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This very simple, minimalist table lamp took me almost no time to make, cost very little, and you don't need to be particularly good at DIY to build it. Great project for a beginner who's got a free Saturday afternoon.

What you'll need:

  • A long piece of timber for the arms - I used a 44x22mm length of cheap pine
  • A piece of wood for the base, I just asked my hardware store for an offcut that looked like it was the right size
  • A length of cable, switch, plug and light fitting (check that it's the right type for your bulb)
  • A lightbulb that you like the look of - I found one of those fancy Edison things for super-cheap at a hardware store
  • A bolt (8mm), washer and wingnut
  • Wood glue
  • Self-adhesive rubber feet (the kind that prevents furniture from scratching floors)
  • Some screws (3mm)
  • Medium-course sandpaper
  • 4 drill bits:
    • one slightly smaller than the screws for making pilot holes (2mm)
    • one the same size as the screws (3mm)
    • one the size of the bolt (8mm)
    • one that's a little wider than your wire (6mm)
    • a countersink (nice to have, not essential)


Tools you'll need:

  • A hand drill / drill press
  • A hand saw / circular saw
  • A mitre block is nice to have
  • A screwdriver
  • Clamps (handy but not essential)
  • Utility knife or wirestripper
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil

Step 1: Step 1: Cut and Glue Your Wood

You need four lengths of wood for the arms. Three of them need to be the same length, and the fourth should be half that length. I cut mine about 300mm / 150mmlong, but you can make your lamp whatever size you like. Just make sure that the base is big enough compared to the height that it's not unstable.

It can be a little tricky cutting your wood straight. I used a hand saw and a mitre block (like a plastic guide thing) to help, but my cuts weren't perfect. Rather use a circular saw if you have access to one.

Once you've cut your pieces, sandwich all three of the long lengths together, make sure they align perfectly, and clamp them together. Drill an 8mm hole near the edge for the bolt (a drill press is perfect for this, but a hand drill will be fine if you're careful to drill straight). I put mine in 11mm from the end so it all looked square.

Spend a little time sanding down the edges of your wood (particularly trying to make the cut ends as straight as possible). Take two of the drilled long edges and sandwich the short one in the middle. Line them up at the bottom. Smear plenty of wood glue between the pieces and clamp them together, or put something heavy on them. Make sure, before they start drying, that they are still all nicely lined up. Leave them to dry for a few hours.

Step 2: Step 2: Assembly (and More Drilling)

Nice! So now you should have a base (the big piece), a stem (3 pieces sandwiched together), and an arm (the fourth length). The next step is to put them all together.

You'll need a hole for your wire to pass through the arm, right at the end. Drill a 6mm hole through, making sure the hole will go top-to-bottom through the arm when it's in place (so you're drilling perpendicular to your bolt-hole).

The arm should slot easily into the gap between the two long pieces of the stem. Put the bolt through the hole you drilled earlier, and hold it in place with the washer and wingnut. Easy-peasy.

Place the stem on the base where you'd like it (measure to make sure it's in the middle and straight), and use a pencil to draw an outline around the stem. Put the stem down, and draw three holes on the base that are more-or-less equally spaced but aren't too close to your pencil outline. Use your drill with the larger drill bit (3mm) to drill three holes through your base on the markings. If you have a counter-sink, drill a wide opening a little way into the wood so that the screw heads can lie flush with the wood.

Swop your drill bit for the smallest one (2mm). Place the stem on the base, lined up with your pencil outline (if there's someone around to help you hold it, that makes it easier). Use your existing holes as guides to drill into the stem, through the base. These are pilot holes for your screws.

The reason you want to use a larger drill bit for the base holes is because it makes it easier to get the screws to "pull" the stem tight against the base.


Once all your drilling is done, screw the stem into the base. Add four rubber feet at the bottom for extra stability (and to keep your screws from scratching your desk). Voila!

Step 3: Step 3: Wiring

The only thing left to do is to wire it up. Wire the plug and add a switch (if you want one). There are plenty of videos online to show you what to do if you've never done this before. It's very easy. Just be careful not to leave any wire exposed.

Prep the other end of the wire for going into the light fitting. Pass it through the hole before you wire it up (don't laugh, I forgot to do that). Then screw the light fitting onto the bottom of the arm, close to the wire hole. Use the 2mm drill bit to make some pilot holes to make your screwing easier.

And that's it! Screw in your lightbulb, plug it in and marvel at your handiwork.

<p>Vaguely, I agree, but simple can only be beautiful. I'd prefer not seeing wires but this complicates conception. Nice job.</p>
Ooh, fun thought. I guess one could get a hole all the way down through the middle of the arm so the wire tucked into the wood if one had the right powertools and a very steady hand. Or, would you make the arm out of multiple pieces to leave a gap in the middle? I will ruminate on these ideas :)
<p>That is an awesome looking lamp.</p>
Thanks!

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