Introduction: How to Make a DIY Smart LED Floor Lamp // Limited Tools Build

About: Weekly how-to project videos about #woodworking, metalworking, and more. #Maker. Created by Johnny Brooke.

I made this super cool DIY smart Alexa enabled LED floor lamp using basic tools! Thanks to Lowe's for sponsoring this video, learn more about the Craftsman 81 piece mechanics tool set here.

Step 1: Materials and Tools

Step 2: Base Layout

The first thing I needed to do was lay out the basic shape for the base of the lamp onto some scrap ¾” plywood. In retrospect, I probably should have used MDF instead, since it would have looked a lot better after painting, but this was what I had on hand.

This design is based on an Instructables post by Open Design Club, I’ll have a link to it in the video description below, and they have measurements in that post, although you’ll need to adjust them based on your light. After laying out the design, I cut it out using my jigsaw. I made sure to take my time and really try to stay on my lines, as that would mean I’d have a lot less sanding to do later. With the right blade, you can get a really nice finish using a jigsaw. I used a higher tooth count blade meant for cutting wood. Once the first piece was cut, I could trace it onto the remaining plywood and cut out the second layer. This time, instead of trying to stay right on the line, I stayed slightly proud of the lines so I could sand this second layer flush with the first layer later.

Step 3: Glue Up

Next, I could glue the base pieces together. First, I attached the two layers, using glue and brad nails, and then added these little feet that I cut off camera. These allow the wiring to run under the bottom of the base.

Also, I made sure not to add nails towards the center of the base, as I knew I’d need to drill holes there later, so I added a clamp there for good measure.

After the base dried, I traced the shape of the center portion of the base onto a small scrap and cut it off camera. This piece will serve as the top of the lamp, which will connect the three LED lights and give them more stability.

Step 4: Sanding and Painting

With all of the pieces cut, I could start shaping them and getting them ready for paint. First, I removed the bulk of the extra material over at the oscillating belt sander. This tool is incredibly useful for projects like this, as that large flat surface allows you to get nice, straight edges. I also checked the ends of the base for square along the way, making sure they didn’t end up skewed.

After shaping at the belt sander, I continued to refine the pieces with the random orbit sander, which can get into those areas the belt sander can’t reach. I also broke all of the edges and rounded the corners while I was at it.

You can see the finished top piece as well, and see how the shape mirrors the base, only smaller.

With the pieces finish sanded, I went ahead and applied a few coats of white spray paint and let it dry overnight.

Step 5: Cable Management

The next day, I could start working on getting the LED lights mounted to the base and top.

The first thing I needed to do was cut this raised logo off of the end of the light, so that it would sit flush on the base. A utility knife made quick work of this.

Next, I started thinking about cable management and first thought some electrical tape running down the back of the lights would work, but I ended up abandoning this idea later as it didn’t look good on the final lamp.

I needed to drill a through hole for the cords to pass through in the center of the base, so I measured to find the center then drilled the hole using a Forstner bit. I made sure to flip the base over just before the bit passed all the way through so I’d end up with a cleaner hole.

Step 6: Drilling for Mounting

Next, I marked locations for the machine screws I used to mount the lights. These lights are meant to be hung with a chain and have a small bracket with a hole in it on each end, and this ended up being the perfect way to mount the lights. I drilled the hole and then countersunk it to get rid of the tearout.

Next, I counterbored the holes on the underside of the base, so that the machine screws and nuts would be hidden inside the underside of the base. I drilled these holes with a ½” Forstner bit.

To give the lights a little more stability, I decided to recess the ends of the light into the base. First, I traced around the end of the light and then drilled out most of the recess with a Forstner bit. Then I used a chisel to clean out the rest of the recess.

After cutting the recess for the other two lights, I test fit the light with the 1 ½” long machine screws and it fit great.

Next, I transferred the hole locations to the top piece using an awl and then pre-drilled the holes. I also needed to drill another recess for the on/off switch, which is located on that end of the light, which I drilled with a Forstner bit.

Step 7: Mounting Lights

To attach the lights to the top, I used some ¾” long screws, as I didn’t want the machine screws like I used on the base sticking through the top. I also made sure the lights were switched to the on position before attaching them to the top.

I flipped the light over and then placed the other ends of the lights into the recesses, also running the machine screws through the holes. These lights were really unstable up until this point, so much so that I was a little nervous about the light being wobbly, but attaching the lights at both ends gave them plenty of rigidity.

I turned the light onto its side and used a socket and ratchet from that Craftsman mechanic’s tool set to attach the nuts. This was pretty tricky, as the machine screws only protruded about ¼” into the recess, but using a screwdriver to push the nut towards the machine screw through the socket did the trick.

Before attaching the lights to the base, I removed the manufacturer stickers to give the lamp a cleaner look and it left behind some sticky residue. I removed the residue with a shop towel and Acetone, although I think Goo Gone might have worked better here.

Step 8: Cable Braiding

Next, I needed to deal with the three cords dangling in the center of the lamp. I’ve seen a lot of really cool macrame designs incorporated into pieces lately and figured braiding the cords could be a cool look. I just used a standard hair braid that I think everyone knows how to do and I think it turned out pretty cool.

I passed all three cords through the hole after braiding and then used zip ties to create a little wiring harness, a tip I picked up from one of my favorite shows, Roadkill Garage, to keep the cords from unraveling. To attach them to the underside of the base, I used ½” staples.

I plugged all three of these cords into a three plug extension cord and the electrical was done. I realize there are certainly ways to wire these three cords together into one cord, but I frankly don’t feel comfortable showing more complex electrical work here, so you can do your own research if you want to go that route.

Finally, I added some rubber feet to keep the lamp from sliding around and then I could test it out, and I was pretty impressed with how bright this thing is, and how interesting it looks once it’s lit up.

Step 9: Smart Switch

To control the light, I decided to use this Iris Wifi Smart Switch from Lowe’s, which is ideal for me because you can control it with Amazon Alexa, which I already have implemented in my home. You also don’t need an Iris hub for this switch, so it’s basically plug and play.

I plugged the lamp and switch into my wall, used the Iris app to add it to my home Wifi network, named the switch Floor Lamp, added the Iris Skill to my Alexa, and I was done. Now I can control the light either with my Iris app or using my Alexa Dot. With that, this lamp project was done!