I had a beat up night stand that I wasn't using. It would just sit there and collect dust. With a little bit of work and some new paint I turned it into a night stand that is also a lamp and a charging station for my portable devices!
Step 1: Route the Top of the Night Stand
I used my router to create a groove that went in a rectangle on the top of the table. I use the guide on my router to make sure that the groove was the same distance from the edge all around the table.
Step 2: Make a Hole In the Top of the Night Stand
If I had a jigsaw I would do this first. I don't though so I decided to use my router again. I just set the guide so it was closer to the inside and set depth lower to cut a hole in the night stand.
I had to use a lot of clamps to keep the center in place while I was doing the last cut. I was really scared that this would somehow fly out and kill me, but that thrill adds to the fun of the project. In hindsight I think it was pretty safe.
Step 3: Remove Old Paint, Paint it Again!
I used sandpaper to sand off all the old paint. I was paranoid that the old paint was somehow toxic so I had my HEPA filter running and used my dust extractor to get all the dust out of the way.
I painted the piece with black casein paint which is made from milk. I didn't make it myself this time, but maybe I will next time.
Step 4: Cut Some Plastic to Size, Stick it Over the Holes
PT has mentioned the virtues of Canal Plastics
on the MAKE Blog several times. I know this place from when I was in art school. I picked up a large piece of translucent corrogated plastic while I was there. I used an xacto knife to cut it to size.
When I routed the top I made a lip to set the plastic into. For the sides I glued in a few small pieces of wood. I attached the plastic to the sides with Gorilla Glue.
Step 5: Add a Powerstrip and Light Guts
I had cut a hole in the bottom of the piece and threw in a powerstrip and the guts of a clamp lamp. I used a low wattage CF bulb which stays a bit cooler than an incandescent. It's also plastic and tough so it can take a little bit of a beating. The plastic on top is slightly smaller than the routed edge so I can fit the cords from the inside to the top.
The light on the cords makes for some nice shadows and the cord mess is out of the way.