Brick Lamp




Introduction: Brick Lamp

A sustainable desk lamp design made from 100% recycled materials.

Step 1: The Base: Materials

The base features prominently in the lamp's design (it is, after all, where its name is derived). An old abandoned brick provides a practical, simple, and cheap solution for a base with the recognizability of an object made of recycled materials.

You will need:

  • a brick
    • most standard sizes should work; basically, it should be heavy enough to support the weight of the lamp on a flat surface.
  • a hammer drill
  • two masonry drill bits: one 7/16" and one significantly smaller (aprx. 1/4") for pre-drilling
  • clamps
  • ruler
  • marking tool

Step 2: The Base: Drilling

Four holes are needed in the base: Three on the top, which are for rooting the three "stems." The middle one of these connects to a fourth hole in the rear which the lamp chord will feed through.

  1. The three holes on top should be placed equidistant from each other and centered along an axis spanning the brick's shorter side (the exact measurements will vary depending on the size of the brick you happen to find). Place this axis off the brick's center, about one inch from the edge.
    • Do not attempt to drill the holes so that they share edges and form one wide hole. Give about 3/8" inch of space between each hole, or the bit will want to slip into the hole next to it while you're drilling.
    • Clamp the brick to the work surface before drilling for stability.
    • Once the hole placement is marked, use the smaller drill bit to drill vertically about halfway through the brick's depth for all three of the holes. Using the small bit first will prevent the brick from cracking and will also provide a center when using the 7/16" bit.
    • Increase the size of all three holes using the 7/16" bit. Do not drill any deeper than the existing smaller holes.
  2. The rear hole meets the middle hole on the top, making a channel through the brick in the shape of a right angle. Place this in the center of the brick's end, in line with the middle hole so that they intersect
    • Like with the previous holes, drill with the smaller bit first until you meet the preexisting hole.
    • Increase the rear hole's size to 7/16"
    • you should end up with a right-angle tunnel which a standard electrical chord can be threaded through (in through the top and out through the back)(see third picture)

Step 3: The Shaft: Materials

The shaft of the Brick Lamp is a flexible, tubular structure which can be bent and molded into multiple positions.

you will need:

  • two equal lengths (aprx. 12" each) of flexible metal conduits, 1/2" diameter
  • two equal lengths (aprx. 2" longer than the conduits) of soft aluminum sculpting wire, 1/4" diameter
  • duct tape or electrical tape
  • wire cutters
  • block of scrap wood (aprx 1"x2" and long enough to span the brick's width)
  • drill or drill press
  • drill bits: 1/8" and 1/2"
  • wood glue
  • clamp

Step 4: The Shaft: Wire Frame

The main structure of the shaft is in the aluminum wire running through two outer stems (the middle will contain the wiring; this is yet to come).

  1. Wrap one end of each of the two pieces wire with about 1"-wide duct tape or electrical tape so that it fits snugly into the bricks holes the tape is flush with the surface of the brick.
  2. Insert the wires into the brick so that they stand vertically.

Step 5: The Shaft: Wood Stabilizer

The wood block is the piece that holds the wires securely to the base.

  1. cut the wood so that its length is that of the width (shorter side) of the brick
  2. using a drill or drill press, drill three 1/4" holes through the wood block that align exactly with the center of the three holes in the top of the brick.
  3. using the 1/2" inch drill bit, drill slightly into the surface of the wood around the outer two holes (see first picture)
  4. using the 1/2" drill bit, drill all the way through the middle hole (see first picture)
  5. place the wires through the outer two 1/4" holes holes in the wood, with the 1/2" indents in the wood facing up. Move the wood down until it meets the brick (see second picture)

Step 6: The Shaft: Assemblage

  1. Apply wood glue to the bottom surface of the wood block and use a clamp to hold it onto the brick as it dries.
  2. Slide the metal conduits over the aluminum wire. They should meet the wood block and fit snugly into the circular indents in the wood.

Step 7: The Light: Materials

Implementing the lightbulb, adapter, and chord may be the trickiest part of this lamp's design, especially if you are looking to create this without spending money. Keep in mind that minor adjustments to the lamp design must be made in order to accommodate the particular lamp elements that you happen to be using.

You will need:

  • A lightbulb adapter and chord, possibly extracted from an existing lamp or light fixture (see first picture)
  • lightbulb
  • wire cutters
  • 1/2" flexible metal conduit (equal in length to the two used in the wire shaft.)
  • moldable wire, thinner than 1/4"
  • block of scrap wood (same dimensions as first wood stabilizer)

Step 8: The Light: Wiring

  1. Cut the light's chord in order to remove it from its previous housing. Keep the end of chord in a safe place, as it will be reattached once the lighting is assembled.
  2. thread the severed chord through the metal conduit casing. There should be a significant length of excess chord the extends past the casing of the conduit.
  3. In my lamp, the adapter fit tightly over the conduit, making for a clean, glue-less seam (see third picture). If your lighting apparatus doesn't match the width of the conduit, I suggest attaching it securely, possibly with glue.
  4. Insert a moldable metal wire into the conduit (see fourth picture). This acts in the same way as the 1/4" aluminum wire in the shaft frame, providing some structure and flexibility. However, since the lamp chord takes up most of the space in the conduit, a smaller wire is required.

Step 9: The Light: Second Wood Stabilizer

A second wood stabilizer is required for the completion of the shaft, this time capping the three tubes that comprise the shaft.

  1. The dimensions of the woodblock and placement of the holes should be identical to step 5. The only difference is that the two outside 1/4" holes should not be drilled all the way through; they should be drilled deeper than the 1/2" indents but not so much that they penetrate the opposite side of the wood.
  2. Insert the conduit with the lamp chord and thin wire inside through the middle hole of the wood block so that the outer holes in the wood are facing dowm, away from the adapter.

Step 10: The Light: Assemblage

  • thread the excess chord through the right-angled channel of the middle hole of the brick until the bottom of the conduit meets the middle 1/2" hole of the bottom wood stabilizer.
  • insert the 1/4" aluminum wire into the 1/4" holes of the top wood stabilizer. secure with wood glue. The conduits of the outer two tubes should fit snugly into the 1/2" indents, as they did in the bottom stabilizer.

Step 11: The Lampshade: Materials

The lampshade is the final component of the Brick lamp, simply made from layers cardboard.

You will need:

  • cardboard
  • reciprocating saw
  • band saw
  • tacky glue
  • hammer
  • nail
  • scrap wood
  • clamp

Step 12: The Lampshade: Cutting the Cardboard

  1. Using a bandsaw or a knife, cut a large number of 9" by 9" cardboard squares (when stacked, the height of all the squares should be taller than the lightbulb you plan to use)
  2. Circle-cutting jigsaw guide (see pictures 2-4): On a piece of scrap wood, hammer one nail partially into one end. With a jigsaw, cut into the wood so until the blade is aligned 4.5" from the nail. Clamp the wood to the jigsaw table.
  3. Take a 9" square of cardboard and pierce its center on the nail of the guide. With the jigsaw running, rotate the cardboard around the nail, allowing the blade to cut a 4.5" radius around the piece. Do this will all the cardboard squares.

Step 13: The Lampshade: Final Assembly

You should now have a stack of 9"-diameter cardboard circles.

  1. Set two individual circles aside; we will return to these

  2. Using tacky glue, glue the remaining circles on top of each other in groups of about 5. Let these dry under slight pressure (such as a stack of books)
  3. For each mini-stack, use the jigsaw to cut out an inner circle, so that you are left with a cylindrical cardboard ring
  4. glue each ring-stack on top of each other to create main part of the lampshade. Let this dry.
  5. The bottom of the lampshade (see picture 5) (this part may change, depending on what your lightbulb adapter looks like): With the first cardboard ring set aside, drill a hole in the center 1.25" in diameter to fit over the light socket. I chose to also drill holes surrounding the center one to allow light to shine through the bottom. Glue this piece to the bottom of the stack.
  6. The top of the lampshade: This should be removable to access the lightbulb. I used velcro to attach it.
  7. Fit the lampshade over the socket and screw into place. Screw in lightbulb. attach the top.
  8. Reattach the plug and insulate with electrical tape.
  9. Plug in. Viola. Brick Lamp.

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    3 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Great idea and very practical. Thanks for sharing.


    3 years ago

    Great idea! I love seeing projects that use an odd combination of what looks like salvaged parts to make something that not only functions, but also looks cool. I would love to see a few pictures of this creation in action, especially in the dark.


    3 years ago

    This is an interesting design :) I'd like to see it in the dark as well to see how much light it emits.