Introduction: Shelf Floor Lamp

About: Hi, I'm a hobbyist in the Chicago area, I like to do some woodworking, and automation with Arduino / Raspberry Pi.

In this instructable I will explain how I made my shelf floor lamp. This is an entry in the Organization contest. Don't hesitate to give me your vote if you liked this project.


I found the inspiration for this lamp's design in the following commercial lamp: I don't know how this lamp was made, I only used the showcase image as design starting point. The lamp sold on this website may be sturdier than the way I propose to design it in this instructable.

Difficulty Level: easy

Time (not including paint and concrete drying time): 12 hours

Material needed:

  • 16 1.5'x1.5"x1.5" oak squares Menards 57.60
  • 4 1'x1'x1/4" plywood Menards 16.00
  • 4 1/2" diameter 1.5' long aluminium rod Home Depot 21.50
  • 32 5/16" wood insert Menards 18.90
  • 16 1.5" long 5/16" threaded rods Menards 3.00
  • 4 1" long 5/16" screws Lowe's 2.59
  • 30 pounds of cement Lowe's 6.60
  • paint (I used oil-based grey paint) Home Depot 21.40
  • lamp socket Lowe's 1.50
  • Electrical cord Lowe's 10.00
  • 1.5' of Velcro Hobby Lobby 5.00
  • approx. 4' x 1.5' of fabric (I used gray fabric, quite translucent)
  • light bulb
  • some melamine panels and caulk to make the concrete mold

Total: $US 164

Tools needed:

  • Drill press
  • miter saw (if the oak is not cut at 1.5' already)
  • table saw (if the plywood is not cut at 1' already)
  • metal saw (if the aluminium rod is not cut at 1.5' already)
  • paint brush
  • sander


The plywood shelves are sandwiched between 2 oak square pieces, using 2 wood inserts and a threaded rod. The bottom shelf is made of concrete to lower the center of gravity. The piece of fabric is wrapped around 4 aluminium rods, and holds with a piece of Velcro.

Step 1: Design

I designed the lamp to be approx. 6.5' high, with a base of dimensions 1' x 1'. I wanted the uprights to be solid wood, with minimal finishing (simply oil or clear polyurethane), and the shelves painted gray.

The bottom shelf is the same color as the other shelves, but much heavier, in order to lower the center of gravity. I therefore used concrete to make the bottom shelf. This makes the lamp rather stable. Mine is on carpet, and I have to push it rather hard to make it fall.

To hide the electrical cable, I made it run down behind one of the back uprights.

Step 2: Construction - Concrete Block

The block base dimensions have to be the same as the shelf dimensions (1' x 1'). The height should be approx. 6". I created a little alcove under the base, with the idea to place a wifi switch inside, but I then decided not to. The concrete block can be a simple rectangular shape.

Build the mold using cheap panels, like melamine. Keep in mind that you will have to be able to easily take it apart, but it should still be sturdy enough to shake it with a hammer. Then run a bead of caulk around the edges, and let it dry. Lastly, mix your concrete with water as directed on the bag, and quickly pour it in the mold and shake it.

Once dried, remove the mold, and let it dry a week. You can sand any rough edges with a light grit sander, and fill the holes with epoxy. Then paint it with the color you want, drill 1/2" diameter holes in each corner, where the center of the uprights will be. Place a threaded rod in each hole, and lock them with epoxy. Make sure that they stay perfectly straight, and are centered!

Lesson learned:
Make sure that the mold base is level. The cement surface will be level, so if the base is not level, the whole lamp will be leaning like the tower of Pisa. If you made the same mistake as I did, you can correct this later with some shims under the concrete block.
Shake well the cement after you poured it in the mold, using a hammer, or with a vibrating tool. And when you think that you shook it enough, shake it some more. If, after that, you still see air bubbles when you remove the mold, you can fill them up with epoxy.

Step 3: Construction - Wood Support

Cut the oak squares at approx. 1.5'. Note that this length is approximate, but they must all be at the exact same length.

Drill a hole at the center of each end of each square for the wood insert.

Insert the wood inserts. Make sure that the drilled holes and wood inserts are perfectly vertical, and the ends of the oak squares are cut perfectly horizontal. Otherwise the lamp will be all crooked.

Sand the wood going from rough to fine grit.

Finish the wood to your taste (I simply used mineral oil).

Some wood inserts have a slit, some have a hex connection. Even if it is tempting, do not use a flat screwdriver or hex wrench to screw the inserts, otherwise they will break, especially in a hard wood like oak. Use a screw, to which you secure 2 bolts, then screw the tip in the insert, and use this assembly to screw the insert in the wood (see scheme above).

Step 4: Construction - Shelves

Cut the shelves at approx. 1' x 1' (they all have to be the exact same dimensions).

Lightly sand and paint.

Drill a hole in each corner, where the center of the square oaks will be.

The 1st and 2nd shelves from the top will have the aluminium rods installed to support the light shade. These 2 shelves will need to have a hole drilled in each corner. The holes have the diameter of the rods, and are 1/4" deep. The location of these hole is close to the inside corner of the square oaks, but still leaving about 1/4" to be able to install the fabric later.

Screw the lamp socket in the center of the 2nd shelf from the top. Make sure that the cable is directed towards one of the corners.

Step 5: Mounting

Finally, mount the lamp:

  1. base
  2. 4 square oaks
  3. 4 threaded rods
  4. shelf
  5. 4 square oaks
  6. 4 threaded rods
  7. shelf
  8. 4 square oaks
  9. 4 threaded rods
  10. shelf with lamp socket
  11. 4 square oaks
  12. 4 aluminum rods
  13. shelf
  14. 4 screws

Sew or glue the Velcro at the end of the fabric, and install the fabric. The fabric should not be too transparent, but not too opaque either. I used a rather translucent fabric, and realized that it was a little too light, so I fold it in half, and it worked just fine.

Finally, run the cable behind one of the uprights.

I hope you enjoyed this instructable. Let me know if you have any question / comment, and definitely let me know if you did this project. I would love to see your take on it.

Organization Contest

Participated in the
Organization Contest