diy project: sculptural paper orb lights

It’s wonderful to see so many DIY projects that take advantage of the humble paper globe light. Just when I think I’ve seen them all, I come across a new one that I love, like this version created by Heather Jennings of Poppy Haus. While browsing her local Anthropologie store, Heather was inspired by two things: the ingenuity of the displays, all made with simple, everyday materials, and the Rhododendron Chandelier. Adorned with handmade, sculptural paper flowers, the chandelier is amazing, but at $898, Heather thought it would it be the perfect candidate for a DIY variation.

Luckily, Heather stumbled upon decorative cupcake liners with an optical, graphic print that provided the perfect amount of depth and texture. By layering them over plain liners, she was able to create a beautiful effect on these orb lights; the organic, anemone-like shapes look lovely up close, far away, unlit during the day and glowing from within at night. This project is a great example of the magic that can happen when you experiment with new materials and configurations. Thanks so much for sharing, Heather! — Kate

They [Anthropologie] sell all sorts of fancy and unattainable things, but the store is full of pieces constructed out of paper and wire and rope that give the same distinguished impression. I wanted to do a project in the spirit of their visuals, using everyday materials. I was inspired by the Rhododendron Chandelier, an $898 handcrafted paper lantern, ironically from Anthropologie. — Heather


  • 100–125  white standard-sized paper cupcake liners
  • 100–125  vertically striped petit fours papers
  • (1) 18–20″ white paper lantern
  • hot glue gun
  • 1 Hemma Cord from IKEA (for lighting) ($3.99)


1. Assemble the lantern and place it top up in a wide, shallow bowl to act as a base.

2. Put a small dot of hot glue on the backside of a white cupcake liner. Starting about 1/2″ in from the wire ring at the top of the lantern, place the cupcake liner on the lantern and press until it is attached.

3. Continue around the ring, spacing the papers so that the circular bases are approximately 1″ apart, allowing the outer edges to merge and shape.

4. Apply the cupcake papers around the lantern in rings until you are 3/4 of the way down, and then flip the lantern over and gently place it back in the bowl, top side down.

5. Complete the underside, and fill in the bottom so that the papers cover the base opening.

6. Begin applying the petit fours papers, centering them inside each white paper. Three-quarters of the way up the lantern, flip it top side up. Complete the top side.

7. Go back through, gently manipulating the outer papers to the desired shape. I kept mine fairly organic.

8. Drop a light in, and voila!

Emily Rae

Wow! I normally shy away from most homemade paper lights, such as the requisite coffee filter poms, because I can’t help but see the raw materials more than the product. This, however, is really neat. The undulation of the ruffles and strips is beautiful.


Oh my, I think I know what project I’ll be doing this weekend!!!


Oh love this! What a fantastic use of those materials. I love what Anthropologie do, but can’t help but think sometimes they are a bit ‘Emperor’s New Clothes’ with their pricing. Great to see such a wonderful project bouncing off their ideas.


this is awesome! i’m definitely trying this for my bedroom. any idea where to find those striped petite four cups? i’m not having much luck online. thanks!! :)

call me debbie

I have a lamp like this that i don’t need it anymore!
That’s a great idea to reuse it, but in a better way this time! =)


I’m in the same boat as Emily Rae when I see paper lights. This is wonderful! The layers and different sizes gives so much depth. Very pretty!


This is awesome. I have some of these lanterns. I can’t wait to do this. We just did lampshades but these would also be a great addition to the house.


THIS LIGHT IS SOOOOOOO BEAUTIFUL! I will try to make one too.


Libby, i just found some similar mini cupcake liners at Happy crafting!


It looks really good, especially once the light is switched on. I’d love to try this out.


Beautiful sculptural piece! So many options and possible variations…. Love it!!!


The combination of paper types is really beautiful. Rare for a light project.


love the lantern!! anyone know where the shelving unit is from?


great project! also wondering where the shelving is from…


I’d love to know where to get those striped petit four cups!


Beautiful! This is definitely added to my list of DIY’s:)


This is a really kewl DIY hack! Its really beautiful. It would be a pain to dust though….


totally making these…they look so deceptively intricate! i understand about anthro…i live in philly and we have a big store that i always walk through very slowly looking at the inspiration displays and decoration.


A great disguise for a damaged or slightly torn paper lamp!

frances pelzman liscio

Not only is this globe lamp stunningly beautiful–I was surprised to see, after reading the directions, that it also is ‘doable.’ It looks complex, but part of its genius lies in its relative simplicity. Thank you for posting this lovely piece of artwork/lamp.


I think they have striped cups like this at Sur La Table, for those who were asking. Love it!!


Fantastic! I have a spare Ikea light, slightly smaller and a different shape, which I will try it out with. Maybe even some coloured cupcake pans to add some extra ba-zing!

Heather McClure

Omg, I love this! I confess that Anthropologie is one of my all time favorite stores but unless things are on clearance, I really can’t afford them! I also know exactly what she is saying about the things they make out of paper, making me think “I could do that!”. I love how this project is so simple and inexpensive but you come out with this beautiful, sculptural piece. Thank you so much for sharing!


WOW! This looks shockingly good! I was totally caught of guard by the lit photos. Totally trying this one!


I’m wondering if the heat from the light bulb will soften the glue and cause fall out if left on too long???? This looks like a wonderful project.


I am wondering on the heat as well, Pam. Will it loosen glue? Will it discolor? Will it overheat? I’d love it for my 3 seasons porch as I sit out there 3 of the 4 seasons. I read alot and play on my computer so the light would be on in the evening hours. I dont want it to catch fire or discolor or something.. It is too beautiful!!


This has to be the best cupcake liner lamp I have ever seen. Those petit four papers really add the push over the top. Beautiful. I think I could actually do this.

Diana Liford

What have I done now. I got my 4 y.o. grandaughter and her friend from down the street to look at the neat
diy things I was finding and they were standing right here when I clicked on these. I already have the lamps, so I geuss I’ll be going to the store for cupcake liners, both white and pink. Seriously, I love this and hope mine comes out half as good as these. They’re great!

Simona Canepa

it’s really a wonderful idea. thank you for sharing!


This looks like a really neat idea! I’ve been looking for some lighting for a dark corner and this looks perfect. The little changes that Amelia did (switching the colored and white cups) looks very interesting. Almost a “mood-type” lighting.

Sharne Dries

I love your hanging light makeover! I’m going to try this with silver tin paper cups~I also may try another version with colored paper cups!


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Excellent way of explaining, and fastidious post to get information about my presentation focus, which i am going to deliver in school.


where do you buy the petite four papers?? i can’t find them online anywhere with a striped pattern..

Edie S.

To avoid heat buildup, use a 13 watt compact fluorescent bulb in place of a 60 watt incandescent. It produces the same amount of light, but runs much cooler and saves on electricity. I also found some colored ones on the Home Depot website-black, red, blue, green, orange and pink :-)


Does the glue show through the light when it is lit?


So glad I got to see this,just so beautiful.Omg! Want to try to make this,thanks so much for sharing.


Beautiful lamp,thanks for sharing.What a great idea! I love it.


It’s great fun and very simple to realize. I did it for my new apartment. I’m very proud