Introduction: Self-hardening Clay Lamp

This is a simple way to create a lamp for desks or tables.

The shape are easy to make even for someone who never work with clay before and there is no kiln needed!

To create this lamp you will just create a kind of donut and a rectangle. They will be attached together in order to create a cylinder. The donut are not visible from the oustide: it support the socket and the bulb.

The leg is made with two wood triangles stucked together.

Step 1: Materials

To make the lamp you will need:

- self-hardening clay (you can find it in any art supplies shop)

- wooden board to work the clay

- another wooden board (it can be small extra board from another project)

- a rolling pin or an empty bottle of wine

- an old fidelity card

- electric wire

- a socket

- a bulb

- an electric plug

- a switch

- a knife

- water

- sandpaper

- paper

- cisors or a cutter

- compas

- pen

- ruler

- saw

- wood glue

Step 2: Mesures and Pattern

First at all, you will need to mesure the diameter of the socket.

Then, mesure the diameter of the bulb.

With the compass, draw on a paper sheet two circles.

Le larger one should be larger than the bulb diameter, to be sure you could be able to put the bulb on the socket and remove it easely as needed.

I choose 10 cm.

Draw the smaller circles inside of the larger one. Just in a middle.

It should be at least 4mm larger than the socket diameter, especially because clay retracts when hardening.

Then, cut the large circle, and the small one. You should have a kind if donut shape.

Mesure the height of the bulb within the socket (the top part of the socket)
Mesure the bottom part of the socket and count 2 cm more for the wire.

Now you can choose the dimension of your lamp: it has to be higher than the socket+bulb part and the bottom has to be at least as hight as the bottom of the socket + 2cm for the wire.

For exemple, I got 2cm for the bottom of the socket + 2cm for the wire. Then, I got 10 cm for the top socket part+the bulb.

I also have to count 1 cm more for the circle thickness that would be put inside the lamp to maintain the socket.

In total, I got 15 cm.

So to be sure the bulb would be not visible from the outside of the lamp, I choose 17 cm hight.

Then, mesure the circumference of the large circle. You can calculate it : circumference = 2π x r

For example: I got 10cm diameter for my large circule, so radius is 5. I got: 2π X 5 = 31,41.

I choose 32 to be sure to have enought and I will cut the extra if necessary.

Know, draw a rectangle with theses dimensions. Mine is 17cm per 32. This would be the main part of the lamp.

Step 3: Clay Balls

Know you're got your mesures, you can start the modelling.

Take a large amount of clay. Is better to take more than you will finally need. Don't worry, there will be no waste: the remaining clay can be conserved easely.
(I will explain how further)

Separate it in order to create two balls. One larger and one smaller.

Step 4: Create 2 Sheets of Clay and Make the Basic Shapes

Know we're going to transform the balls into sheets

We will start with the smaller ball because it needs to be dryer than the second one.

Place it on the wooden board.

With the rolling pin or the empty bottle of wine, proceed exactly as you would with a pie dough until your sheet is almost 0,5cm high.

Now, place the "donut" paper on it and cut the clay with the knife following the edges of the large circle.

Do the same with the smaller circle. You should get a clay "donut" now.

With the knife, make some notches on the thickness.

Let it dry for a while.

Proceed on the same way with the larger ball. But this time, you will place the rectangle paper on the sheet clay instead of the "donut" paper. Cut the edges as weel.

Mesure 4 cm for the bottom (the long line) of the rectangle and draw a soft line with the knife. Be careful: don't cut the clay!! Do it again 0,5cm higher. You should have 2 lines of 32 cm, separeted by 0,5cm.

Make some notches in between these two lines all along.

Now use something like a pen cap to make a small hole, on the smaller part under the two lines. It will be used for passing through the electric wire.

Let it dry a little bit as well.

Step 5: Make Some Ceramic Slurry and Save the Extra Clay

Know take a little bit of the extra clay and put it in a glass with water.

Mix them until you got a liquid paste: you get your ceramic slurry.

You're not going to use the remaining clay so to conserve it properly, put all the extra clay in a plastic bag. Take the air off, close it and put it in another plastic bag. Do the same, and close it making attention if there is no hole in the bag: you should have no air in contact to clay.

Step 6: Modelling the Lamp

When the "donnut" clay is still wet but hader than before (it should not warp when affixed at the rectangle), put some ceramic slurry on the thickness, juste were the notches are.

You can do it with a brush or with your finger as you prefer.

Do the same thing on the notches of the rectangle.

Then, place the edge of circle in the two lines with notches of the rectangle. So circle notches and rectangle notches stuck together.

Slowly, proceed in order to completely wrap the circle with the rectangle.

Know, get off the extra clay of the rectangle if needed, make notches on the edges and apply ceramic slurry to close the cylinder that you just made.

Take your old credit card and smooth the lamp to have a regular texture.

Know let it dry completely.

Step 7: Finishing Touches

Your lamp is know completely dry.

Rubdown the whole lamp with sand paper.

Try to pass the socket trough the circle hole. If the clay retracted to much, just scratch slowly the edges of the circle to enlarge the hole.

Do the same with the small circle for the electric wire.

Step 8: Electric Part

Cut two pieces of electic wire.

Insulate the ends of the cables. You got to colored wires. Insulate them as well.

Pass it through the small hole in the bottom of the lamp.

Pass the botom part of the socket through the wire, on the lamp side.

Then, fix the wire to the socket as explain with your socket notice.

Fix the second end of the cable on the swip. Fix one end of the second cable on the other side of the swip. The last end of the cable has to be fixed to the electric plug.

Be careful of the colors of the wire: one color has to be in front of the same color all along the circuit you made.

Pass the socket through the lamp hole. Fix it. Place the bulb.

Step 9: Making the Lamp Leg

In a wooden board, draw two right angle triangles.

I choose 13cm large X 4 cm high

Saw them and stuck them together on there opposite sides with wood glue

Step 10: Finish

Place the lamp on the leg, plug the power cord and switch on.

You're lamp is done.