In search of the perfect desk lamp to satisfy all of your late night academic and artistic endeavors? Look no further; this instructable is tailored to be recreated by everyone whose desire for functionality and aesthetic beauty runs on a tight budget. Made of found materials and common household objects, this lamp explores the concept of upcyclng to create a lighting product that is both unique and fun to make.
Step 1: Brainstorm the Concept.
Think about the design of your lamp and ask yourself these questions:
What do I want the aesthetic of the lamp to be?
What materials do I have at my disposable (no pun intended ;')) to make a lamp?
What do I want the scale of the lamp to be?
Step 2: Visualize the Design.
Now that you have conceptualized your lamp design, it's time to draw it out. It's perfectly alright to have multiple designs in mind, and it will help to draw them out so you can choose your final blueprint. Whether it be a rough doodle or rendered masterpiece, take a few minutes to illustrate your plans.
Step 3: Gather All Materials.
To most closely recreate this lamp, you will need the following materials:
- 1 small light bulb
- 1 plug with on/off switch
- 1 roll of toilet paper (or paper towel paper)
- 1 panel of wood (1x1 ft., approx. 1 in. thickness)
- 1 wooden dowel
- 2 sheets of card stock paper
- 3-4 ft. of plastic cling wrap
- 1 container glue (white or clear when dry)
- 1 pencil
- 1 small paintbrush
- 1 piece of rough sandpaper
- white paint
- aluminum wire
- 1 precision knife
- 1 pair of scissors
- 1 ruler
- 1 roll of clear tape
- 1 mug or other container
Feel free to change the type of paper, wood, or paint you use in order to achieve your desired design.
Step 4: Cut the Base of the Lamp.
Using a bandsaw or handheld saw, cut the wooden panel into an ovular shape (or whichever shape you have chosen for your design). Then with a drill bit, drill a hole 1 inch in width through the left centered side of the newly cut base. Make sure that the plug is able to pass through the hole.
Step 5: Cut the Base Legs of the Lamp.
Mark the wooden dowel into four 1 inch sections using a pencil. Using a bandsaw or handheld saw, cut the dowel into four sections. If the pieces are of uneven height, use sandpaper to smooth and even them out.
Step 6: Assemble the Base of the Lamp.
Use a hot glue gun to apply glue to each of the four wooden dowel pieces. Adhere each piece to the oval. Set aside and let cool.
Step 7: Prepare the Paper and Water Mixture.
Take the roll of toilet paper or paper towel and rip the paper thinly into small pieces. Place the shredded paper into a mug or other container. Then fill the container with warm water and set it aside for about 10 to 15 minutes.
Step 8: Prepare the Pulp Mixture.
After 10 to 15 minutes, return to the container set aside with water and paper. The paper should be completely saturated and have a soggy texture. Use your hands to scoop the wet paper out of the container, then squeeze the excess water so you are left with a damp and formable paper mixture. Pour a generous amount of glue into the container and evenly massage the glue and paper together until the mixture is noticeably sticky.
Note: Don't worry about the mixture drying out quickly. The water and glue will keep it manipulable for several hours.
Step 9: Create the Molds.
You will have to create four molds for this lamp design:
The lamp shade
- Take the glass bottle and tightly wrap it with plastic cling wrap from the base of the neck to halfway down the body. Secure with clear plastic tape and set aside.
The pencil holder
- Take the Elmer's glue container and wrap the plastic wrap halfway up from the base of the container. Secure with tape and set aside.
The tubing connected to base
- Take one sheet of cardstock paper and wrap it tightly to form a long cylinder, about 1 inch in diameter. Wrap with plastic wrap. Secure with tape and set aside.
The upper tubing
- Cut the other sheet of card stock paper in half, then wrap it tightly to form a cylinder about 1 inch in diameter. Wrap with plastic wrap. Secure with tape and set aside.
Step 10: Apply Paper Pulp to the Molds.
Carefully take small pieces of the paper pulp mixture you have made and press them firmly onto each of the four molds. Be sure to spread the mixture evenly and in a thin layer across the surface of each mold. You don't have to cover each mold completely; instead, leave some space for light to seep through the molds. Once you have applied the pulp onto each mold, set them aside to dry naturally or use a blow dryer to speed up the drying process.
Allow the molds to dry for about 36 to 48 hours naturally, and 24 to 36 hours after applying heat from a blow dryer.
Step 11: Separate the Dried Paper Pulp Pieces From the Molds.
After the molds are completely dry and have become suitable to handle, remove each mold from the object to which it has molded. To do so, gently squeeze each mold and slide it off of the object, leaving the plastic still attached to the paper pulp. Then continue to remove the plastic wrap from the dry paper pulp parts. Set aside.
Step 12: Paint the Paper Pulp Pieces.
With the white paint (or whichever paint you have selected), lightly coat the four paper pulp pieces. Set aside to dry (approx. 30 min.).
Step 13: Cut and Form Wire Supports.
To make this lamp, you will need to make two wire supports:
Wire supporting the lampshade and light bulb:
- In the lamp I have made, I found a readymade (wire from a wine bottle cork) to use as the support between the lampshade and light bulb. To make a wire support, take the aluminum wire and cut two strands of equal length- approx. 7 to 8 inches. Twist the two strands together. Then form into the shape pictured above.
Wire supporting the tubing:
- Take the aluminum wire and cut another two strands of equal length, this time shorter- approx. 4 to 5 inches. Twist the two strands together, then form into a small spiral of about 1 in. in diameter.
Step 14: Configure the Tubing Wiring.
Before you are able to wire the lamp, you must cut both tubed paper pulp pieced lengthwise. This is done to better conceal the wiring. Next, to properly insert the wiring into the lamp, string the plug pointed downwards through the hole in the wooden base. Then fit the wire into both of the tubing paper pulp pieces. Reseal the tubing with white glue and reapply paint if needed. Set aside to dry.
Step 15: Assemble the Lamp.
Now that each component of the design has been made, it is time to assemble your lamp! Using a glue gun, set the large tubing over the hole of the wooden base. Connect the large and smaller tubing using a wire support. Leave power switch accessible in between these two tubing pieces. Then adhere the second piece of wire support to the paper pulp lampshade. Attach the other side of the wire to the smaller tubing piece. Set aside lamp and let dry for about 20 minutes.
Step 16: Touch Up the Final Lamp.
Now that the structure of the lamp is stable, twist the lightbulb into the socket. Apply paint to any areas of paper pulp you may have missed before. Paint any visible wiring and add paper pulp to gaps such as the one between the the two tubing pieces.Make sure the surface of the base is smooth, and do any sanding down if needed.
Step 17: Enjoy and Share Your Creation!
Congratulations! Now that you've created your very own $1 lamp, share it with your friends and family!