Introduction: Colored Pencil Lamp

About: I get a real kick out of completing projects with as low a budget as possible. It's usually pretty easy to collect almost all the parts necessary to make some pretty cool stuff. I also enjoy playing music and …

Whether you are a wood turner, or you are just thinking about giving it a try, this is a good project for you to consider. It's not nearly as tough as you might think, and the end result is rather mind-blowing. I think it's a pretty easy to follow project, but check out my video above to clear up any questions you might have.

Also, please vote for me in the "Before and After" contest, because I would really like to get a new camera, mine is far below acceptable. Thanks.

Step 1: Create a Turning Blank

First things first, you'll need a mold to create a turning blank. Nothing to it, just a simple box will do. Remember, you'll soon be taking it apart, so no need for any wood glue or fancy joinery. Just a couple of screws at each joint will work perfect. I also caulked all the seams on the inside with silicone (water proof) caulk to make sure there would be no leakage when adding the epoxy.

A valuable lesson I learned and I will now share with you is to coat the inside of your mold with wax paper, or some type of inner coating. That way, when the epoxy has totally dried, you can somewhat easily lift it out of the box. I complicated the project quite a bit by not thinking of this ahead of time.

Now that your box is coated with wax paper, you can begin adding your colored pencils. Where does one get tons and tons of colored pencils, you might ask? Well, some households like mine have a shoe box full of different colored pencils and crayons and whatnot that you may want to check out. I lucked up on a massive box full of colored pencils that was being discarded, so I thought, "perhaps I'll make lots of projects using colored pencils."

Anyways, add pencils until your blank is square. Just measure your box in width, then you'll know how high to fill it until you have created a square. To hold all of these pencils together, we'll be using a two part epoxy that I bought at the hardware store specifically for this project. It is labeled as a glaze finish for table tops and bar tops and stuff. You can use it top seal tables with coins and things like that on top.

So just follow the instructions on the epoxy box, which are really specific. I had to stir mine for about ten minutes or so in two different containers. It was pretty laborous. After I poured in on top of my pencils, I decided to leave it inside the house for the curing process. You see, we had a really, really cold week and the box said it works best at or around 70 degrees (Fahrenheit). I probably could have continued after a couple of days, but life caught up with me and I was really busy, so I didn't come back to my lonely little blank until about a week later.

I then cut my blank out of the box I made for it and was ready to get to the turning!

Step 2: Turn Your Lamp

I found center as best as I could and get this thing on my lathe. I started out at my very slowest speed until I got it rounded up, then I moved to a faster speed. It's not until you really get going that you begin to see some designs start to surface. Then you can say, "man, that part right there looks really cool. I think I'll leave that just like it is." That is to say, I had absolutely no design plan for this lamp, I just improvised and let it kind of design itself.

Step 3: Make a Base for Your Lamp

For my base, I decided to first use some scrap wood to turn an addition to the lamp itself. So I used my caliper to find out exactly how thick my lamp was at the bottom, then I turned a piece to meet up with it perfectly and then get a little wider.

Now I needed somewhere for that piece to go, so I measured it at the bottom and drew a space for it on two pallet boards. I used a table saw to cut out a cavity in the pallet pieces for the lamp to go in, then I attached the two pieces with half-lap joints. After the joints were cut, I took it to the scroll saw to cut out a design I drew using a french curve. Nothing fancy, just a subtle curve to give it a smoother look than just a rectangle, which may have been cool looking as well (maybe next time).

With that done, you can glue all three pieces together and let it sit overnight for the glue to dry. The next day, you can add the stain of your choosing. I chose a rather dark "red oak" stain that I feel really compliments the colored pencils.

Step 4: Assembly

The next logical step is to drill a hole from the top all the way through center to the bottom of your lamp. I got over-excited and drilled my lamp as soon as it was done being turned. But at this point would be a much better time to drill the hole.

I found an old lamp that had been discarded to take apart and use the components, but if you don't want to do this, you can certainly go out and buy all of the components at the store. It's super easy, there are just two wires inside the cord. Splice them, and hook each wire to the switch and screw them in place. Very simple.

Then just add a lamp shade and a bulb and you're good to go.

Thanks for checking out my instructable, and have yourself a fantastic day.

Before and After Contest 2016

Participated in the
Before and After Contest 2016