Introduction: Golden Stripes - How to Make a Tall Floor Lamp

About: I like to make and create and here I will share some of those creations with the world.

It was time for a new diy home project. This time the goal was to make an eye catching floor lamp that would create ambient light in a living room. I also wanted it to be an easy wood project to make and therefore it needed to be simple in shape and construction. So I spent some time sketching and this is what emerged.

Step 1: The Concept

The main purpose of this lamp is to create ambient light and the best ambient light comes from a light source that you cannot see directly. This is achieved by directing the light source towards the wall and then the light will bounce back into the room. That is why this lamp is so high. It maximizes the length of the led strip which maximizes the wall surface area that the lamp lights up.

This height also takes the upper light source closer to the ceiling. This is not the main light source and will not be used daily. It is an extra light source with warmer light and will be used more as a mood light.

This floor lamp is entirely made out of birch plywood. The base is 250x250 mm and 72 mm high and made out of 18 mm thick plywood. The frustum shaped tower part is made out of 9 mm birch plywood and the size of its lower end is 60x60 mm and higher end is 100x100 mm. The total height of the lamp is 1960 mm.

Step 2: Cutting and Routering the Pieces

The pieces of the step pyramid shaped lamp base are simple squares and therefore easy to make. I used a 45 degree router bit to trim the edges.

The pieces for the frustum shaped upper part are simple shapes in general but due to their height/length would be difficult to cut out with a regular small/medium sized table saw. And making a special rig to keep it in place and finding/making stands for it takes more time than using a circular saw or a jigsaw (which of course means not the cleanest cut). I used another piece of plywood as a straight edge for the jigsaw and got a good result.

I cut out a small square that will become a surface to attach the bulb socket for the GU10 bulb that is going into the top. Then sanded a small angle to the edges with a belt sander so it will wedge itself into its place thanks to the frustum (cone) shape of the upper part of the lamp. It stays there firmly without a need to fasten it.

Step 3: Putting Things Together

The base is a simple assembly using screws because you need access to the edges of the frustum to attach it to the base. It is also the easiest way. I cut out a place to insert a power adapter for the led strip and a hole through every plate. These are needed for the power cables to go through.

The frustum part is put together with glue and screws. The screws are not mandatory but they make the gluing a bit more simple process because it would take a lot of clamps to properly glue the entire 1,9 meter distance.

The most difficult part of this build is to get the angle of the smaller (lower) surface of the frustum right. The vertical (Y) axis of that shape needs to be under a 90 degree angle relative to the lower (smaller) end of the frustum surface to stand straight when attached to the base. This means that the X and Z axis need to be under a 90 degree angle relative to the Y axis.
But the angle of the side of the frustum is 90,62 degrees and this makes the marking process difficult to do with simple tools. Even a small mistake in that angle will affect the result a lot because of the height/length of that piece.

This is why if I ever need to do it again I will probably use a cnc cutting service. This would give straight and accurate shapes which then would ease the assembly because it gives accurate corners which can be used as reference points in the marking of the the lower smaller end of the frustum (hopefully my explanation makes sense).

Then I covered the screw heads and some other areas that were damaged during cutting process with wood putty and then sanded everything smooth (the smoother the better) and then cleaned everything.

Step 4: Painting the Pieces

To paint the lamp black I used a mat water based paint and painted 2 layers.

The golden stripes on the lamp have to be straight but because the masking tape is rather flexible it took some time to make sure that everything is straight. I used a 2m long spirit level as a guide and the stripe is 8 mm wide.

The edges of the base details were painted with the same gold paint. I used a brush but probably should have used a small paint roller. The glittering pieces inside the paint are drawn around when using a brush and therefore it is more difficult to get an even smooth layer. I also was expecting to have to paint 2 layers but one turned out to be enough.

Step 5: Final Assembly

It is time to attach the led strip profile and insert the electrical components. The led strip profile was attached with thin double sided tape because the fit into the slot was tight enough to not insert screws. I also cut out a small piece from the lower end of the profile. This is where the led strip power cables will go through.

After that I attached/assembled the lamp base with screws and then made all the electrical connections in it.

The led strip I used is a 120 led/m version. I would say this is a minimum amount of leds per meter if the goal is that the lamp would be able to light a large enough area.
The upper bulb is a GU10 bulb and the main reason I chose it is that there are a lot of GU10 bulbs with different properties (quite powerful ones as well) and even different smart bulbs.

Both light sources are at the moment controlled with an on/off switch but this will most likely change in the near future. The plan is to put all the lamps around the house into one remote controlled system.

And the final step was to add pieces of felt under the base to protect the floor.

Step 6: Golden Stripes Floor Lamp Is Done

And so this diy project is done. The lamp works as planned and looks as planned and so was worth the effort.

Plywood Challenge

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