Introduction: DIY Homemade Fancy Lamp

I'm a college student currently taking a class on circuits. During class, I had an idea to use a very simple circuit to make a hands-on project designed for elementary school students that was fun, creative, and informative. This project includes the use of household items that when put together, can turn on a light bulb! Simply turning on a lightbulb with household items is fun, but for elementary school students, the bar is raised when they are able to be creative while making a lamp. The end product is something they can use to decorate their room, or even show off to their friends.

I am applying Core Disciplinary Standard #8: Applying, Maintaining, and Assessing Technological Products and Systems.

The practice and objective is for the participant to learn how to safely build a circuit, as well as understand the components that go into it and how it operates.


  • Aluminum Foil
  • (2) D Batteries
  • Electrical Tape
  • Flashlight Bulb
  • Glass/Plastic Cup
  • Acrylic Paint (your preference)
  • Paint Brush

Step 1: Step 1: Gather Your Supplies

You can find almost all of these supplies at your local Walmart or Target, but the item that was the hardest for me to find was the flashlight bulb. Most flashlights nowadays dont use bulbs, so you might have to go to a specialty store to find one. This project is designed for enthusiastic elementary school students with guardian supervision. Also, its relatively easy to complete over a video call so the students can do it from the comfort of their homes.

All items needed for this project are common in most stores and have a final cost of around $30.

Step 2: Step 2: Design Your Lamp

Using your preferred color of acrylic paints and your paintbrush, make any type of design on your lamp that you wish! I would recommend using light colors so the light can illuminate outside of the glass. You can also include stickers, glitter, markers, or whatever else you want to decorate with, just be creative!

(In a classroom setting, this allows the students to be more involved with how this lamp turns out so they become more invested in how it works, I hope)

Step 3: Step 3: Create Your Circuit!

The first thing you want to do is to cut your foil into long strips. 1 foot long and 1-2 inches wide worked the best for me. Then fold these strips hotdog style into thinner strips. (Be careful folding because the foil can cut you)

Use a small piece of tape to secure the foil strip the metal ring around the light bulb. At the base of the light bulb is a metal tip where the bulb makes contact in the flashlight, do not let this piece of foil touch that tip or your circuit won't work!

Using your tape, secure the other end of the same foil strip to the negative end of the battery. Be sure the foil is covering the center of the battery end.

Tape the second foil strip to the positive end of the second battery.

Now make sure the tip of the light bulb is touching the foil of the second battery and then touch the battery ends together!

Vuala! Electricity made at home.

Step 4: Step 4: Secure Your Bulb!

Here is the relatively tricky part, getting the lamp shade over the lightbulb while also pressing the battery ends together. Don't worry! I have a solution.

First, take a small piece of tape and stick it to the bottom side of the bulb allowing some to hang off.

Second, take the small bit of overhanging tape on the bulb and tape it down to the second piece of foil, allowing the bottom tip of the bulb to touch the foil.

This method ensures that when you place the creative lamp shade you made over the bulb, that it stays in place long enough for you to see your finished product!

Step 5: Step 5: Adding Your Lamp Shade

Now the most exciting part, seeing your hard work pay off!

All you have left to do now is to place your creatively decorated lamp shade over your secured bulb and marvel in its beauty.