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Make a nightlight with straws

Here's how to make a nightlight or decorative lamp using straws or paper tubes, cardboard and an LED lighting strip.


This trendy nightlight or lamp is made using straws or paper tubes, some scrap cardboard and an LED lighting strip. It's very easy to make and will cost very little apart from the LED strip, and LED strips lights are reasonably inexpensive and come in a range of colours.


LED light strip

Circular template, approx. 150mm in diameter

Large piece or corrugated cardboard (recycle a cardboard box)

Cardboard tube, approx. 200mm in length

Straws or rolled paper tubes [61]

Roll of thin string

Craft glue

Steel ruler

Craft knife



1. Use the template to draw [5] circles on your corrugated cardboard. Three are for the base and two for the top.

2. Cut out the shapes neatly with a craft or utility knife.

3. Place the cardboard tube in the absolute centre of one of the cardboard circles and draw the outline. The cardboard tube will form the centre of the lamp and hold the LED strip.

4. Cut out an opening in [2] of the base pieces.

5. You also need to cut out a strip in the [2] base pieces in order to thread the power cord neatly. Position the strip and power cord where it will be placed and mark.

6. Cut out the strip in the [2] top base pieces with a craft or utility knife.

7. Glue the [3] base pieces together with craft glue - with the uncut piece at the bottom to form the base.

8. Glue the cardboard tube inside the cutouts on the [2] top base pieces. Put this aside to dry.

9. Working with the [2] top sections, cut out a circular shape to leave you with [2] 150mm hoops about 20mm wide. This will form the frame for the top of the lamp.

10. Once the glue has set, use craft glue to add strips of newspaper or magazine around the base. This will reinforce the base and hold the cardboard tube firmly in place.

11. Mix a little craft glue with acrylic paint to paint all the sections for assembling the lamp frame.

12. Now you can roll paper tubes or use straws to make the outer shade for the lamp. The straws or rolled tubes should be about 220mm long and all exactly the same length. Find instructions for rolling paper tubes here, or see the video at the bottom of this page.

13. Once the rolled tubes are done, paint these with acrylic paint.

15. Cut [2] lengths of thin string to a length 1.5 metres. You will use this to tie the straws or paper tubes together using a basic knot. As you work to join all the straws or tubes together make sure that all the knots are identical and are 40mm up from the base and 40mm down from the top.

16. Continue to tie knots until you have enough straws to wrap around the base frame.

GOOD TO KNOW: You should need about 61 straws or tubes to complete.

17. Wrap the knotted straws or tubes around the top frame and bottom frame and tie off. Remove the frames for now.

18. Wrap the LED lighting strip around the cardboard tube and secure the top end with a piece of tape.

19. Place the outer shade over the base, making sure to fit the power cord neatly through the frame. Now you can add the top frame, resting this on the top row of knots.

20. Cut a piece of plain paper to fit the top of the lamp and rest this on the top frame. You can glue in place if you wish, but only do this once you have tested that everything works OK.

21. Plug in, switch on and test that everything works.


See the video below for detailed steps for making this nightlight or desk lamp. 




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