Introduction: Book Light

So I recently saw the book light that Typerwriter Boneyard put together and really liked it... Except for the $140 price tag.  So I decided to make my own.  This was not a very technical build but was time consuming with getting the wiring channels cut out.  Total cost was right around $35.  $20 of that 35 was for the book alone.  I also needed special drill bits (Forstner) which were $20 but I did not include that in the build price as they can obviously be reused.  Total time was just under 3hrs.


Step 1: Supplies

Here is all you will need.

Book (make sure it is quite thick to handle depth of the socket)
6' extension cord
light switch
light socket
electrical tape
light bulb
glue (I actually never used it)

The Forstner bit set was $20 at Lowes.  It is very important to use this type of drill bit as traditional bits, paddle bits, and routers will make a very rough edge and will not look good.  The two bits I used were the 1 3/8" and 1/2".

I have seen some people use a watered down Elmer's Glue solution on the page edges to keep them in place but I didnt want to take the chance it would ruin the gold look that is on my specific book.  
Also, some people have used dry wall screws to hold the pages together.  I have personally not tried this but I would consider it as long as you dont place them close to the page edges.

Step 2: Bits Used

Here are the two bits I used.

Step 3: 1st Big Hole for Bulb

I decided to place the bulb centered at the top.
It was originally higher up however I realized that it was less than 1/2" from the edge of the pages and I did not want to tear a bunch of pages and make the outside look crappy.  So I moved it down a bit to give myself some more paper between the hole and the edge of the pages.

As for drilling...  you MUST use a LOT of pressure to hold the book pages together or it will just grab and rip them out.  I used a hand drill so I simply stood on the book but a better way would be to use clamps in a drill press.  Be sure to clean the bit often.  I used a medium speed with light pressure for the cover and pulsing high speed with moderate pressure to get through the pages.

I went the exact depth of the socket knowing that the wires would take up a little room and give me a little edge of the socket above the cover.

Step 4: 2nd Hole for Switch

I drilled the second hole for the switch a place where I liked.  Following the same guidance as the 1st hole I went the full depth of the switch and the housing.

Step 5: Switch Channel

This is the path I intend to run the switch wires.

I looked at the depth of the switch to see how far I was going to have to cut a channel for the housing.  After review, I decided to remove the lower nut to reduce the depth I would have to channel out.  You can see the nut in the profile pic and it is removed when the switch is sitting in the completed channel.

I placed the channel for the wires 2 pages down but cant say there was any reason for doing it.

Step 6: Wiring Hole

Since the 1st large hole is 1 3/8" it is very tight so there is no room to run the wires to the bottom of the light socket or for the initial power wire to come up.  So I drilled another 1/2" hole beside the large one so the wires could be run the full depth of the book.  

I drilled down to the depth of the large hole (initially) the same way I drilled hole 1 and 2.  I did run into a bit of binding issues so I had to do a bit of extra cutting work to get the pages to lay flat again.  

Step 7: Power In

In the last step I said I "Initially" drilled the additional 1/2" hole to the depth of the light socket.  After cleaning it up, I simply continued that same hole through the rest of the pages.  I should have used a depth marker on the bit because as you can see I accidentally went through the back cover.  Not an issue but I would have preferred not to have made that mistake. 

Again for some reason I had binding issues with this 1/2" hole.  It took a lot of patience to get it out without tearing everything up.  I realized it got jammed because I did not clean the bit and hole as often as I should have.

Now working on the back of the book I cut a channel to allow the power wire to flow through the bound corner.  I cut the channel in two stages to reduce the chances of tearing which would be visible from the outside.

Step 8: Wiring

Now this is where it got to be a pain.  In hind sight I would have made that 1/2" wiring hole 3/4" to give me more room to work.

First I cut the female end off of the 6' extension cord and ran it through the back of the book.  I put a few pieces of electrical tape where the base of the light socket will be as an added layer of protection.

I adjusted the lengths of both the white extension cord and the black switch wires to minimize extra wire as there really was not any room for it. 

The wiring is basic.  The large prong on the white extension cord is the negative terminal.  The negative portion of the wire is ribbed the entire length so you can easily identify it.  The smaller prong and smooth half of the white extension cord is the positive wire.  
The switch has 2 wires.  One will be connected to the positive wire of the white extension cord and the other to the positive terminal on the bulb socket, essentially placing the switch in-line.  The negative/ribbed wire on the extension cord which is the negative, will go directly to the negative terminal on the bulb socket.  
The center contact point on a bulb is the positive.  Usually (mine was) the positive terminal on the bulb socket is bronze color while the negative is silver.

I connected and taped the incoming positive to one of the switch wires.  Which of the two switch wire it goes to doesn't matter.  At least it didn't for my exact switch.  I made sure to keep it in the 1/2" wiring hole so it would interfere with the socket I was about to jam in.

Next I fit the switch and tested to make sure the book shut completely.  I should note I tested the books closure numerous times throughout the build.

Quick note- many of the bulb sockets come with some sort of mount either to the side or bottom. This will need to be removed.  The mounts are held on by 1-2 small screws so its a 10 sec fix.

Now the fun part.  Cramming the bulb socket into the hole while being able to keep the book pages laying flat.  It just took a bit of time and effort but by initially pressing it in and then manipulating it with the book open to the page where the base of the socket would sit (the one with the electrical tape), I was able to get it in.

The last picture here is wiring up the second black positive wire from the switch to the gold terminal and the ribbed negative white wire to the silver terminal.  I did not take a picture of it but I did place a few small strips of tape over the terminals for added protection.

Last thing to do was to gently pull on the white wire as I close the book to take out any slack.

Step 9: Test

Now for the test.

I put the small nut on the switch to lock it in place.

I put the bulb in and took it to the kitchen where I could quickly handle any overheating issues haaaa.

So I turned it on and off a number of times and than left it on for 45 min to test constant heat exposure.  All went off without any issue.

The bulb is a historic replica from Home Depot.  It was pricey at $7 for a single bulb but it was the look I wanted to copy.  It is 60w.

(And yes I know I need to clean my kitchen :-p )

Step 10: All Done...

Here is the completed project on my night stand.

The last picture that shows the top of the book and wire you can see 2-3 spots where the book is not 100% flat.  It is not nearly as bad as the photo makes it seem but I will fix it when I get a few minutes one of these days.

All in all it was a fun little project.  And saving over $100 to get the same thing as the lamp from Typerwriter Boneyard, I think I came out ahead.

Hope you enjoyed.