Amped Floor Lamp




Introduction: Amped Floor Lamp

Home Depot sells a very nice Lithonia Lighting Vela flush ceiling mount lamp that thousands have installed.

We are going to re-purpose this light into a far more valuable one-of-a-kind beautiful floor lamp.

The lighting fixture is going to be taken apart and all of the pieces will be utilized in this build. The fixture contains one 12" diameter and one 8" diameter Circline fluorescent bulb. These bulbs are very old school, but new versions are efficient, economical and give off a wonderful light.

This project requires some skill level and don't forget power tool safety and safety glasses!

I'm not a wood worker, so if I can do this, so can you!

There are two parts to this build, the lamp and the stand.

Time saver: Many of the parts were designed on AutoSketch and printed to PDF and the printed PDF page is dimensionally accurate. No measuring! A few measurements for wood cutting, every thing else is on a cutting template.

Material List:

I have plans of entering this in the Home Depot sponsored Lamps and Lighting Contest

With that in mind, I decided to see if I could build this using easily available parts from Home Depot.

1 - Lithonia 10511 KR M4 Vela 2-Light Flush Mount lighting fixture Store SKU # 517104

(Note: The Home Depot description calls this a one light fixture. It's not, there are two lights.)

3 - 1 1/4 x 48" hardwood dowel SKU # 156193

2 - 1" x 3" x 48" Oak Board (3/4" x 2 1/2" nominal dimension) SKU # 617318

2 - Red oak 1/4" x 6" x 48" SKU # 224950

8 - 1/4" x 1/4 x 36" 3 ft. x 1/4 in. Basswood Square Dowel SKU # 477645

1 - Acrylic Cracked Ice Ceiling Light Panel SKU # 340453

(This was the only translucent panel I could find in the store. It's very fragile and you may want to substitute.)

2 - #212 Screw eyes pack of 8 SKU#

1 set of 2 Finials Martha Stewart Living Ball 1-3/8 in. Antique Mahogany Finish Wood Finial SKU # 664913

1 - Everbilt Brown Heavy-Duty Self-Adhesive 1 in. Felt Pads (16-Pack) SKU # 124504

1 -1/2" x 96" aluminum angle SKU# 797162

4 - Screws and nuts Everbilt #8-32 x 1/2 in. Phillips-Slotted Round-Head Machine Screws (8-Pack) SKU # 528524

1 -On/off cord switch Leviton 6-Amp Mini Thumb Wheel Cord Switch - Brown SKU # 162677

1 - 12' Extension cord SKU # 145009

White Glue


Clear urethane

150 Sand paper

Picture wire

Fishing line

Tools Needed:

Band saw with 1/8" 24T blade

Table saw

Miter saw



Phillips screwdriver

Dremel with heavy duty cut-off wheel and 1/2 in. 60-Grit Sanding Bands


Metal straight edge


Center punch

Utility knife


Blue tape or masking tape.


Drill Bits: 1/16, 1/8, 11/64, 1/4

1 1/4 forstner bit SKU # 577684

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Step 1: The Lamp: Metal Lamp Base

The center section of the metal lamp base is not going to be used, so now is a good time to remove the center. Use the Dremel tool with the heavy duty cut-off wheel and cut at the 10" diameter. A jig saw will also work with a fine tooth blade. On the opposite side from the chrome steel clips that hold the bulbs there is a ridge or bump. The 10" mark is at the inside base of the ridge. Use sand paper or a round file to smooth the edge.

Print the PDF page for the metal lamp base drill template. Print at actual size (100%). There is a 3" verification bar, make sure the template size is correct. All of the PDF templates have blank pages that I couldn't avoid. Skip the blank pages.

The metal lamp base is larger than 8 1/2" x 11" paper, so there are 4 templates to cut out and tape together (A-to-A, etc) The three half circles get cut out to clear the lamp shade clamps. Orientation isn't important, fit the template over the lamp shade clamps. Tape the template to the metal lamp base and mark the location identified by the dashed lines on the bump that goes all the way around. The bump gets cut in that area to clear the ballast bracket.

Center punch the hole locations.

Tip: Place a piece of wood underneath to support the metal.

Drill all of the 11/64 holes. Use a larger drill by hand to clean up the drilled holes.

Use the Dremel tool to cut the notches as shown.

Cut the plastic levers that hold the lamp shade half way through the handle. This will allow them to clear the lamp holder brackets.

Step 2: The Lamp: Brackets - Lamp Holder, Ballast, and Cord

Material: 1/2" x 1/2" aluminum angle.

Print the pdf page for the bracket template. Print at actual size (100%). There is a 3" verification bar, make sure the template size is correct. The ballast bracket is larger than 8 1/2" x 11" paper, so there are 2 templates to cut out and tape together (A-to-A, B-to-B, etc)

Lamp holder bracket. Make 12. Tape the lamp holder bracket templates to both sides of the angle. Center punch all of the holes and drill all of the 11/64" holes as shown. Use a 1/4" drill and lightly touch the holes to remove the excess aluminum from drilling. Cut the 12 brackets on the marks between the holes. Sand the pieces.

Cord holder bracket. Make 1. Use the template as above and drill 2 - 11/64" and 1 - 1/4" holes as shown. Cut the aluminum angle 1 1/2" long. Clean up the holes and sand as above.

Ballast bracket. Make 1. Use the template as above and drill 6 - 11/64" holes as shown. Cut the template pieces and tape them together A-A and B-B. Cut the aluminum angle 12 5/8" long. Clean up the holes and sand as above.

Tip: Drilling aluminum is easy, but it sticks to the drill like bubblegum. Use a drop of WD-40, sewing machine oil, or cooking oil. A drop every 4 holes will do.

Step 3: The Lamp: Lamp Holder

Material: 1/4" x 5 1/2" x 48" oak veneer, 1/4" square dowel

Make 12. The 1/4" x 5 1/2" x 48" oak veneer is used to hold the bulbs in place and the plastic lenses. Cut the two 48" pieces into 12 - 7 7/8" pieces. The last piece will be a little long, that's ok were going to cut more from these pieces.

Printthe lamp holder template pdf file and use scissors to cut out the outline of the shape. Print at actual size (100%). There is a 3" verification bar, make sure the template size is correct. Don't cut the two dashed diagonal lines or the short dashed line next to the holes, we will use those later. Tape the cut out shape to the top edge of the 1/4" oak veneer as shown.Don'tcover the two holes on the paper. Trace the shape. Use your fingers to hold the paper where you are tracing. Use an ice pick or a nail and mark the center of the two holes. Just a light indentation so that we know where to drill a hole later. Lift the paper and mark where the small dashed line is next to the holes. Remove the paper. Don't worry about the gap where the tape was. Use a straight edge to fill in the blank.

Cut out the shape with a fine tooth 1/8" blade on the band saw or jig saw. Sand the pieces. The Dremel drum sander works well on the curves.

Next we will drill the two holes. Since we have a lot of holes it is easier to use a drill jig. Use the ballast bracket as a drill jig to to drill the holes. Clamp the jig as shown with the top edge aligned with the top of the notch. The right side aligns with the dashed line. Drill two 11/64 holes.

Cut the lamp holder template on the two dashed lines. Place the pieces as shown in picture 4 and tape them in place. Mark the wood. A couple of marks will do, they are just to align the wood for gluing in the next section.

Cut the 1/4" square strips 5 1/8" long with a 15 degree bevel on each end. Cut 48.

Tip: On the band saw I put a piece of blue tape and drew a line at 15 degrees. I taped a piece of scrap shaped like an "L" as a stop. See picture #5

Hold the strips on the lamp holder to make sure the bevel is going in the right direction. Apply a very small amount of glue to the strips. Glue two strips on each side. Align the outside edge with the line on the lamp holder. Align the top edge even with the top. The bottom will be well short of the bottom of the lamp holder. Glue the strips to all of the lamp holders on one side. When the glue dries, flip them over and glue the strips to the other side.

When the glue dries, sand anything that needs it at this point. Stain or paint all of the pieces and apply two coats of clear. You may want to wait until the lamp stand is finished and stain everything at once.

Step 4: The Lamp: Small Plastic Lens

Material: 2'x4' Cracked Ice Plastic Panel

Make 12. If you haven't figured it out already, the plastic is fragile. Print the pdf small plastic lens template. Apply the template to the smooth (reverse) side of the plastic.

Print at actual size (100%). There is a 3" verification bar, make sure the template size is correct.

Cut CAREFULLY with a fine tooth bandsaw blade. Cut slowly and when you come to the end of the cut, cut very slowly. On one piece cut a 1" x 1" cutout as shown.

Step 5: The Lamp: Main Plastic Shade

Material: The Lithonia Lighting plastic shade, fishing line, picture wire

Print the pdf for the plastic lamp shade template. Print at actual size (100%). There is a 3" verification bar, make sure the template size is correct.

Cut out the plastic lamp shade template pieces. The 4 pieces will be taped together to form one template. Tape the two pieces with an "A" together. Slide these two pieces under the dual chrome bars (it will slide underneath). Center the seam on the dual chrome bars. Tape the other pieces (B-B, C-C, D-D. The double lines should be centered on the dual chrome bars. Tape the complete template to the plastic lamp shade to hold it in place.

Drill a 1/16 hole at each location on the top of the ridge. Remove the template.

Cut 16 pieces of fishing line 18" long. The line I used was very small, I have no idea what size.

To keep the line from pulling through, I cut a piece of picture wire long enough to go all the way around the circumference of the hole drill diameter. Temporarily tape the ring of picture wire to the top of the lamp shade and tie a piece of fishing wire at each hole location. Tie a double knot around each piece.

Remove the picture wire with the 16 pieces of fishing line. Put it under the lamp shade and thread the fishing line through each hole from the inside. Hold in place with a piece of tape. We will attach the other end to the lamp stand later. I pulled through a few inches and taped the line. When I had all of the lines taped, I then pulled the rest of the line through while still taped down, pulling the ring in place.

Tip: To keep the line as long as possible, we don't want to use very much for the knot. Since big fingers make that tough, tie a knot around the picture wire and when you pull it tight leave 1/2" on the end. Use a pair of needle nose pliers or tweezers to tie the second knot. Make a loop and reach through to grab the end and pull up tight.

Step 6: Lamp Stand: Lamp Stand Middle Connector

Material: 3/4" x 2 1/2" oak.

This piece will have two 22 1/2 degree cuts to form the angle for the stand. The piece is made from oak available at Home Depot, you can avoid the glue steps if you have a piece of solid oak. Cut 4 pieces 2 1/2" long from the 3/4" x 2 1/2" oak. Glue and clamp the 4 pieces to the end of the remaining stock to make 5 pieces as shown in picture #3. The long piece gives you a handle to work with. Allow 24 hours for the glue to dry. When the glue dries make a minimal cleanup cut to even the sides. Be careful with the cleanup cuts to not cut past the part into the handle. The rest of the handle will be needed for more parts. Make a 22 1/2 degree cut on each side as shown in picture #5. The second cut will remove the long piece.

Drill two 1 1/4" holes in the center of the angled sides with the Forstner bit 1" deep as shown in picture #6 & #7. The drill must be 90 degrees horizontally and vertically.

Drill a 1/4" hole through the piece where shown for the lamp cord in picture #2. Sand the pieces.

Step 7: Lamp Stand: Lamp Stand Upper Connector

Material: 3/4" x 2 1/2" oak.

Now that you have finished the middle connector, we are going to add a degree of complexity and do a compound cut. The single 22 1/2 degree cut matches the cut in the middle connector and they are joined by the dowel.

The two compound cuts gives a 22 1/2 degree cut to make the top dowels level, and two 22 1/2 angles to separate the top dowels at 45 degrees.

Cut 5 pieces 6" long from the 3/4" x 2 1/2" oak. Glue and clamp the pieces to the remaining stock as in the last step to make 6 pieces with a long handle. Allow 24 hours for the glue to dry. When the glue dries make clean up cuts and a 22 1/2 degree cut as shown in picture #4. Be careful with the cleanup cuts to not cut past the part into the handle. The long handle can be cut off now.

Mark the centerline of the part. The next two cuts meet in the middle. If you have a compound miter saw, Make a compound 22 1/2 and 22 1/2 degree cut as shown in Picture #4. If you don't have a compound saw, cut a piece of 2 x 4 22 1/2 degrees and screw it to the bottom as shown in picture #5. In either case, screw a long piece of 2 x 4 to the bottom to make a handle. Make the 22 1/2 degree cut as shown in picture #6. Turn the part and make the second 22 1/2 cut on that side.

Drill three 1 1/4" holes with the Forstner bit 1" deep as shown. Sand the pieces.

Step 8: Lamp Stand: Lamp Stand Dowels

Material: 1 1/4" dowels

Cut two pieces 19" long. Cut one piece 11" and one 46" long. Sand the pieces.

Place a piece of blue or masking tape on one side of both 19" pieces. Place a mark 1" from the end and at 3", 5", 7", 9", 11", 13" and 15". Drill a 1/16" hole 1/2" deep at each location. Remove the tape.

Step 9: Lamp Stand: Main Base

Material: 3/4" x 2 1/2" oak

Print the pdf for the main base template. Print at actual size (100%). There is a 3" verification bar, make sure the template size is correct.

Cut two pieces 21" long from the 3/4" x 2 1/2" oak. Cut a 22 1/2 degree angle on each piece using the template. Cut one piece 5" long. Glue the pieces together as shown. When the glue dries drill a 1 1/4" hole 1" deep in the base as shown with the Forstner bit. Sand the pieces.

Confession: When does a mistake become a feature? The plan was for the dowel to come up vertically and turn two 45 degree turns so that the dowels that hold the light are perpendicular to the floor. Despite using excess care (measure twice, cut once.) I missed on the angles and the drilling. The post coming out of the base is at an 11 degree angle to compensate. This is your chance to do the same. Dry fit the pieces and put a level on the top dowels and compensate accordingly before drilling the hole.

Tip: On my android phone I have an app called Xclinometer that is a really excellent level. It reads in degrees, percent and roof angle (5/12).

Step 10: Lamp Stand: Lamp Stand Assembly

Material: Finial, Felt pads

The clearances in the holes and gravity are going to make the top dowels that hold the lamp assembly sag not parallel to the base. I made up a jig to hold the dowels about an inch above level while the glue dries. See the picture above.

Dry fit the pieces to check that everything fits. Place the 46" dowel in the main base. Make sure all of the dowels can be inserted all the way to the bottom of the holes. Place the middle connector on the other end of the dowel. Place the 11" dowel on the other side of the middle connector. The upper connector fits on the other end of the 11" dowel. The two 19" pieces fit in the upper connector as shown. Rotate the dowels so that the screw eyes are on the outside. Rotate the middle connector so that the sides of the connector are parallel and the dowels are in line with the centerline of the base. Rotate the upper connector so that the two dowels are parallel with the floor. Place a pencil mark on each end of the dowels and the connector so that when you reassemble the piece alignment will be easier. Check all alignments with a level.

Remove the pieces and lay them out so that the pieces do not get mixed up. Place white glue in the lamp base and insert the dowel. Align the marks and wipe off excess glue. Glue the rest of the pieces. Check all alignments with a level.

After the glue dries look over the lamp stand and sand any place that is necessary. Stain or paint the lamp stand. When the stain dries apply two coats of clear.

Install the two finials to the end of the top dowels. Mark the center of the end of the dowel and drill a 1/8" hole 1" deep. Screw in the finial.

Attach 4 felt pads to the bottom of the lamp stand.

Step 11: The Lamp: Lamp Assembly

Material: Lithonia lamp ballast, 8-32 screws and nuts, extension cord

Use two 8-32 screws and nuts and attach the ballast to the ballast bracket. Use 4 screws and nuts and attach the bracket to the metal lamp base. The screws come up from the bottom.

Use two 8-32 screws and nuts and attach the cord bracket. See picture #1 above.

Use two 8-32 screws and nuts and bolt the angle bracket to the lamp holder. The bracket bolts to the right side of the lamp holder. See picture #2 The screws go through the metal bracket with the nuts on the wood side.

The lamp cord has to be attached now. This requires that the wire be fed through the lamp stand. Find a location where you can work on the lamp and have the lamp stand nearby and not trip over the cord.

Cut the extension cord socket off of the extension cord. Separate the two wires 6" back. Look at the plug. One of the plug blades is wider than the other. Carefully trace the wire on that side to the other end and cut that wire about 1/4" shorter than the other to mark it.

Feed the cord through the lamp stand middle connector hole from the back. Feed the wire through all the way. Feed the cord through the hole in the aluminum bracket on the lamp. Pull the cord through and tie a knot in the cord about 8" from the end. Strip the end of the wires 3/4". Attach the wire that is shorter to the black wire. Twist the two wires together with your fingers. Hold the pair of wires about 1" from the end of the wire and connect the wires together with the orange twist connector. Connect the other cord wire to the white wire. Pull the cord back through until the knot is against the aluminum bracket. Tape the excess wire to the ballast bracket.

Place the metal lamp base updside down. See picture #1 above. Bolt one lamp holder to the metal lamp base with the screws going through the metal lamp base and the nuts on the lamp holder side. Don't tighten any screws until the finish, we will be adjusting as we go. Just make them finger tight. Place both lamps in the assembly and tape them to the first lamp holder. (That way you won't drop it like I did :) Plug in the lamps to the ballast. Make sure the 32W connector attaches to the large lamp bulb. Orient the bulb connectors so that they are over the extension cord bracket. Place the second lamp holder 1/3 of the way around, the third lamp holder 2/3 of the way around. That will capture the lamps so that you won't have to worry about dropping the lamps. Remove the tape.

Now carefully turn the lamp assembly the right side up with the metal base on top. Install the rest of the lamp holders. Adjust the angle so that each one points across to the one on the other side and everything looks even. Make sure as you install the holders that the bulbs are not in a bind and the bulb connectors are aligned with the power cord. Leave the screws finger tight at this point

Insert a plastic lamp shade at every position The crackle side goes towards the outside. The lenses will only go in if all of the lamp holders are equidistant. If one is tight, the one next to it will be loose. Loosen the lamp holder screws and adjust until all of the lens will slide in. The plastic should be even with the top of the lamp holder. Tighten all of the screws.

The lens with the cutout installs where the electrical cord exits.

Remove the plastic where the three plastic shade retaining levers are located.

Step 12: Final Assembly

Material: Screw eye, On/off switch.

On the two top dowels insert a screw eye at each pre-drilled location. Screw in just to the end of the thread so there is some sticking out. Align all of the screw eyes vertically.

Tip: You can insert the screw eye head in the drill motor to insert the screw eyes. Some care is required to get it centered.

One of the dual chrome bars on the plastic lamp shade will be evenly centered between the drilled holes for the fishing line. That is the front of the lens. Slide the main lamp shade onto the lamp assembly with the cord on the back side and then rotate the levers to attach to the shade.

Place the lamp assembly under the lamp stand at the correct height with the cable toward the back. I used a table and stacked up some wood to get to 42", the bottom of the lamp assembly. Center it under the lamp stand. Use a level and shim if necessary.

Attach the main lens to the lamp stand base by tying the fishing line to the screw eye on the lamp stand base. Tie the closest line to the front of the lens on the right side to the front screw eye on the right dowel. Tie to the bottom side of the screw eye with a double knot. Put a small amount of tension on the line.

Tie the closest line to the front of the lens on the left side to the front screw eye on the left dowel.

Both lines should be as even as possible.

Tie the 8th line on the right side to the last screw eye on the right. Tie the 8th line on the left to the last screw eye on the left. The goal is to tie both lines so that they are the same length, center the lens between the two dowels and be level.

Now we can attach the other lines. The lines go in order front-to-back. The goal is to tie the line so that it has some tension without making the other lines slack. When all of the lines are attached some of the lines will be need to be tightened. Tighten the screw eyes a small amount and push the line to the back and let it wind around the stem to increase the tension. Try to end up with all of the screw eyes aligned vertically or horizontally so that it looks nice.

Remove the supports and recheck tension. Cut off the excess fishing line.

Flex the three remaining plastic lenses in place. This should be done carefully to avoid breaking the plastic.

Pull the electrical cord back through the lamp stand middle connector. Leave some slack. About one foot below the middle connector install the on/off switch by following the directions with the switch.

Plug in the light, turn on the switch, and enjoy!

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    4 years ago

    Very nice design. I hope to see more of your work.