Anybody ever build a lamp?

Well, all that HGTV watching has eaten my brain. I was watching one of those design shows (Design on a Dime, IIRC) and one of the guys was creating some hanging lamps. It was no more than a couple of knitting hoops wired together and lined with some sort of art paper. While I don’t care for hanging lamps, I did like idea of how the lamp was created.

So, I came up with a design for a table lamp. I went out and bought most of the parts I’ll need. I still have to find some white plexiglass. Locally, all I can find (and it has to be ordered) is 4’ x 8’ sheets costing over $100! :eek:

If I were doing a bunch of the lamps, it would be a good deal, but I’m only going to make one to start.

I Googled around and found smaller sheets that are actually replacement pieces for artist’s light boxes. More expensive per square foot, but more affordable for a small project.

I figure by the time I finish, the lamp will end up costing about $50.

Anybody ever make a lamp?

Got pics?

I have,
It was in shop class in middle school. We used a 2 liter sode bottle, some coat hangers, and some sort of semi-transparent plastic for the shade. Making it taught me how to rewire lamps.

I made a wooden floor lamp as a lathe project once - turned out pretty well.

The base was made from 4 sections of oak with thin walnut “spokes”. The shaft was also oak & walnut, glued up to provide a channel for the wire, then turned to a diameter of about 1.5". Total time required was about 4 hours (not counting the time for the glue to dry).

I’m thinking the plexiglas will be more of a pain that necessary. I may go with frosted glass (which I can make myself with glass etching gel) or possibly window shade material. I’ll be using a compact flourescent bulb so there won’t be as much heat generated.

I’ve also decided to enlarge the base so that I can include a place for keys, change, etc.

I’ll be using it on my nightstand.

I too made a lamp in middle school shop class. The funny thing is that I can remember the details of the electrical bits – threading the wire, installing the actual light socket – but have no memory of what the lamp actually looked like, except the vague idea that it might have been turned on a lathe.

I’m actually considering making one now, as I need a reading lamp for my couch. So it may be time to laminate up some birdseye or spalted maple and see what I can come up with.

If you decide you do still want the plexiglass try finding it in a home goods store or kitchen goodies store. Sometimes there you can find all sizes of plexiglass being sold for cutting boards. Some have been etched or frosted, but some are totally clear, smooth and cheap. Good luck and let us know how it turns out,


I re-wired a toaster and turned it into a lamp. That was fun. And functional. You push down the lever and the lamp comes on, when you push the lever back up, the lamp goes off. Plus the wooden “toast” I cut out of wood pop up.

Actually I made two and gave them away as gifts. Now I need to get a Goodwill blender…

Also, I may be off base (no pun intended) but I think I know the type lamp you are making. You may know this already, but if it involves a globe or square over a light bulb on a base, you can find a lot of varieties and sizes of globes, squares, etc in the lighting departments of stores like Home Depot or big “general lighting” stores (here it would be Georgia Lighting). They are designed to be used as replacements, etc. You could just have fun designing the base to suit your needs and purchase the globe or square cover for the bulb. Obviously you would need to find the globe/square you like first so it all fits. Just a thought.
God, I love this stuff.

Kind of HG-SDMB :slight_smile:

Yes, that’s “wooden “toast” I cut out of wood”, as opposed to the “wooden “toast” I cut out of polystyrene”. Just to be clear.

Yep, that’s pretty much it. It’s going to be a 4"x4"x10" rectangular globe with about 2" of space between the globe and the base. I’ll be using aluminum angle iron (I wanted to go for an industrial look) along the edges and tiny nuts and bolts to secure the aluminum to the glass (drilling the glass will be tricky). The base (I picked up at Michael’s for 50¢) has turned edges, but I’ll be mounting it upside-down so it gives the illusion that it’s “floating” above the main base (which will be 7"x9" - $2 at Michael’s).

I’ve googled around about etching glass and the consensus is to cut and drill the glass prior to etching since the etching process could weaken the glass and make clean cuts difficult.

Thanks for clearing that up!


That’s a really neat idea. Got pics? I’m having difficulty picturing the uprights.

I’ve made a couple of swag lamps, put a new top and rewired a torchiere, and rewired probably 10 table lamps in the last 4-5 years. I knew I’d been at it too long when I didn’t need to look up the underwriter’s knot anymore.

There’s also eBay. This would certainly make an interesting bulb cover.

I’ve made lamps out of Mini Kegs like these.

They’re good for your home bar, the basement, a college dorm room or will compliment the decor in just about any double wide trailer home.

Sorry, no pics. But it’s just this toaster, see? And I put a lamp socket on the top (on the lever end) with those threaded hollow “lamp pipe bolt” thingies (I try never to actually learn the names of the parts I use because it takes all the fun out of getting new ones). And the wiring is on the inside and the “switch” is the connection the toaster uses to turn it on and off. The wooden toast looks like toast.