Introduction: Crystal Geode Lamp
This is a quick 1-day DIY project about how to turn your crystal geode into a lamp. This particular geode was a gift from my cousin. He found this unique quartz crystal at a department store called "HomeSense". Since quartz is one of the most common minerals found in the Earth's crust, these kinds of geodes are pretty affordable. Let me know what you think in the comments!
An extended list of where to find the supplies for this project can be found here:
Step 1: STEP 1: Finding Your Geode!
These kinds of geodes form where there's a hollow, porous rock that allows mineral-rich water to seep through its walls. As a result, the minerals form crystals over millions of years. The rocks likely became hollow from volcanic lava that cooled quickly on the outside (forming a shell) and gases inside the shell caused a rupture, allowing lava to leak out and make the inner void.
I was lucky enough to receive this large quartz/silica geode as a gift from my cousin. He found it for sale at a department store called "HomeSense". They usually have 2-3 random crystals/geodes on display depending on their stock. Sometimes people sell random geodes on Amazon that you can browse here.
Try to find a geode with a deep hollow cavity so that you can hide the LED bulbs.
You can also go digging for one! If the rocks are solid all the way through, they're sometimes referred to as "Thunder Eggs". You can sign up to go on a treasure hunt dig and discover one fresh out of the earth. The best known productive (and free) areas are located near Prineville in Ochoco National Forest (Central Oregon) and Succor Creek Creek Canyon (Eastern Oregon).
Step 2: Drilling a Hole for the Lamp Cord
Quartz is a very hard substance so it's not very easy to drill. It's composed mostly of silicon, so it will be a lot like drilling into a thick piece of glass.
Try to locate a section of the geode on the back where the wall is the thinnest to minimize the drilling.
To drill the hole, we can't just use regular drill bits! We need to use a substance harder than quartz: DIAMONDS!
We'll be using these drill bits coated with diamond dust. Don't worry, the diamonds used to coat these bits aren't the expensive kind - they're likely synthetic industrial-grade diamonds, so these drill bits are actually very inexpensive.
Once you've decided on your drilling location, set up the geode in the drill press (you could use a hand drill too).
Have some water nearby to use as a lubricant and to cool down your bit (it can get hot).
Go slow! Plunge the drill bit carefully and keep re-applying cold water to the hole and the bit as you make progress with the hole.
The diamond dust may wear off before you complete your hole. In that case, you may need to replace the bit with a fresh one to help you finish the job.
It took me about 30 minutes to get through this one. That may seem like a long time to be drilling - and it is! It just makes it that much more satisfying when you get through :)
Step 3: Choosing and Preparing Your Light Source (LEDs)
I'll be using these 12V LED-array bulbs for this lamp, but you can really use any light source you'd like!
You could use a halogen, fairy lights, Christmas lights, RGB LEDs, or even tangle up a left-over LED-strip into a ball and stick it inside.
In this case, I wired up four of the 12-Volt LED-array bulbs. Two of the bulbs are a "cool white" color and are wired together, and the other two are a "warm yellow" color.
To acommodate the 2 separate bulb colors, I used a 4-wire "alarm system cable" as the lamp cord. This allows me to have 2 "channels" of power for connecting the white and yellow lights separately.
For convenience, I connected all of the bulbs with a tie wrap and wired them together in a little assembly.
Step 4: Wiring the Lamp Cord to the LED Bulbs
Thread the lamp cord cable (or wires) into the drilled hole on the back of the geode.
I used a bent coat hangar as a hook to help me pull the wires all the way through.
Once the wires were through, I soldered the wire leads to the bulb assembly.
Pull the bulbs back into the geode carefully. The edges of the drilled hole are sharp and could potentially strip the wires - leading to a short circuit. Pull gently and double-check that none of the wires are shorted.
Step 5: Optional Wireless Remote Control
Just for fun I'm going to use a RF-signal remote controlled LED controller (found for about $10).
All you need to do is wire the small LED controller in series (in between) your power supply and the light bulbs.
Once the controller is wired in, you can control your lamp wirelessly with the remote!
Step 6: Wiring the Lamp Cord to the The Power Supply
In my case, I'm wiring this lamp into an existing 12-volt 5-amp power supply that controls all of the bedroom lights.
I used various modular connectors so I didn't have to solder everything.
Step 7: Test It Out Your Glowing Geode Lamp!
Plug in or switch on your power supply and make your geode glow.
I was surprised and delighted to find that the outer shell of this geode is actually translucent and lets the light pass through!
Participated in the
Make it Glow Contest