Introduction: Book Lamps

About: I like to make things for the internets. I also sell a pretty cool calendar at You'll like it.
The Book Lamp shines on all on its own on the bookshelf. Where once it housed pages to excite the imagination, it is now home to a lamp to liven up the space behind it.

This project can be made for $5 and takes less than half an hour to put together. Read on for the details.

Note: the bulb looks like an incandescent, but it is in fact a CFL. The spiral fluorescent is inside a plastic bulb.

Step 1: Stuff

This project is very simple and if you already have a book that you're willing to sacrifice, the cost is just $5 for the lamp from IKEA.

Some people freak out when books get destroyed for projects like this. Well, tons of unsold books get destroyed every year. If this was one of the last few copies on Earth that would be one thing, but according to the dust cover of the book I used there were over 100,000 sold so there are plenty more. Having read some of it a while ago, the world isn't missing much anyway.

  • IKEA Lampan lamp
  • hardcover book at least 2" wide inside
  • rubber band
  • Pliers
  • X-acto knife
  • safety glasses

Step 2: Free Up the Lamp Cable

The lampan lamp from IKEA is great. For $5 you get a little plastic lamp and a 7W CFL light bulb. All we need is the cord inside the lamp, though. It would be great if it was easy to separate the lamp body and the cord, but it's pretty firmly attached.

So put on a pair of safety glasses, grab a pair of of pliers and go to town. Keep snapping off pieces of plastic until all that is left is the cord itself. This only takes a couple minutes.

Step 3: Cut Out Main Space in Book

Put the bulb in the cord and place both on top of the book's pages. With a pen, outline the space that the bulb and most of the socket would need. You do not need to worry about space for the cord right now.

If you look at the picture below you'll see what I mean. Now, I was a little delusional when I made these curving lines. As I cut into the book I quickly realized that straight lines are easier and faster to do, especially when you're cutting through 700+ pages. So instead of this drawing, draw out an L-shape that would hold the light.

With the X-acto knife, go nuts on the book, slicing it up all the way through.

Step 4: Cut Out Gap

Now we'll need a gap for the cord to go through. Eyeball the cord against the pages and see how many pages you need to cut out for it. For these pages, simply continue the left cut line from before and continue it to the bottom. The result will leave the page with one straight cut across it.

Step 5: Band It Together

Place the light into the book and place a rubber band around the cord and pages to keep it in place as well as keep all the pages together.

Step 6: Turn It On!

With everything set to go, find a good place for your book lamp and turn it on. Enjoy the calming glow of the little 7W bulb and start thinking of another project to do.

other activities to do right after this:
  • drink some tea
  • doodle on a piece of paper
  • listen to your favorite album on a pair of headphones with your eyes closed
  • walk outside for a bit