Introduction: Book Lamp

Picture of Book Lamp

The Book Lamp shines on all on its own on the bookshelf. Where once it housed pages to excite the imagination, it is now home to a lamp to liven up the space behind it.

This project can be made for $5 and takes less than half an hour to put together. Read on for the details.

Note: the bulb looks like an incandescent, but it is in fact a CFL. The spiral fluorescent is inside a plastic bulb.

Step 1: Stuff

Picture of Stuff
This project is very simple and if you already have a book that you're willing to sacrifice, the cost is just $5 for the lamp from IKEA.

Some people freak out when books get destroyed for projects like this. Well, tons of unsold books get destroyed every year. If this was one of the last few copies on Earth that would be one thing, but according to the dust cover of the book I used there were over 100,000 sold so there are plenty more. Having read some of it a while ago, the world isn't missing much anyway.

  • IKEA Lampan lamp
  • hardcover book at least 2" wide inside
  • rubber band
  • Pliers
  • X-acto knife
  • safety glasses

Step 2: Free Up the Lamp Cable

Picture of Free Up the Lamp Cable

The lampan lamp from IKEA is great. For $5 you get a little plastic lamp and a 7W CFL light bulb. All we need is the cord inside the lamp, though. It would be great if it was easy to separate the lamp body and the cord, but it's pretty firmly attached.

So put on a pair of safety glasses, grab a pair of of pliers and go to town. Keep snapping off pieces of plastic until all that is left is the cord itself. This only takes a couple minutes.

Step 3: Cut Out Main Space in Book

Picture of Cut Out Main Space in Book

Put the bulb in the cord and place both on top of the book's pages. With a pen, outline the space that the bulb and most of the socket would need. You do not need to worry about space for the cord right now.

If you look at the picture below you'll see what I mean. Now, I was a little delusional when I made these curving lines. As I cut into the book I quickly realized that straight lines are easier and faster to do, especially when you're cutting through 700+ pages. So instead of this drawing, draw out an L-shape that would hold the light.

With the X-acto knife, go nuts on the book, slicing it up all the way through.

Step 4: Cut Out Gap

Picture of Cut Out Gap

Now we'll need a gap for the cord to go through. Eyeball the cord against the pages and see how many pages you need to cut out for it. For these pages, simply continue the left cut line from before and continue it to the bottom. The result will leave the page with one straight cut across it.

Step 5: Band It Together

Picture of Band It Together

Place the light into the book and place a rubber band around the cord and pages to keep it in place as well as keep all the pages together.

Step 6: Turn It On!

Picture of Turn It On!
With everything set to go, find a good place for your book lamp and turn it on. Enjoy the calming glow of the little 7W bulb and start thinking of another project to do.

other activities to do right after this:
  • drink some tea
  • doodle on a piece of paper
  • listen to your favorite album on a pair of headphones with your eyes closed
  • walk outside for a bit


Scarlet Moon (author)2016-01-08

can you please yell me where to get an IKEA bulb?BTW awesome lamp

FreckledR (author)2015-12-01

I can really see these being used in cafes or pubs, really nice :)

smartmiltoys (author)2015-02-23

Thanks for interesting lamps and safety glasses. I think IKEA is the best!

will308oliveira (author)2014-05-07

Really easy and nice. And looks amazing. :D

ClandestineIntestine (author)2013-08-26

I like this. Thank you.

Jantho (author)2012-12-05

STILL... a better love story than Twilight!

tkdgirl (author)2010-12-12

It wont catch on fire?

shellyscorner (author)tkdgirl2011-03-06

Not with a 7 watt bulb. It could certainly catch fire if you used a bulb with higher wattage. To give you an idea of this bulb....most light bulbs that are used in night lights are 7 watts or less. I absolutely would NOT use a higher wattage though!!!

This is not the type of bulb used in night lights.

As noted in the 'ible this is a 7W CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lamp). Most all consumer electronics, including CFLs, are designed to operate (and tested for safety) with air being allowed to circulate around them. Putting the CFL in a space without ventilation will increase the temperature of the internal electronic components and in the worst case create a fire hazard and in the best case reduce the life of the CFL.

Even the new LED bulbs produce a fair amount of heat and need free air around them.

instructascott (author)2012-04-14

This is a very nice project, well done. Does the bulb not get hot though?? I would be worried about burying a bulb in paper..

You have a valid concern.

As noted in the 'ible this is a 7W CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lamp). Most all consumer electronics, including CFLs, are designed to operate (and tested for safety) with air being allowed to circulate around them. Putting the CFL in a space without ventilation will increase the temperature of the internal electronic components and in the worst case create a fire hazard and in the best case reduce the life of the CFL.

Even LED bulbs produce a fair amount of heat and need free air around them.

سلي (author)2012-04-02

Interesting, I just bought two of these lamps the other day. I didn't get a light bulb with mine though, but it's a crafty idea! Too bad I want to keep my lamps. I am determined to find a way to decorate them though.

NINiver (author)2012-02-08

Very nice re-use of a book. Look at the gorgeous sculptures this artist makes out of shame here either!  I'm itching to try

Spud_Hutson (author)2011-12-21

Very cool idea. I did have fire-related concerns, but the comment section has put me at ease. Definitely going to have to give this a go!

jabujavi (author)2011-12-16

And if you add some aluminium foil to reflect the light, would you obtain better result??

Soo cool. I will do it for my brother's new house!

suayres (author)2011-05-25

If the idea of "destroying" a book bothers you, you could alway buy one of the blank books meant for journaling. This gives you the option of creating your own title (with your name in the author spot, of course). I have seen this done for "altered book" applications. I have to admit, damaging books makes me cringe, so I have never altered nor modified a book. Mom raised me well!

twighahn (author)2011-04-11

make the bible the light of the world

ArcticLiz (author)2010-07-08

Nice one! Can't think of any book that deserves to be cut.. but i'll get one.. :D

runfromnuke (author)ArcticLiz2010-09-24

I can think of four...and they're all from one series.

"New Moon"
"Breaking Dawn"

phelandhu (author)runfromnuke2010-09-29

Yeah, but do you really WANT those on your shelf?

runfromnuke (author)phelandhu2010-10-01

You do make a very strong point.

wamj (author)runfromnuke2010-11-29

good gift for a gf that likes twilight

tlockary (author)wamj2011-03-31

But but but... I wouldn't have a GF who loves J/K

i totally agree


cyprian916 (author)runfromnuke2010-09-28

lol great comment hilarious.

ArcticLiz (author)runfromnuke2010-09-25

haha guess I agree.. (: thanks btw!

blambert1 (author)2011-03-23

This is great! I am definitely going to make one of these lights. I do not know if you are in the light contest, but I vote for you..It is one of the most unique ideas I've seen so far.
At Christmas time you can find single night lights which are a cord with an in line on/ off switch at the Dollar stores...Might want to use different color bulbs in different books....Just a thought.

Omni DIY (author)2010-07-24

If I'm the first to say fire hazard, i'd be surprised. That said, it is ascetically pleasing.

shellyscorner (author)Omni DIY2011-03-06

It's only a 7 watt bulb! They're used in night lights! It shouldn't get that hot. That being said...I certainly would NOT use anything with any higher wattage for that very reason.

SuperCoPilot (author)2010-11-13

There were so many books that deserved it why would you do it to the Illluminatus Trilogy?!

cellopants (author)SuperCoPilot2010-12-14

It's about Discoridans, dude. Eris would want it.

SuperCoPilot (author)cellopants2010-12-15

i don't recall discordians cutting up books for lamps

Because it deserved it.

i suppose its a book of polarized opinion, i've yet to meet a person who was kinda into it, but i've met many who like it and many who hate it. i think its hilarious personally

I tried getting into it several years ago. I don't remember hating it so much as not being into it at all.

its a funny book but its really surrealistic

Ha ha - too true!

Jakeg (author)fungus amungus2010-12-07

If only you could "Like" commens on here like on Facebook... =]

catmanblack (author)2010-09-29

Haha, Awesome idea! But do you have to use an IKEA lamp? Are there any alternatives?

kraftycrone (author)2010-09-11

kraftycrone says:
another brilliant idea from you! but I chose to use a solar flashlight ( they're surprisingly cheap) because they don't need to be plugged in, the "book" can be moved around - and have cool LED bulbs.

Syx (author)2010-07-26

An easy way to avoid the paper getting too hot, and to increase the light output, is to line the cavity with some aluminium foil - the heat and light are all then reflected out of the book and away from the paper.

joshuainthebox (author)2010-07-19 have great 'ibles...thanks for sharing!! Love this one especially because we have been using old 90's can lights for up-lights behind our bookshelf for nearly a year now and I've always been concerned about the heat.. this solves that problem and definitely warrants that "where is that light coming from?" question. Can't wait to use in our new apartment!!

miphz (author)2010-07-19

nice lamp, very instructable and inspirational ... but uhm, i think better if we use any led, because they're not hot ... :)

inkedchick (author)2010-07-13

Just a side note ... you can buy a socket and cord for lamp projects ...and I don't think they are much more expensive .....Very cool project though... this may be one I actually do =P

True, but this bulb plugs into a different cord with a narrower socket and to get both for $5 is great.

erillanos (author)2010-07-10

I purchased a Lampan Lamp to try and make myself one of these and the one I got did not come with the same light bulb you show above. Off to the store to see if they have anything close to what is pictured above.

fungus amungus (author)erillanos2010-07-11

Weird. What bulb did it come with?

erillanos (author)fungus amungus2010-07-11

The light bulbs are sold separably not sure if the lamps use to come with the light bulb.

fungus amungus (author)erillanos2010-07-11

Interesting. I only bought mine a couple weeks ago.

About This Instructable




Bio: I like to make things for the internets. I also sell a pretty cool calendar at You'll like it.
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