This instructable will show you how to build your unique bedside or desktop lamp. The idea is to use some old wood or scrap and reuse it to form a beautiful item to illuminate your surroundings. For this i was inspired by the instructable Glow Table (https://www.instructables.com/id/Glow-table/) by user mikeasaurus (https://www.instructables.com/member/mikeasaurus/), an amazing project which you should definitely check if you do not know it yet. Hope you find this instructable helpful and are inspired to start your own project just as i did. Have fun!
This project involves some tasks which include dangers to your health. When working with chemicals like epoxy or alike always wear protective clothes and a mask with appropriate filters. The installation of electrics can cause electric shocks and burns. A faulty or inadequate installation can cause fires and even kill you. The author of this insctructable takes no responsibility for any damage or injuries that might be caused by trying to follow the shown steps. You take full responsibility for your actions.
After this is settled lets get started!! :-)
You will need:
1) materials (sizes and amounts depend on how large your lamp shall be):
- a nice piece of scrap wood, the piece i used was approx. 20 x 7 x 3 cm
- approx. 150ml of transparent resin (I used this epoxy)
- melamine covered chipboard
- small, low power light bulb
- corresponding bulb socket
- 2 meters of wire (appropriate for your supply voltage). I used a wire for speakers which is suited for max. 48V, therefore i used a transformer to reduce the voltage to 12V and used a 12V halogen lamp.
- power plug
- (If you are unfamiliar with electric installations i suggest you buy a ready to use wire just like this one. Also there is a class how to build a lamp in the classes section of instructables.com)
- wood glue or hot glue
- sand paper (grain sizes 60 to 1200)
- molding plaster
- some wood screws
- acrylic transparent spray paint
2) tools (electric tools are optional but strongly suggested ;-) )
- cordless electric screwdriwer
- hot air gun or an old hair dryer
- hot glue gun
Step 1: Build the Casting Mould for the Resin
Use the jigsaw to cut some pieces of the chipboard to build a casting mould. The wood should fit in nicely without leaving too much space. Use some screws to put the pieces togheter. I used wood glue to close the edges, i think hot glue would have been a better choice. Also i put the wood in, before the glue was completely dry to have it fixed there. This made it a bit difficult to get the finished part out of the mould as you will see later on.
Step 2: Pour the Epoxy Resin Into the Mould
Wear a respiratory mask with adequate filters and protective clothes (gloves!) for this step!
I mixed 100ml of epoxy with 55ml of hardener (this was the ratio given on the instructions on the bottles). This was approx. the amount i needed to fill the mould.
Important: Before you pour the resin into the mould be sure that it is properly leveled!
Use a hot air gun or an old hair dryer to remove bubbles at the surface. Still there is a lot of air inside of the wood. I wanted some bubbles inside of the finished lamp therefore i didnt do anything in advance. If you dont want that you should spray some paint on the wood in advance to prevent the air emerging from the wood.
Let the epoxy dry and harden completely. (at least 12 hours)
Step 3: Remove Wood+epoxy From the Mould
Remove the screws and use a thin screwdriver or a spatula to remove the plywood. As you can see i had some trouble removing the back side where the wood was glued to the plywood. Admire the raw lamp layout ;-)
Step 4: Sand and Polish It!
Important: In between all sanding/polishing steps wash the part with water to remove remaining coarser sand from it.
Fix the part on a table top with hot glue (or simply clamps) and use 60 to 320 grit sand paper to sand the part from all sides. I used a grinding machine for these.
Then continue with water and 600, 800, 1000, 1200 sand paper. This was done by hand
Then polish it with polishing paste and water. I used a polishing plate with water, fur and a drill. Set the drill to a slow rotation to prevent heating of the epoxy which will cause smearing.
On the front side i stopped at 1000 grit sand paper since i wanted the light to scatter on that face.
After all that water i used my hot air gun to dry the part since i didnt want the wood to absorb too much water.
Then i applied a layer of transparent spray paint to seal and protect the wood.
This is the fun part of this project, therefore take a selfie ;-) Look at that big grin when i noticed see how nicely transparent the epoxy became!
Step 5: Build a Mould for the Gypsum
Use an empty juice or milk box to build a mould for the gypsum. It must of course be larger than the wood+epoxy part. I used approximately half the box for the outer part an glued togheter a smaller box for the inner part. The smaller part must be a smaller than the wood+epoxy part. As you can see I used a lot of hot glue to build a littlebit shabby mould for the gypsum. Good thing is that the gypsum can easily be carved out afterwards. So if are not sure about the inner part just fill the complete box and remove the gypsum later. I tested the moulds leak proof by pouring a bit of water inside and fixing any remainging holes with hot glue.
Step 6: Mix the Plaster and Fill the Mould
Mix the plaster as given in the instructions on the package. (I used 2 parts gypsum with 1 part of water) And fill the mould. I put the mould into a bucket since i was not absolutely convinced that it would hold. Also i used some newspaper to stabilized the mould to the sides. Wait for 20 hours for the gypsum to dry.
Step 7: Remove the Gypsum Lamp Stand From the Mould and Adjust It for Cabeling
When the gypsum is dry remove the mould. Then use a knife to carve out a cavity that will hold the wood+epoxy part. Take a drill or a sharp screwdriver to drill a hole to the bottom/back of the stand. This will be the hole for the cable. When you are finished and your lamp+electric parts fit into the stand apply a good amount of spray paint from all sides to seal and protect the gypsum.
Step 8: Put Togheter the Electric Parts
Attach the lamp socket to about 20-30cm of cable. Stick the cable through the hole in the stand and fix the lamp socket inside of the stand. Then attach the switch and a larger cable (As much as you need to reach the wall socket.) Then attach the transformer and, if necessary, a short cable suited for 230V/110V and the power plug. I also used some hot glue to fix the cables. Again: if you are not familliar how to assemble this i recommend you buy a pre-configured cable or a LED-stripe.
Step 9: Finishing
Finally attach something like felt, cork or a thin wood with hot glue to the bottom to protect your furniture from scratches. Before you bring the two parts togheter i recommend to test it a while for heating. I first used a lamp which became way too hot and had to replace it for the smaller halogen lamp shown in the pictures. Then it is time to attach the wood+epoxy part to the plaster stand and to finally turn on the light! I hope you enjoyed this instructable and would love to see somebody beeing inspired to build his own unique lamp. Best regards from Germany!
P.S: I found it very hard to take some good pictures of the finished lamp even i used a good camera
(Olympus M-E10Mark2) and a tripod for this. The light from the lamp always seem a bit too red, no matter what i did to adjust the white balance. I think the last picture shows the real color of the lamps light best.