The Slow Craftsmanship of Making a Stunning Cardboard Lampshade by Hand

The Slow Craftsmanship of Making a Stunning Cardboard Lampshade by Hand

October is when the clocks change and the nights draw in. At this time of year there’s nothing better than coming home to some cosy lighting and that’s just what my cardboard lampshades create. 

From design to making to all the little details, here’s how slow craftsmanship creates a product that can transform a space. This is how I make the CartOn C5.

1.The Design

The CartOn C5 is a sculptural design with the cleanest of curves. It’s simple in shape but tweaked to be more interesting than a classic symmetrical dome. Think modern, soft and ready to fit in everywhere.

2. The Material

No one ever expects the lampshade is made from cardboard. I love the surprise when they discover the thing making those incredible patterns isn’t wood, textiles or metal.

The lampshade is made entirely from corrugated cardboard, even the lamp holder section. I start with sheets of cardboard from a local manufacturer; 85% recycled and 15% from European FSC certified forests. More than ever before, we have to look after our trees. 

The FSC is a global, not-for-profit organisation that’s dedicated to promoting responsible forest management worldwide. I love that I get to create an atmosphere in someone’s living room out of that. 



3. The Making

I load cardboard sheets onto my laser cutter one at a time and cut the shapes that make up the lampshade. There are 42 different layers and every single one I will glue by hand.

The glue is non toxic and bio-degradable. I apply it so carefully, adjusting things while it’s still tacky and making the perfect shape in the process.

For me, every join has to be neat and precise. People sometimes even think the lampshade’s been mass produced because of how carefully I make it.



4. The Use

The CartOn C5 is ready to use in all kinds of settings. Make it a centre piece with patterns of light. Hang low over a table to make a bright pool. Create a stunning focal point by hanging a few as a group.

To me, the texture of cardboard is perfect. So many natural tones that fit anywhere, with anything. 


5. The Details

The C5 is a suspension light that works with either a screw-in or bayonet bulb. A clear LED bulb in warm white is the ultimate if you want to create the best patterns through the layers. Just don’t go over 100w incandescent or the same for CFL or LED lamps. That’s how you get the right results.

Would you like to create a sanctuary at home with a sustainable cardboard lampshade? Find the CartOn C5 here. 

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