Registration is now open! Class begins July 25th.

Watch the free webinar about this class and receive a free lantern tutorial

Paper Illuminated: Innovative Structures Featuring Paper & Light

Join me in creating five illuminated paper structures – four lamps & a folding screen that transforms into a lantern! During the six week in depth experience into illuminated paper, we will make five projects, the equivalent of a weeklong workshop with me in person. Work from the comfort of your own home or studio while sharing ideas with an on-line community.

Dates: July 25 – August 29, 2018: Every Wednesday, a new lesson will be added to the on-line classroom.

Course Outline:

  • Week 1 (July 25) Panel shade: Construct a pattern and cover a wire framed shade panel by panel. The skills you acquire can be applied to covering other types of armatures.
  • Week 2 (August 1) Wraparound Shade: Apply paper to a rigid backing material and then join the arc shape to a top and bottom ring. Use the techniques you learn to re-cover existing shades, garage sale, or antique store finds.
  • Week 3 (August 8) Mini Shoji Screen: Create a lattice framework using balsa wood and back it with paper. Connect panels with a clever Japanese hinge that bends in both directions, allowing the structure to convert into a box-shaped lantern.
  • Week 4 (August 15) Bendable Paper Lamp: Make a paper laminate with embedded wire and then bend it to create sculptural shapes. You will also learn how to wire a lamp during this session.
  • Week 5 (August 22) Chochin Part 1: Learn how to make a unique reusable armature that is covered with paper and then collapsed and removed.
  • Week 6 (August 29) Chochin Part 2 + Collpsible Party Light: We’ll take two weeks for this project, because it is an elaborate structure. In addition to completing the lamp during the second session, you’ll also learn how to create a simplified collapsible paper structure.


Helen is a skilled, generous, and very organized teacher. I enjoyed every aspect of the  online Paper Illuminated Class, from the clear video and written instructions, to the community feel, to the ability to work at my own pace. The projects and materials were lovely. The online format made it possible to benefit from Helen’s vast expertise without the time and cost of travel.  Thanks Helen! Sue E., MA

The class, “Paper Illuminated,” was my first ever online class. The needed materials arrived in advance so I could become acquainted with them. The videos for each lesson were very clear and easy to follow. I appreciated having the pdf directions to refer to when I had a quick question. It was fun to see the results that other participants posted. I found the interactive communication with you helpful and delightful. Thank you! I look forward to another online class taught by you! Barb H.

What You Get:

  • Step-by-step video tutorials for each lesson
  • Printable step-by-step instructions for each project
  • Templates
  • A comprehensive resource list plus a list of suppliers
  • A private community for sharing your work with Helen and the group as well as a forum for asking questions and an option for personal feedback.

How it works: 

  • After you register for the class, you will receive information about creating a unique login into the Paper Illuminated online classroom.
  • Each Wednesday, beginning on July 25th, a new lesson will be available in the online classroom with a step-by-step video tutorial, printable instructions & more.
  • As a student you will have access to all lessons, support materials and videos indefinitely!

Register Now!  $220


I’ve put together a substantial supply kit plus a list of suppliers for all of the papers and lamp parts you need to create these projects. There are two versions:

  • The Whole Kit (as pictured above)
  • Just the Lamp Parts (without the papers – use your own)!

I highly recommend that you order the kit from me because you’ll get the best price and you’ll save yourself from having to place orders with several suppliers. The Whole Kit includes: papers for each project (plus extra paper for most projects), a super cool glue applicator, lamp armatures & parts, a lamp wiring kit, basketry reed, copper wire, balsa wood and more. (Click here to view Supply Kit contents). Just the Lamp Parts includes everything but the papers. Please register by late June to make sure that you receive your kit before class begins!

Please contact me if you’d like to order a supply kit (the deadline for that has passed, but I have a few extra kits)

Purchase Supply Kit Now!
The Whole Kit:  $115 plus shipping & handling

Just the Lamp Parts:  $80  plus shipping & handling

Other Materials: There will be a short list of additional materials that you will need for the class such as a sheet of 3/16” foam core, straight pins, freezer paper, scrap paper (waxed paper, newsprint), light bulbs, lamp bases and a few other items that will be listed in the individual lessons.

Tools: You probably have most tools on hand, but here’s an idea of what we’ll be using: pencil, ruler, scissors, cutting mat, craft knife, eraser, glue brushes, screw driver. Optional tools: small hand saw or craft knife attachment for cutting balsa wood (highly recommended for the mini shoji screen), mini miter box to use with your saw, divider/compass, weights, water mister, metal triangle.

Beyond the class: The skills you acquire will have multiple applications for sculpture and lighting as we explore paper as a material and the various ways that it can be manipulated and illuminated. Take what you learn beyond class as you add additional sculptural ideas for working with paper to your repertoire.

Registering for the class: Register by July 1st to receive early bird pricing and insure that your supply kit arrives before class begins on July 25th (the course fee will go up to $220 on July 1). If you don’t register by July 1st, not to worry; I just can’t guarantee that you’ll get your materials in time, but the lessons are independent (i.e. you do not have to do them in order) and will be available indefinitely, so you’ll have time to catch up!

Let’s Do This!

  1. Check out my free video tutorials if you want to see my teaching in action
  2. View the gallery of the awesome lamps made by participants in the last session.
  3. Register today!

About Helen: My initial interest began on a trip to Japan 30 years ago when I was inspired by light filtering through traditional shoji screens. I soon began developing workshops combining book arts, papercraft and lighting techniques which led to my book Paper Illuminated (now out of print). I’m the author of four other books about paper crafts and papermaking, and recently published the Twelve Months of Paper Calendar, featuring a how-to paper project for every month. I am a Colorado artist who constructs installations, sculptures, films, artists’ books and works in paper. I teach, lecture and exhibit my work internationally and have an extensive network of paper colleagues around the world. My interest in how things are made (from paper) keep me up-to-date on current paper trends, which I write about in my weekly blog, The Sunday Paper. I hold an annual paper retreat in my Red Cliff, Colorado studio each September.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Why do I need to register by July 1 if class doesn’t start until July 25?
I need to know how many people are in the class before I order parts from the various suppliers. I estimate it will take them about 10 days to pack and ship to me, at which time I’ll still have to assemble, label and send them to you. Thank you for bearing with me!

Why an Online Class?
I’ve taught these projects to hundreds of students in person over the past twenty five years, but since I can’t travel all the time (and perhaps you can’t either) I decided to develop this on-line content. This is an extension of the numerous how-to projects I’ve written about in my books and the Twelve Months of Paper calendar, but they are a bit more in-depth and elaborate, featuring skill building as well as creative ideas.

What kind of experience is required?
This class is for all levels but expect some challenges. I have taught all of these projects to beginners and experienced artists with success.

What if I miss a lesson?
Not to worry! The lessons are independent and can be done in any order, so if you miss one, you can just skip ahead or come back later. All of the lessons will be available to you indefinitely, so you don’t even need to participate during the class dates (but we’ll miss you)!

Cancellation/Refund Policy: Register by July 1, 2018 and receive early bird pricing (price goes up to $220 on 7/1/18). You will receive a full refund minus a $25 processing fee for cancellations prior to the start date (July 25). No refunds after class begins.