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Japanese glow lamps; you just fold or roll rice paper into shades, slip them over inexpensive fixtures.

Form, light, and texture combine in the geometric shapes of these easy-to-make paper lamps. Their soft, muted light can illuminate a dark corner, accent a plant from below, or brighten a tabletop. The simple shapes-a rectangle, a cylinder, and a pyramid-are formed with three kinds of handmade Japanese washi, commonly known as rice paper. Washi, sold at many art supply stores, costs $5 to $50 a sheet and comes in a wide range of color, translucency, and texture.

The paper forms are really just shades, slipped over inexpensive light fixtures. Choose a lamp with some kind of shield around it so the bulb can't come into contact with the flammable paper. Look for a fixture with the switch on the cord, and use a 25-watt bulb or less (even a 7-watt refrigerator bulb works).

Materials you need washi paper, white craft glue, and scissors. You can reinforce the bases with slender strips of wood or doweling. We used 1/8 -inch doweling at the base of the pyramid, and the inner hoop of a 12-inch-diameter embroidery hoop for the cylinder.

How to make the shapes

Rectangle. Start with a large rectangular piece of paper (ours measured 18 by 38 1/2 inches). Fold under the two long sides abOUt 3/4 inch and glue down. Divide and mark the paper into four equal segments along the length, leaving a 1/2-inch-wide strip at one end. Fold and crisply crease along each mark, and glue the 1/2-inch strip to the inside face of the opposite end. To keep the cord from tipping the shade, snip a small notch along a bottom edge.

Cylinder Start with a large sheet of stiff washi paper (ours was 24 inches wide and 38 inches long). To make a perfect circle and stabilize the base, use an embroidery hoop, appropriately sized to your sheet (we used a 1 2-inch hoop), inside the paper. Allow 1/2-inch overlap on the side seam. You can keep the ragged natural edge of the handmade paper or fold the top edge under for a cleaner line. Notch or drill a cord hole in the bottom.

Pyramid. A three-sided pyramid starts with three isosceles triangles (ours measured 26 1/2 inches at the base and 28 1/2 inches on the sides). Make a 3/8-inch fold along the sides and, working on a flat surface, glue the three triangles together along two side seams. After the glue dries, fold the three bases 1/2 inch under; glue lengths of 1/2-inch dowel into turned-under folds. Glue the final side seams together to complete the pyramid form.

Design and construction were by Eriko Kurita of Elica's Paper, Berkeley.
COPYRIGHT 1989 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1989 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Sunset
Date:Feb 1, 1989
Words:448
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