Introduction: Pallet Wood Lamp

Perhaps you have a wooden construction pallet that you're trying to get rid of or are simply seeking a use for those pesky, shop-cluttering scrap boards in your garage. With a few dinged up boards, some basic lighting components, wing nuts and a tin can, I'll show you how to turn this junkyard pile into a sleek lamp that's perfect for a workshop or garage and (if you're man enough) maybe even your house too.


Pallet Wood

  • (3) 6 inch boards
  • (1) 2 foot board
  • (1) 1 foot board


  • (1) 1 x 2-1/2 foot board (for base)


  • (4) 1-1/2 inch wood screws
  • (3) #24 x 2 inch bolt with wingnut
  • (2) #10 x 1-1/2 inch bolt with nut
  • Tin can


  • Lamp wire (at least 10 ft.)
  • Inline Switch
  • Bulb Socket
  • Electrical Plug
  • Wire Caps
  • Light Bulb


  • Drill
  • 3/8 inch bit
  • 3/16 inch bit
  • Wire Strippers
  • Awl

Step 1: Screw the Two Footboards to the Base

Oops! I somehow managed to lose the pictures from the first couple of steps, but that's okay because it's pretty much self explanatory. Just take your two 6 inch foot boards and fasten them to the plywood base with a two 1-1/2 inch wood screws each. When you do this, be sure to begin each screw by drilling pilot holes with a 3/16 inch bit and space them one board width apart. To get the spacing perfect, sandwich the 2 foot long board between the feet when drilling.

Step 2: Attach the 2 Foot Long Board to the Feet

Place two foot long board between the two 6 inch feet and drill a 3/8 inch hole all the way through the boards. Insert a #24 x 2 inch bolt and tighten it down with a #24 wingnut.

Step 3: Attach the 1 Foot Board to the 2 Foot Board

Stack the 1 foot board on top of the 2 foot board and align their ends. Drill a 3/8 inch hole through the boards, insert a #24 x 2 inch bolt and tighten with a #24 wingnut.

Step 4: Punch Holes in the Tin Can

Using an awl (or a drill if you don't have one) punch two holes in the bottom of the tin can and two holes in the side. Space the holes on the side exactly 1-1/2 inches apart and keep them in a straight line.

Step 5: Drill Two Holes in the 6 Inch Board

Drill two 3/16 inch holes in the 6 inch board. Make them exactly 1-1/2 inches apart. This is important because they need to line up with the side-holes on the tin can.

Step 6: Attach the Tin Can to the 6 Inch Board

Place two #10 x 1-1/2 inch bolts through the 6 inch board. Thread the bolt ends through the holes in the tin can and then stuff your hand into the tin can to fasten nuts onto the bolts.

Step 7: Attach the 6 Inch Board to the 1 Foot Board

Stack the 6 inch board on top of the 1 foot board. Drill a 3/8 inch hole through both of the boards, insert a #24 x 2 inch screw between them and fasten it down with a #24 wingnut.

Step 8: Install a Bulb Socket

Take your bulb socket and strip the ends of its wires. Thread the wires through the two holes in the bottom of the tin can and tie them together to keep the bulb socket in place.

Step 9: Attach Lamp Wire to the Bulb Socket

Take the lamp wire and peel the ends apart (you can do this with a box cutter and a piece scrap wood). Strip the ends of the lamp wire and attach it to the bulb socket by twisting the frays. Twist wire caps over the frays to cover the exposed copper.

Step 10: Add an Inline Switch

Locate where you want the switch to go in the line and separate two inches of the lamp wire at that section with a box cutter (separate, don't cut!). Take the two screws out of the inline switch and pull it apart. Squeeze one of the separated wires into the bypass grove of the inline switch. Cut the other wire with your wire strippers and strip both ends. Wrap the frays of each end around their corresponding screws in a clockwise direction and tighten down the screws. Put cap back onto the inline switch and replace the screws.

Step 11: Install Electrical Plug

Take the electrical plug and cut the sheath away from the wires with a box cutter. Strip the ends of the wires (on both the plug and the lamp wire) and attach them to the lamp wire by twisting the frays in a clockwise direction. Twist wire caps over the exposed copper to complete the attachment.

Step 12: Screw in a Light Bulb

Insert a light bulb of your choosing, so long as it fits the bulb socket.

Step 13: Plug It In!

Plug it in and flip the switch. You can adjust the lamp into various configurations by loosening the wingnuts, adjusting the lamp and then tightening the wingnuts.


Astuces de Trente Secondes- made it! (author)2016-11-07


mw6 made it! (author)2016-02-14

man, that is really cool. thank you for sharing the idea.

CYCLEGUY55 made it! (author)2015-11-15

Electric wires need grommets where they pass through the holes in the tin can in order to protect the insulation and prevent shorts and shocks. I would also be inclined to solder the connections and then cover them with heat shrink tubing rather than using wire nuts - much more secure and safer.

Great instructable otherwise!

susiefreckleface made it! (author)2015-11-15

what a great cycle-palet build. I love the detailed explanations. I hope to give this a try soon.

dcarman made it! (author)2015-03-30

Great idea and went together really quickly. The hardest part was lining up the pocket holes with the base pieces. I widened the base, didn't use the last 6" piece and used a different style lamp holder.

IMPORTANT!!! IMPORTANT!!! IMPORTANT!!! The hot wire is the one that should be cut for the on/off switch! That is the wire connected to the thinner blade on the plug. If the other one (neutral) is cut, even though the lamp will be 'off', there will still be 120 volts at the lamp holder.

wonderbrett made it! (author)2014-06-22

Voted up on the pallet contest. Love this build.

Akin Yildiz made it! (author)2014-06-05

very cool, love the tin can. you should also do an led version instead of incandescent bulb

doodlecraft made it! (author)2014-06-05

Clever use of recycled materials! Love it! Of course there is still the eternal struggle with cords showing--haha!

About This Instructable




More by alexovic:Lámpara de rama de árbolTree Branch LampPallet Wood Lamp
Add instructable to: