous edges of the cardboard as well as the gaps between the cardboard layers themselves. Good presentation as well: your design flow was easy to follow.

  • Like the use of cardboard, and it came out really well! Furniture would be cool but sounds pretty hard. Your sketches are really nice, you are good at sketching. You talk about some iteration in your project that isn’t shown in your design loop. Iteration is a good thing, the new method of design is fail early and fail often so its great that you were able to design a bit on the fly. I was talking about the iteration in having the spacing in the carboard.

  • Alexandra Rivas
    February 17, 2017 12:07 pm

    Its very nice that you included your normal design loop and your modified design loop for the upcycle process. Its cool to see both.
    I remember I commented on your progress post on this and I was excited to see the end result. And it is very cool!
    Do you think you’ll try more designs?

  • Siddharth Nigam
    February 17, 2017 12:04 pm

    Knowing how tedious moving from another country can be, I appreciate how you used materials that will always remind you of the big move.

  • I really enjoyed your use of simple materials. The lamp turned out very aesthetically pleasing. Although you didn’t initially design for it to have a “springiness” feel to it, I thought it added to the charm of a hanging light. I noticed when spinning your lamp about the axis of the hanger that it gave a great kinetic visual. It would be cool to see this expanded upon in future iterations.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.