Introduction: DIY LED Desk Lamp W/ Strip Lights

Picture of DIY LED Desk Lamp W/ Strip Lights

This cool desk lamp is made with LED strip lights and maple. It features a very simple design where the wood is really in focus and has a remote control that attaches to the back of the lamp. This lamp would be great in a lot of different settings, and of course you could use whatever wood you have on hand.

Step 1: Milling the Wood

So I started off with this pretty big block of maple. First I needed to make sure it was square, so using a smoothing plane here to joint the edges to make it easier to go on the table saw. Checking with a level and doing some more planing.

Then out to the table saw to do some resawing. Since this wood is really dense, I'm cutting it a little at a time here. Now you could definitely do this cut on the band saw as well.

When I had my measurements drawn up I went outside to do some sanding before cutting the pieces to size. And I'm just cross cutting these parts on the miter saw.

Step 2: Attaching the Strip Lights

Picture of Attaching the Strip Lights

Now let's move on to the lights. So I have this LED strip here, and you can cut them every three lights on the copper section. So for this design, I need six lights on each cut and a total of 13 strips. Then you simply peel off the back, and stick the strip to the wood. It adheres pretty well to unfinished wood. And just go on all the way down. Then just making sure each strip is well attached.

Next I'm just tinning each of the contacts on the positives on one side, and the negatives on the other. Then I've got a piece of wire here and I'm stripping it to remove the insulation, and I'm attaching it with hot glue on each side. Then I'm tinning the wires, and then cutting up small little pieces of wire here to connect to the contacts. Then soldering each wire to each tinned contact, which means all the positives on one side, and all the negatives on another.

And just going down the line, cutting up some more wire. I'm using a new soldering iron, and this one is so much better than my old one, it's definitely one of those things I wish I had upgraded sooner.

So let's see if this works, and it does. With the variable power supply here I can see how much light it gives at different currents which is kind of cool. OK, so we're done with that part.

Step 3: Dados

Picture of Dados

Now let's get to work on the wood. So I need to cut a dado in the base, so the back can sit inside it at an angle. I also need a dado in the back so the light part can sit inside it straight.

So I'm starting with cutting a dado on the back piece of the lamp. And I'm simply taking repetitive cuts on the table saw here. I'm creeping up on my marks to make sure I get a tight fit.

Next I'm doing the same thing but at a 22 degree angle for the base, and this matches the 22 degree bevel cut I made on the bottom of the back piece so that it fits tight.

And this is what it will look like all together. Then I'm cleaning up those cuts here with a chisel.

Step 4: Drilling Holes

Picture of Drilling Holes

Now, I'm going to run a wire down from the light so drilling a hole here so I can get it to the backside. And testing if that fits and that was a little too tight, so changing the bit. And now the wire fits through much better. The wire will run down a groove in the back piece, so that's what I'm cutting now on the table saw. Just making a very shallow groove with a few light passes. Then sanding the pieces a little.

Now, let's work on the base a little. So I'm drilling a hole in the side here, and that's where I want the plug to fit. On the underside of the piece I'm drilling a large hole with a forstner bit, and that's where the wires will be connected from the plug to the lights. Then I also need to drill a hole on the base here so the wire coming down the back can reach to the underside of the lamp

And I made enough room to get the plug in from the underside to the side.

So here are all the pieces now, the base, the back piece, and the light.

Step 5: Assembling & Adding Weight

Picture of Assembling & Adding Weight

Time to assemble. So making sure I'm getting the wire through, and then gluing the pieces together. And a little gentle tapping to get it in place. Then gluing the light piece in and putting on a few clamps to let it set up.

Now, to give the base a little weight, I decided to drill another hole here. And I've got some lead. I'm just hot gluing this in place. So I used this because I already had some lead on hand, however you could definitely use bbs or any other type of weight just to make sure the lamp is a little more stable. And then I'm just covering the whole thing with hot glue.

Step 6: Connecting the Wiring

Picture of Connecting the Wiring

OK, so time to connect the wiring. So I have the wire coming up through the back piece, so I split it off, and I'm soldering the positive to the positive side, and the negative to the negative side.

Then I'm simply hot gluing the wires in place, and hot gluing the wires into the back.

Then attaching the plug into the side here with some hot glue, and then soldering together these wires. I'm using some heat shrink here to protect the wires. And then since I have the room, I decided to add an addition piece of lead, can't go wrong with extra weight.

Step 7: Finishing Touches

Picture of Finishing Touches

So almost done, a little fine sanding, and then I'm putting on a coat of my tung oil wax polish.

OK, so to really finish this piece off, I'm cutting up a piece of black fabric for the base, and I'm simply hot gluing that in place as well.

Also, these lights are operated with a small remote control, so I'm gluing on a piece of velcro on the back here, and another piece on the back of the remote - that way I'll always know where it is!

Step 8: Conclusion - Watch the Video!

For a much better perspective, make sure to watch the video going over each step!


Ms Addesign (author)2017-04-21

Correct that DC is un-shockable. However the source of powering was indeed not displayed. Only the lead base units.

For improvisors lets just put a battery rechargeable at the base.

Thank you for your sleek design.

Good Luck

ermolv (author)2017-04-02

wow i like your DIY workplace so complete ...
wish i have one!

webmicester (author)2016-03-10

Unfortunately, you have exposed wiring that someone, probably a kid, can shock themselves on. You should show a way to cover the bare wiring with AC voltage running through it. It's unsafe. Sorry. At no time did you mention that these were run by DC power nor show an AC/DC converter or even talk about one.

Yonatan24 (author)webmicester2016-04-21

12V DC Power Supply ➡ 12V LED Strips.

No danger at all

gael.fichet (author)webmicester2016-03-13

Sorry, why a kid would likely fuse himself with a ugly 12 DCV unfinished lamp ?.. That makes no sense. My kids have self esteem. They would prefer jumping on real.

valveman (author)webmicester2016-03-10

It is DC. There is no Danger.

AndréB62 (author)webmicester2016-03-10

Well obviously if you did not know that LEDs work on low-voltage DC, perhaps you are not qualfied to build such a project...

darbinorvar (author)webmicester2016-03-10

It is pretty difficult to shock yourself with 12v DC, all the parts I used are in the video description.

Bartis (author)webmicester2016-03-10

Positive wire, negative wire.

Leg3nd (author)2016-03-09


Yonatan24 (author)Leg3nd2016-04-21


ThomasK19 (author)Leg3nd2016-03-09

My Ersa RDS80 isn't bad as well...

Leg3nd (author)ThomasK192016-03-11

yeaa,only bad thing about Ersas are tips,which are thick as an cowbar...

ThomasK19 (author)Leg3nd2016-03-11

Got used to that, What counts is the very tip of it. And that can easily be changed.

Leg3nd (author)ThomasK192016-03-17

yea thats true,but i like hakkos more though

Jonathanrjpereira (author)Leg3nd2016-03-16

I won it as a prize here on Instructables. I'm sure there are many others like me!

rigello (author)2016-03-17

Great build, but... EVERY LED strip manual I've read says that there's got to be a decent heatsink. Wood is pretty much an insulator. Adding a piece of sheet aluminium or even galvanized steel would prevent overheating and should drastically prolong LED life.

ababin (author)rigello2016-03-18

That's probably just the manufacturer being overly cautious. I work with LED strips frequently and the only time I've ever noticed them get warm at all is when they're still rolled up on the spool. Besides, I think for most people, sourcing sheet aluminium and cutting it size would probably cost more than just buying new LED strip.

rigello (author)ababin2016-03-19

Or they can just cut an old computer PSU case and make it, I dunno, concave for example. There's plenty of sheet junk around, even soda cans might do. This project requires quite a lot of machinery, surely a metal sheers and a mallet won't be a problem.

Pravin Jat (author)2016-03-18

Thanks, Darbin, really I was searching for such Desk Lamp.

Pravin Jat (author)2016-03-18

Thanks, Darbin, really I was searching for such Desk Lamp.

19clovec (author)2016-03-16

could I have a list of materials? do you think this can be accomplished by a high schooler?

bcavaciuti (author)2016-03-15

Awesome how this highlights the wood, imagine one integrated into a desk! So you can work under the direct light. It reminds me of the iconic Zig Zag chair by Gerrit Thomas Rietveld.

gael.fichet (author)2016-03-13

Ok, it looks nice... from the front. This isn't nice that you didn't find a solution for hiding your back groove. This can't be consider as finished until that problem solved. Consider a desk that people would have use for it on both side of the desk...not really nice, that groove with a wire. However, the wood work is nice. Wood should be extra dry.
You might also add a bit of angle to the top part, in order to light more space and less the lamp itself, no ? 5 or 10 °. Né ?

RobertS362 (author)2016-03-12

Most things that are cool, are simple too. I may have to make one.

FourOaksCrafts (author)2016-03-11

Very elegant design! Love the instructable and the lamp.

Akin Yildiz (author)2016-03-11


AndréB62 (author)2016-03-10

Absolutely love it ! Great mix of wood and modern lighting, with excellent instructions. Keep up the good work ! ?

Cyberchipz (author)2016-03-10

I believe I read you mention you would include the parts list, and I can't remember but where you got them or at least a make and model... Naturally I think this is basically only the LED strips and the variable power supply and controller... did I miss this somehow?

wold630 (author)2016-03-08

Nice work! This is really great!

darbinorvar (author)wold6302016-03-10


darbinorvar (author)wold6302016-03-10


snowy1998 (author)2016-03-08

I noticed that you wired the leds into parallel banks rather than one long series of LED's

Was this by design to suit a particular power requirement?

darbinorvar (author)snowy19982016-03-10

It was simply cleaner to wire them this way. The power used is ~ 500 mA

watchmeflyy (author)2016-03-08

What a clean and elegant design!

darbinorvar (author)watchmeflyy2016-03-10


cademis (author)2016-03-08

Looks great!

darbinorvar (author)cademis2016-03-10


aquascapist (author)2016-03-08


darbinorvar (author)aquascapist2016-03-10

Thank you!

eLVirus88 (author)2016-03-08

Awesome! Love the minimalist design.

darbinorvar (author)eLVirus882016-03-10


lglira (author)2016-03-08

Awesome project!!! What kind of LED do you recommend?

darbinorvar (author)lglira2016-03-10

On my channel I did a video about different kinds of LEDs.

Palobay (author)2016-03-10

Where I can buy from internet the remote controller and white controlled cable?

darbinorvar (author)Palobay2016-03-10

In the video description I put links to everything for this project.

mjackson42 (author)2016-03-10

Thanks for this. Very motivating.

ChristopherW98 (author)2016-03-10

Let me say first that this is a great project and I like the remote setup.

Now for a few suggestions. You could have drilled a hole down the vertical board to hide the cable in the back without compromising the strength of the wood. Your idea to add a bezel for the light to hide the wire is also good and it could have a slot cut out on the front edge of the bezel to load the diffusion lens that would be like a front loading CD player. Lastly use magnets to stow the remote on the bottom board or back of the vertical board. You could hide the magnet on the bottom with a veneer so as to not detract from the minimalist aesthetics.

That was a great idea and design you showed. You can vary it in many way without detract from the simple looks it generates. I want to make one on a boom arm for my computer desk and wood would make it classic.


rafununu (author)2016-03-10

Simple and beautiful. I love this design.
I'm afraid led strips will fall with the heat generated, it should be better to put them on a metal plate which will act as dissipator.
I've got a similar project with a mix of cold and warm white and some electronics of mine, I think I'll copy your design.

QuestionsQuestions (author)2016-03-09

It so happens that I have a bunch of wood blanks just begging for a project! Awesome and useful. I like this!

About This Instructable



Bio: Hi I'm Linn and on my Youtube Channel I have lots of great videos about building, construction and fun projects. You can also check ... More »
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