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This was an entirely new project for me. I've always been fascinated with edge-lit acrylic and I figured it would make for a nice desk lamp. The sanded edges of the acrylic pieces send off a diffused glow that works great for a desk or reading lamp. The LED strip inside is cheap and safe since there is no wiring involved.

As with all power tool Instructables, please use proper PPE and follow all safety protocols for each machine.

This Instructable is aimed to provide everything you need to make one for yourself. But if you have any questions, send them my way.

Step 1: Gather Materials and Tools

Tools needed:

  • Mitre Saw
  • 3/4" and 1 3/4" hole saw and forstner drill bit (Drill press or hand drill powered)
  • Belt sander or palm sander

Materials needed:

Most of these materials can be sourced from scrap with the exception of the LED strip

  1. Wood: Any wood from aspen to zebra can be used for this lamp. You need about a board foot for a decent sized lamp, so even if you have to buy something, it isn't that expensive. I chose some shorts of walnut that were planned to 1/2".
  2. Acrylic: I got my acrylic from a local plastics manufacturer. They end up with plenty of offcuts and would likely be willing to part with it. If not, you can pick up acrylic sheet at most hardware stores. I used 1/4" thick acrylic for this lamp. But anywhere from 1/8" to 1" would work.
  3. LED Strip: I used a 5v LED strip with a pre-wired USB end. 50cm will give you plenty of light to work with. I ordered several dozen since I am making these with my students and it really drove the price down. You can expect to pay less than $5 for this. Mine were sourced from Aliexpress. LED Strips On Aliexpress.com
  4. Dowel: 3/4" dowel works best for wrapping the LED strip around. You will be able to find this at any hardware store.
  5. Glue: Gorilla glue is great for glueing dissimilar materials like wood and plastic.
  6. Finish: Wipe-on Polyurethane from Minwax is always my choice of finish.

Step 2: Cut to Size

The wood and the acrylic have to be the exact same size. This is especially true if you don't have a belt sander to true them up later on.

I like the look of a square lamp. So all these pieces, both acrylic and walnut, were cut to 5" x 5".

Step 3: Drill Center Cavity

This is where the LED strip will sit and the light will come from. It isn't super important to be dead accurate with your cuts since it will be hidden on the inside, but it is a good idea to make some centre holes to line everything up.

I used a 1 3/4" hole saw to cut through the wood and acrylic. Acrylic is a tough material to work with and I made sure to take every safety precaution when drilling these pieces. They can catch and spin if not clamped down tight.

The centre dowel sits in a 3/4" hole on the bottom piece.

Step 4: Attach LED Strip

The LED strip is attached to the 3/4" dowel with the adhesive backing. Wrap it around and secure it. It doesn't matter what the orientation of the bulbs are because the glow of the acrylic will diffuse the glow.

There is a little slit cut into the bottom piece of acrylic to allow the cord to exit the lamp. I used a bandsaw to make this cut, but a jigsaw, handsaw, or hacksaw will work.

Step 5: Glue and Clamp

Once all your pieces are cut and the LED strip is in place, it is time to glue.

Gorilla Glue will work best for this because you are joining plastic to wood. Be aware that Gorilla Glue expands greatly and will leak out the sides if you use too much.

I orientated the boards so that the end grain was alternating. Clamp in place and allow to set.

Step 6: Sand the Sides

After the glue has set, scrape off excess glue and sand to finish.

Using the belt sander speeds up the process of finishing the sides, but a palm sander will suffice.

Be cautious of burning and melting the acrylic on the belt sander. Take small passes and allow the plastic to cool.

I used grits from 80-220 on the palm sander to get a great finish on the wood and acrylic.

Step 7: Finish

Minwax wipe-on poly gives a great finish to the wood and acrylic. Super easy to apply. Just wipe on, wipe off, Daniel san.

Let dry and then it's time to enjoy your lamp!

Step 8: Make Different Sizes

This project can be customized to so many different dimensions and styles. It's up to you and your creativity to stack different sizes of wood and plastic and create something unique.

The next stage of this project is to cut the pieces out a laser cutter.

Thanks for reading, hope you enjoyed. Please vote for me in the lighting contest!

<p>I made it!</p>
<p>I'm working on this project and am going to ad a color changer to it (I an LED strip with a color mode and power button</p>
<p>How bright is the finished product? Read a book with the room lights off?</p><p>Or is this more decorative than a usable light source?</p><p>I am a woodworker and I am going to Favorite this as it was a well done Instructable. Your woodworking skills are excellent (and you have all the right tools!)</p>
<p>To be honest, it's more decorative than an efficient light source. However, you could make it larger and up the LED count to make a nice reading lamp.</p>
I doubled up the acrylic sheets and added a top piece. Wishing I hadn't and that I had stuck to the original design. Fun project though thank you.
<p>Looks great either way. Great job.</p>
<p>nice work</p>
<p>Thanks!</p>
<p>Angeregt durch diesen Artikel habe ich eine &auml;hnliche Lampe gebaut. Ich habe aber mehr Acrylglasscheiben genutzt. Auch habe ich mit Multiplex (Plywood) gearbeitet. Der anderen Unterschied bei meiner Lampe ist das 12 Volt Netzteil mit dimmbarem Funkschalter.</p><p>Rudi - Aachen - Germany</p><p>http://rudi-ac.blogspot.de/</p>
<p>Great job!</p>
Why on one picture of the acrylic its perfectly clear and next to it you can barely see though it?
<p>The acrylic is originally clear. But once you sand the face and sides, it becomes matte and diffuses the light/</p>
<p>This is my first attempt, I have not fully finished as yet. I used a digispark and 4 WS2812B 5050 LEDs in a square pattern at the base of the device.</p><p>I next plan to add a switch for changing the lighting mode</p>
<p>Wow. That looks awesome. I love the multi-colour!</p>
<p>This is a great idea! Thank you. I'm currently making one for myself</p>
<p>Very nice! You've designed a piece of timeless beauty.</p><p>I'm extending the idea and putting NeoPixels inside instead of white LEDs, so it can have a color matching your mood.</p>
<p>I was looking for 5V USB leds for a while. Perfect match. Just received them today! thx</p>
<p>Thanks for this Idea!!! I will do soon a floorlamp with the dimensions between 70-100cm :)</p>
<p>is excellent very nice i will try it i hope to make it </p>
<p>@Cyrzee: Thank you for great idea and really helpful instructions. As I do not have required tools, I had to improvise and this is the final product :)</p>
<p>This is so helpful! I am planning to do this for a school project. Wish me luck!</p>
<p>looks awesome!</p>
<p>I love the clean simplicity of the design. Very nice.</p>
Great work, it looks amazing. You did an excellent job getting the glue to stick.<br>I tried to do something similar in a project a little while ago and struggled to get the glue to stick to the perspex. I even tried scoring the surface of the perspex and even the the glue would not hold.
<p>just a question about heat. Is there much heat from the leds?</p>
No there is not geat from the leds if you use the proper power supply
<p>Very little warmth given off by the LED's. </p>
Well done, this is very fab &amp; groovy. Gonna make me one. Like it a lot. Oh yes!
nice.<br>check mine, very very similar<br>https://www.instructables.com/id/Contemporary-Decorative-Table-Light/
<p>very cool, man. </p>
Brilliant, absolutely brilliant. Thumbs up! I am liking this all the way...
<p>Thanks!</p>
<p>WOW I love the simplicity of your project and the fact it looks great and has a great use.</p><p>You mentioned that you were going to get your students to make some,that is a Fantastic idea. I really Love it.</p><p>So in the next school holidays I am going to help my Grandson to make one or two, and then get the Granddaughter involved.</p><p>So Thanks for sharing, and yes I amd about to vote now</p><p>Regards</p>
Amazing ! In my todo list ! :)
<p>They look really stylish, good work.</p>
<p>Nice!</p><p>I thought of making something like this, wood and acrylic or aluminum or acrylic. I was thinking that I couldn't make it because I don't have a tablesaw, but then I realized that a belt sander could<em> technically</em> replace one. But I don't have one, and sanding by hand is way too much work :)</p>
This is so cool! Voted! And I'm totally going to make one for myself :)
<p>Nice and simple! Nice job. Voted!</p>
Beautiful work!
<p>I love it and I voted</p>
The questionmark was a smiley on my phone :-)
Neat ?

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Bio: Teacher by trade. Student at heart
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