how I made a magic lamp cylinder

The lantern I got from the Magic Lamp (or in the US, Harmony Lantern) is a standard eight inch cube with rice paper panels, a small candelabra bulb and a copper wire fixed at the base that has been angled with its tip centered over the bulb. The revolving insert, although pretty, wasn't quite what I wanted so I've now made two of my own. This is how I did it:

1. After measuring the original insert I cut a panel from 90lb drawing paper 4¾" wide by 16" long to make a cylinder 15½" around. Since I had no 16" long paper I taped two pieces together. Then I drew some long, flowing designs that looked too much like waves not to have some sea birds above. While being careful to always keep my fingers behind the cut I used an x-acto knife to slice out the design.

2. I cut a piece of green mylar and a blue one into wavy forms and used small pieces of invisible tape them to the paper. Next I placed a solid piece of blue mylar on top and taped that top and bottom, followed by taping the whole piece into a cylinder.

3. To make the fan I first cut an 8" diameter circle with a 1" center circle in a piece of card stock and divided it into twelve equal sections. Then long cuts to the center line. Having no little glass domes handy, the little centerpiece I made from an empty gel-cap (inside into outside using white glue to make it hard and then I cut a square into the center of a coin-sized piece piece of drawing paper, put glue around the cuts and pushed the casing through). This piece was attached to the larger circle from underneath using more white glue.

4. What we have here is a ½" x 16" piece of card stock. The fan part is tricky so what I've done is to attach a 1" piece of masking tape face inside around the edge of the now circular 15½" band.

5. Fan shape inside band that I've marked on the outside into twelve equal sections.

6. Each section had to be pulled down on the inner side to match the marks wile the outer edge was angled with a very small overlap. The masking tape made an otherwise very difficult maneuver fairly easy.

7. The completed fan top. I added another round of masking tape to cover the fan edges higher up. Next I trimmed a full half inch (yes, the original band) from the bottom.

8. Okay, the fan has been attached to the cylinder. It's not terribly pretty with the masking tape but the nice thing is the tape won't be seen and now I have a lantern I find very relaxing to share space with:

Nice enough for now.

my first video :)
please excuse me for walking away with camera running
still need to work on how to edit film
ps: room not that dark - camera simply blind


  1. Ah... very interesting (and as I suspected).

    Would be nice to see the convection currents at work.

    1. Yes, a little effort was required, but such is true of all magic, isn't it?

      My camera will take videos, so maybe I'll try that next :)

    2. Magic video :)

      A tiny little slice of your nicely lit life.

    3. Unsurprisingly, I have no clue how to remove those frames.

      Honestly, it really is brighter in here than that :)

  2. Lovely, I enjoyed the video! Such intricate cutting and taping with great results, Susan. If I ever get one of those lamps. I shall give this a try.

    1. I seem to have conquered the basics of the turning cylinder, Marja-Leena, but there are still a few things to work out - and a few more experiments too. Meanwhile, it may be time to get back to some drawing and painting again.

      I'm glad you liked the video. Being able to do so at all came as a huge surprise to me :)