Dowel Lamp

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Introduction: Dowel Lamp

About: I love creating. I love ART in all its forms. I am a daughter of the 50s, born in 1992. I had the pleasure to be a Featured Author on this fabulous site, and you can read my interview here: https://www.ins...

I made this lamp "playing" with wooden dowels and I loved doing it. The shapes and geometries that you can create with things like dowels are infinite (or almost!) so it's always very fun for me to try and create new ones. Yet the part I love the most is putting the light in it to see the magic light effects that are created by such shapes. I'm always amazed at how beautiful they are, even when the shapes are so simple!
It was not purposely made to make it look like a skyscraper, but I decided to call it that way because the effect that the light gave to it in the dark reminded me of a modern skyscraper.

This lamp was made as a "companion" to the other dowel lamp I made a while ago, the Spiral Lamp. As you can see, they are very similar and the way I made it is almost the same one too. The only thing that changes is the way the squares are placed to create a different geometry.

I hope you like this lamp as much as I do, and if you do, please vote and don't forget to tell me what you think about it! :)

Step 1: What You Need

  • 124 wood dowels - mine are about 7cm (2.75 inches) long with a diameter of 5mm (0.19 inches), you can get them here.
  • hot glue/white glue
  • piece of cardboard
  • pencil
  • cutter
  • light bulb* and bulb holder
*IMPORTANT: I always recommend using LED light bulbs or at least low-energy light bulbs, especially the cold light ones.

Step 2: Make the Squares

Let's start making the squares that will compose the lamp.
You simply have to glue 4 wood dowels in a square shape, joining the ends of the dowels together. Each dowel will be the side of the square.
You can use either hot glue or white glue. I used hot glue here because it's so much faster!

You have to make 31 squares like this.

I know, this is probably the longest and most boring part of making this lamp but it's very important!
After all, this may be long, but it's extremely easy!
Just add a little patience to the list of the things you need :D

Step 3: The Cardboard Square

Now cut a square out of cardboard. It must be as big as the squares you made with dowels. It's better if it's a millimeter or 2 (0.03 inches) smaller so that it won't be too visible from the outside later. 

Take the bulb holder that you will use for this lamp, trace its outline in the middle of the cardboard square and cut it out.
This way your piece of cardboard will have a hole in the middle: that's where you will have to place your bulb holder at the end.

Step 4: The Base

Let's start to compose the lamp now.
We will start from the bottom.

You have to glue 3 squares together, one above the other, spreading some glue on their top.
I used white glue this time. I didn't have to move the structure too much so I could easily give it time to dry.

I placed them in a way that they wouldn't be all on the same side. If you look at the pictures, you will notice that the second square (the central one) is upside down so it looks different on the outsode than the other two ones.

After the 3 squares, glue the cardboard square on the top of them.

Step 5: Compose the Lamp

Glue another wood square on top of the cardboard, just like you were doing for the base.
The change happens with the second square: you must glue it placing the 4 sides facing the 4 angles of the previous square, and vice versa. 
If this doesn't make much sense, please look at the pictures and I am sure it will be clearer.

As you do this, you just have to put a little bit of glue on the spots where the 2 squares will intersect.

Now continue this way until you have glued all of your squares.
Remember: all of them must be placed like the first 2 ones otherwise you won't obtain this particular shape.

ps: the white glue will be visible at first but don't worry! It becomes transparent as it dries.

Step 6: Done!

Finally install the bulb holder and light bulb and...believe it or not, your lamp is done! It was just a matter of composing pieces, that's all!
What do you think about the result? :)

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78 Comments

Hi Linda I love your lamp, I have loads of wooden bbq skewers!! what do you think.

It would be a lot of work but it might work. Thanks John... :)

I wonder what it would look like using clear 'hot glue' sticks? Seems like it would be really easy to build. Maybe RGB leds...

Gotta try it.

Great job!

I could have said once a person learns to make the lamps it would be addicting lol. It looks like I'm talking about chairs! But hell that probably would be as well lol

1 reply

No worries, I understood :D I agree with you, I believe that the possibilities to make lamps are endless. My favorite "kind" is the one that allows you to create light effects when lit. The atmosphere is magic!

Happy 2015!! :)

Yeah the big red one. I could have never came up with that. It looks really nice. I love the legs and how the back isn't just one length and the middle is higher up then the sides. Really cool! Plus red is my favorite color lol. I think it would be addicting once a person learns how. Lol. There's so many ways to actually make them now. I've seen some made from mason jars and pieces of pipe and just everything, but the way you make them is still my favorite simply because it actually takes some talent and wood always looks better then metal I think.

Oh and that chair!!!!! That's simply amazing that you turned that old night stand/end table thingy into a beautiful little chair!! That blew my mind when I saw it lol.

1 reply

Thank youuu!! Are you talking about the armchair I made? That one actually turned out pretty big and heavy :D It was fun to work on it!

Yeah that's what I was thinking! You know everybody and there daddy wants to be a "country boy or girl" lol so a lot of people I know have there houses and apartments in that type of decor! But again I think it's awesomely beautiful the way it is! The light shapes coming out of it are awesome. Plus, I looked at the little cube one yesterday. It's really cool. I haven't looked at how it's made yet but it looks like it would be almost easy enough for my untalented butt to make lol!!

1 reply

I love rustic home decor too so I really think it would look perfect that way! I am sure you'll have fun making ANY lamp. Believe me, the satisfaction you get when you turn them on and see the light is enormous! You may end up getting addicted to lamps like I did :D

Please share a picture of them if you make any! :)

I was just looking at the instructions and I bet it would look cool with some of that brown string that is frayed and use it to tie the edges where it's glued together.

1 reply

Wow, that's a great idea! The string would give a rustic look to it. I will keep it in mind!

That would be really cool. You'll have to show it when you figure out what to use!! I may attempt to make one, one of these days!!

1 reply

I will! ;) I will also add it to my Etsy shop since I always wanted to put this one as well!

I'm so glad you like it!! I did not put this one for sale because I realized I should have made it a little bigger. I made a larger version here but compared to this one it's shorter. I have to find a way to make another one just like this one using a different material that allows me to make it bigger! Unfortunately I don't have longer dowels :-/

I had not seen it yet, it's incredibly beautiful! O_O

Favorited instantly!

4 replies

Thank youuuuu!! :) Have you seen the new lamps and lighting contest?

Yeah! And I immediatly thought of you!

Are you joining it? My vote is ready :D

The Iron Man light prize is great!

haha thank you!! :D

I really want to, I just have to come up with something! And yes, the prizes are awesome!! You must thank Tarun for them :D
If you haven't seen his amazing creations yet, you must!
https://www.instructables.com/member/Tarun+Upadhyaya/

Yes, I saw his creations recently, he's an amazing artist!

Let me know if you enter in this contest! I think you have very good chances! :)