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Graypants Shares How They Turn Basic Cardboard Into Modern Scraplights

11.09.21 | By
Graypants Shares How They Turn Basic Cardboard Into Modern Scraplights
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Graypants has been a favorite of ours for years, from their top selling Wick Candlelights to their equally popular Scraplights, their flagship collection. Based in Seattle and Amsterdam, the architecture and product design studio creates high-performance lighting with particular attention paid to details and craftsmanship. Not everyone can take brown cardboard and turn it into elegant lighting, but Graypants has managed to do just that with Scraplights. The collection is handcrafted from recycled cardboard resulting in unique lighting with modern shaped silhouettes that emit warm light through the corrugation. The manufacturing process is much more involved than that, so Graypants is taking us behind the scenes to see what’s involved in transforming basic cardboard into the Scraplights collection, in this Deconstruction.

open workshop with work tables and hanging round cardboard light fixtures

laptop open on desk with person viewing while using mouse

While Scraplights concepts start out initially as a sketch, the designs are loaded into 3D modeling software to create cut files for our precision cutting machinery.

person using a laser cutter by window of workshop

The cut files are uploaded to our laser cutter, and a single sheet of post-consumer recycled cardboard is prepped and laid onto the bed of the machine.

closeup of laser cutter cutting curved bands of cardboard

The laser precision cuts the layers of each Scraplight, while maximizing usage of the sheet of cardboard.

piles of curved cardboard strips just cut on the laser cutting machine

In parallel with cutting the cardboard, the laser also etches numeric values into the layers to aid in sorting and assembly.

cut bands of cardboard numbered by a laser cutter

The cut layers of the Scraplight are removed from the sheet of cardboard, and then sorted and set aside for assembly.

stacks of cardboard bands on shelf

Unassembled stacks of Scraplight layers, ready for gluing and assembly.

worker assembles cardboard bands into light fixtures

Assembly of our smaller fixtures is aided by a jig to ensure uniformity in the finished product.

layers of cardboard bands are assembled by hand on work table

Each Scraplight is assembled by hand, layer-by-layer, using a non-toxic adhesive.

skilled worker hand assembles large circular light fixture

With pendant diameters ranging up to 64”, not every Scraplight can feasibly use a jig. Our larger fixtures are carefully assembled by a skilled production associate, with multiple arcs joined together to form a single layer.

finished cardboard globe pendants are wrapped in recycled paper

Each finished Scraplight is treated with a non-toxic fire retardant and wrapped in recycled paper to prepare it for packaging and shipment.

Shelving holding partially assembled pendants, completed pendants

Cut layers and partial assemblies of our most popular Scraplights are stored on our shelves for future production, as the grouped layers take up less shelf space than the finished product.

many brown cardboard light pendants hang in workshop

Once installed and illuminated, the cardboard’s layered corrugation pattern gives each Scraplight its signature aesthetic, delivering warm, intimate, and functional lighting for any occasion or space.

three brown cardboard globe pendant lamps hanging

collection of brown cardboard globe lamps hanging

>>> Shop the entire Scraplights collection by Graypants here!

Caroline Williamson is Editorial Director of Design Milk. She has a BFA in photography from SCAD and can usually be found searching for vintage wares, doing New York Times crossword puzzles in pen, or reworking playlists on Spotify.