Introduction: Tree Branch Lamp

This project was inspired by a lamp made from children's toys.

  • Bedroom Lamp From Old Toys by woodenProjects

I was missing all the time I did not get to spend at the lake last summer so I decided to make this out of things I found in and around the lake.

Step 1: Materials:

Fallen tree limbs and small sticks are easy to find in the spring. Winter storms bring down a lot and when the snow melts, they are everywhere.

Rocks are not hard to find in northern Michigan. I have used a lot of the larger ones in the landscaping. This project calls for the smaller ones.

I thought about hot glue but decided against it. I was not sure if it would hold up to the heat of the summer and the heat of the lamp at the same time. I chose liquid nails because I have used it successfully before.

I found a lamp kit at the local hardware store.

The base could be a piece of scrap lumber but I used a piece of trex (composite lumber) because we had some scraps left over from the dock and the deck. The rocks are heavy enough to make up for the small base.

Step 2: Before You Start

I am a bit creeped out by bugs in my house so I started by cutting the small branches into pieces that would fit into my oven. I filled a 13 by 9 pan with pieces and baked them for a while. Then I baked them a bit longer, just to be sure I killed everything.

Step 3: Lampshade

I figured I would need to do the shade in stages so that the glue would dry without the structure collapsing so I started on the shade first.

I rubbed off the loose bits of bark. I left the bark that did not come off easily. This gave me a lot of color variation. Then I broke the sticks into pieces that were between 3 and 5 inches long. I made a circle of small overlapping sticks and applied glue to the intersections. This glue dries clear so I did not worry too much about it showing.

I let it dry every now and again as I built it up to the size I wanted.

This took a couple of days and I worked on the base in the mean time.

Step 4: Adding the Harp

The harp attaches the lamp shade to the lamp. The one I had has 2 wire loops to clip onto the light bulb. In order to attach the harp to the shade, I glued a couple of branches across the top of the shade. I drilled a hole in the center branch. The harp had a machine screw that I cut off and replaced with a wood screw. I had to bend the wires a little to get the shade to hang straight.

Step 5: Base of Lamp

I decided not to try to drill out the center of a branch although I know it is possible to do this. I choose several thin branches that were long and straight. I tied them into a bundle. With the lamp wire in the middle of this bundle, I glued them together. I just forced adhesive in anywhere that the branches touched each other. I added a few more branches after I removed the twist ties.

I wanted the lamp weighted well so I gathered my rocks. I used the larger ones first to hold up the stalk part of the lamp. Once that had dried, I used the smaller ones to cover the cord that goes to the wall outlet. I used as much color and size variation as I could and formed my rock pile.

The black and white rock is to remind me of a trip with my sons to Orchard Beach State Park. My son pulled this rock out of Lake Michigan.

Step 6: Finishing Touches

When I get a dry warm day, I will spray it with a clear coat--i have a half a can of spar varnish. It will give the rocks a shiny wet look and I think the wood will last longer.

Thoughts for the next one:
I did not like how this glue worked. I am open to suggestions--I want something that is not drippy (messy), dries fast and more clear than this stuff, thick (to fill in small gaps in the irregular shapes), and doesn't smell as bad as this stuff.

There will be a next lamp. This was a really fun project despite the fact that my son thought I was nuts when he caught me 'baking stick's'. By the time I was building the base, he had figured out what I was doing. He said it was pretty nice-- I took this as high praise.
Lights Contest 2017

Participated in the
Lights Contest 2017

Woodworking Contest 2017

Participated in the
Woodworking Contest 2017