In this Instructable I’ll show you how to build a shaped wood and acrylic LED lamp with concrete base.
I’ll show you some tips on how to work with concrete, how to make different shapes out of wood, and how to bend acrylic the easiest way.
Be sure to watch the video to see the entire process of creating such lamp, and don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel!
Below you can find the tools and materials that I used for this project.
- Beech wood
- 12V DC power connector http://amzn.to/2Fxd5er
- Power switch http://amzn.to/2or9qaG
- Spray paint http://amzn.to/2FBpSNe
- Shellac http://amzn.to/2HJZv8t
- LED strip http://amzn.to/2F4FdrE
- Masking tape http://amzn.to/2BQN8GZ
- Silicone pads http://amzn.to/2F8GX39
- Wood glue http://amzn.to/2HPauNF
- Epoxy http://amzn.to/2oxcm63
- Jigsaw http://amzn.to/2GLrp2F
- Circular saw http://amzn.to/2Fyb1mG
- Cordless drill http://amzn.to/2otGQFT
- Random orbit sander http://amzn.to/2CKXm8F
- Sanding block http://amzn.to/2FvYdgt
- Soldering iron http://amzn.to/2osi20O
- Metal ruler http://amzn.to/2Fx3Hrp
- Rasp http://amzn.to/2GKFXzk
- Protective gloves http://amzn.to/2FxIspb
- Masonry drill bit set http://amzn.to/2HNIb2v
Step 1: Making the Concrete Base.
I found an old plastic ice-cream container, and used it as a mold. To protect the concrete from sticking, I spread a cooking oil over the surface of the mold with a napkin.
For the concrete mixture I used one part coarse sand, one part cement and water. I’m mixing with a stick, and gradually adding sand, cement and water until I get an appropriate amount of nice and thick consistency.
If you want to achieve an interesting texture of the concrete form I highly recommend using coarse sand.
I poured the concrete into the mold until I get 3 cm thickness. Then was vibrating the mold by hand to remove the air pockets. I let the concrete cure, and after 2 days I removed the mold from the concrete form.
The last thing I need to do is to sand the surface of the base with a 220 grit sandpaper, which emphasized the wonderful texture of the base.
Step 2: Shaping the Body of the Lamp.
The body of the lamp is made out of hard wood (I used beech wood).
I drew a curve onto the wooden board. Then, with a help of a ruler I drew another curve, next to the first one. In fact, I placed the ruler perpendicular to the first curve, and marked some points at 3 cm distance along the curve. I drew the other curve by connection all the points.
The shape is finished, so I can cut it with a jigsaw. While cutting, I made sure I was as close to the line as possible.
To create the body of the lamp, I need to cut 4 identical pieces. So, I placed the first piece onto the board and traced its outline. This way, I was able to make all the cuts.
I need to remove 1 cm of the width of the 2 middle pieces, in order to create space for the LEDs and the acrylic. First, I tried to do that with a copping saw, and I couldn’t, as it was too slow, so I finished the cuts with an inverted jigsaw.
The inverted jigsaw is actually a part of my other project, where I build my homemade multipurpose workbench. You can check the entire process of building the workbench on my website.
Cutting without a guide is not 100% accurate, so I clamped those two pieces together and made some adjustments with a rasp.
Step 3: Assembling the Body of the Lamp.
To join all the pieces together I only used a large amount of wood glue. I clamped the body with a few clamps and left it to dry out.
Once it was completely dry, I evened out the surface with a rasp, as there were some imperfections all over it.
Onto the crosscut sled I flattened the top and the bottom of the body.
Then, I sanded the body with a combination of an orbital sander and a sanding block, because I don’t have a drum sander.
Step 4: Making a Light Cover Out of Acrylic (bending Acrylic).
To make a light cover for the lamp I’m going to use an acrylic. It needs to be 4 cm wide, and 42 cm long. I placed the acrylic onto the crosscut sled, and made the cuts.
Now, it is time to bend the acrylic.
Here’s how I actually did it:
The technique of bending acrylic is very simple, and it doesn’t require special tools. You need the body of the lamp, a wooden piece which is cut from the middle, a portable gas stove, a lighter, heat resistant gloves, a can and the acrylic piece.
I peeled off the protective film from the acrylic, turned the gas stove on, and reduced the heat as much as I could.
Then, I placed the acrylic above the gas stove, at 15 cm distance, and moved back and forth for about 3 minutes, until it started bending itself. At least 15 cm distance between the acrylic and the flame is very important in order to avoid air bubbles into the acrylic.
Then, I placed the acrylic above the body of the lamp and bent it with the can. I repeated the same process until I got the desired shape.
Step 5: Drilling Holes Into the Concrete and the Wood.
I’ll have 2 bolts going through the concrete and into the wood.
So, I placed the body onto the base, traced its outline, and marked the points for the bolts.
The holes into the concrete I drilled with a masonry drill bit which I inserted into my regular drill.
By inserting screws into the holes I marked the points for the holes into the wood. Then, inserted bolts to determine their direction into the wood. And finally, I drilled the holes.
On the back of the lamp I’ll install a power switch and a 12V DC power connector. For that purpose I drilled 2 holes with the appropriate size.
Step 6: Applying Finish Onto Each Part of the Lamp.
To seal the concrete, and make it dust-free I spray painted it with a transparent spray paint for concrete.
I frosted the acrylic by applying 3 coats of transparent spray paint with satin finish. This will help conceal the LEDs and the wires.
Onto the wood I applied shellac in order to emphasize the natural wood grain.
Step 7: Installing the Light.
Out of a waterproof LED strip I cut 2 strips 42 cm long at the predetermined cut points, and removed the coating from the copper pads.
Also, I cut a few pieces of positive and negative wire, red and black in my case, and stripped off the coating on their ends.
Onto the power connector I soldered the positive and the negative wire.
Onto the switch I soldered only the positive wire, because I need to connect the switch to the power connector with a positive wire, so that they could function as one, and on one end there’ll be one negative, and on the other end one positive wire.
I inserted them on the back of the lamp, and soldered the red wire from the connector to the switch.
After peeling off the tape cover on the back of the LEDs, I stuck them in the middle of the lamp.
Then I soldered the red wire to the positive pad of the LEDs, and the black wire to the negative pad.
Step 8: Testing the Light and Final Touches.
Next, I can do some test to see if they work properly. When I placed the acrylic above the LEDs, I noticed that the LEDs and the wires are still visible. To make them less visible, I covered the wires and the LEDs with white masking tape.
On the top, bottom and the middle of the lamp I applied 5 min epoxy and inserted the acrylic above the LEDs.
Finally, I secured the concrete base onto the wooden body with 2 bolts. To avoid scratching onto the surfaces, I attached silicone pads onto the base.
Step 9: Final Result.
Now, I can plug the power cord in and turn the light on from the power switch. The end result is beyond my expectations. I really like the combination between these materials.
I’ve learnt so much through the process of creating such lamp, and I hope I helped you learn some new things as well. If you like this project be sure to like, share and subscribe to my YouTube channel.
Be sure to check out my YouTube video for full experience.