Introduction: Dowel Lamp

Picture of Dowel Lamp

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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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

Picture of 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!

Picture of 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? :)


madclickr made it! (author)2016-11-19

I made this for daughter's birthday

madclickr (author)madclickr2016-11-19

I did paint it and modify the base of it.

Heyup (author)2016-07-31

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... :)

cozzz (author)2015-06-10

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!

joshuadaniel82 (author)2014-12-31

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

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!! :)

joshuadaniel82 (author)2014-12-31

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.

joshuadaniel82 (author)2014-12-31

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.

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!

joshuadaniel82 (author)2014-12-31

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!!

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! :)

joshuadaniel82 (author)2014-12-30

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.

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

joshuadaniel82 (author)2014-12-30

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!!

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

joshuadaniel82 (author)2014-12-30

This one is amazing as well. Probably my favorite actually!!

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 :-/

Darthorso (author)2014-06-17

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

Favorited instantly!

lindarose92 (author)Darthorso2014-06-18

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

Darthorso (author)lindarose922014-06-18

Yeah! And I immediatly thought of you!

Are you joining it? My vote is ready :D

The Iron Man light prize is great!

lindarose92 (author)Darthorso2014-06-18

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!

Darthorso (author)lindarose922014-06-18

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! :)

lindarose92 (author)Darthorso2014-06-18

I really hope so! I must hurry and create as much as possible before the heat comes! :D

Are you going to make something for it?

Darthorso (author)lindarose922014-06-18

No, I don't think I'll join it! I have several projects in progress but no one is about lamps or lights!

Can't wait for your creation, keep me updated!

temporarychaos (author)2014-06-10

This is so cool and i'm really glad making it has a endless potential. I will add a few pictures when I get my lamp back but I added a few reflectors that at first made things a bit to bright but I decided to add a blue and red alternating pattern that had a pretty neat effect but sadly I still don't like the colors as much as I thought I would at first. Have you tried to put something on top of the structure add a different pattern to the ceiling ?

It sounds great, I can't wait to see it! Thank you!! :)

I decided to leave the top of the lamp free because the light bulb is inserted from that hole. The only 2 options I can think of right now is to either have a cover that you can remove whenever you want, or keep the structure separate from the base so that you can open/close it. That last option needs something to keep the structure firm though.

I was thinking you could make it so you could just sit it on top, and of course remove it when you need to. The thought honestly came to me watching my best friends son play with legos a few weeks ago. O and apparently I gave my lamp as a gift lol. But it gives me a good excuse to make another one. If you come up with a good top please let me know. I figure it will be one of those things you don't make a intentional plan for and you just start building with the flow. I'm still a little amazed at the light these produce I would really like to make one to sit a jar candle in so the fire light will contort the patterns.

That would be wonderful too :) I'm in love with the light effects it makes too and I bet that adding a top on it would make it even more special! I think that making a larger lamp (I used short dowels so mine is pretty small) would make the top easier to create, but I will definitely let you know if I come up with an idea for that! :)

iamrikkimarie (author)2014-02-09

how can I post pictures?

You can click on "add images" right below the comment box, between the "I made it" button and the "post" button :)

I can't wait to see them!!

So I stained the wood first with "chestnut" I believe was the name. Also my dowels are 5/8 inch and 10 inches long so it's a pretty big lamp! Looks like it's leaning because my table was uneven lol. But I just used a clamp lamp from tool store (minus the clamp) my husband built a little wooden stand for the bottom of the light fixture to sit in. Then he cut out a line in the bottom dowl so even with the cord running it would sit evenly. Then he added a switch so you just roll it up to turn it on and off! He always makes my projects his if you can't tell lol) Looks awesome! I will be making another one to spiral since he wanted me to go with skyscraper!

I'm so happy to see that you made it, it's really beautiful! I love the dowels you used, it looks so much more rustic, I really like that effect. Now I look forward to see the spiral one!! :D Have fun! :)

kd7eir (author)2013-12-17

Very nice! I love the design ideas that you came up with for this and the spiral lamp.

lindarose92 (author)kd7eir2013-12-17

Thank you so much! These are some of the creations I am most proud of :)

emaye (author)2013-11-15

this is beautiful. just like u!!! well done...

lindarose92 (author)emaye2013-11-15

Thank you so much! :)

yneedto (author)2013-11-04

Very nice. Might try this one. Thanks. Voting

lindarose92 (author)yneedto2013-11-04

Thank you very much! :)

Jedrokivich (author)2013-11-03

Wow, from the picture I thought it was made of acrylic or something fancy like that! Looks amazing! Voted :)

lindarose92 (author)Jedrokivich2013-11-03

Thank you so much! That means a lot, I wish I could use acrylic :D

jhamid2 (author)2013-11-03

cooooooooooooool and easy to be done

lindarose92 (author)jhamid22013-11-03

Yes, very! Thank you! :)

hectorf954 (author)2013-11-02

Cool project. Where can I buy the dowels? How much are they ?

lindarose92 (author)hectorf9542013-11-03

Thanks! Actually the dowels I have are left from my father's work and we've had them for many years so I don't know their cost or where they are sold. I've seen them sold in hobby stores here in Italy, maybe it's the same in the US? I think you could also get them from a carpenter. They don't cost much anyway :)

jasonsj (author)2013-10-31

that kind of bulb is called E14, for the size of the socket/thread. these are small bulbs, tipically used in bedside table lamps. the other commonly found in most lighting is called E27. at least here in Argentina. LOL!

GREAT JOB! and thanks for the pictures.

lindarose92 (author)jasonsj2013-10-31

Yes, in fact I consider this lamp a bedside table lamp because it's quite small. I don't know much about light bulbs but anybody can adjust this project to the size they want and use the bulb and bulb holder they prefer :)

zamzamj (author)2013-10-31

Lovely work :) !

lindarose92 (author)zamzamj2013-10-31

Thank you! :)

jasonsj (author)2013-10-30

That's a really good project. can you take a picture of the bulb light and bulb socket you used? as you did with the dowel, in your hand. THANKS FOR TEH IDEA! Icecreams sticks will be good to, but i would do it with 2 or 3 stiks together to make the light have more space in between to spread around.
I'm not a native speaker, hope you get the idea! LOL!

lindarose92 (author)jasonsj2013-10-31

Here is the picture! Actually I can't remember if the light bulb I used for the pictures above is that one or another, I tried the lamp with more than one but they are all about the same anyway.

About This Instructable




Bio: 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 ... More »
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