DIY Wall Lamp / Sconce With a Shelf Made With Hand Tools




About: Part MacGyver, part Martha, creator, host and producer of Engineer Your Space, an award winning DIY home design show dedicated to clever, affordable and stylish solutions for common challenges faced by rente...

I have a very small living room which means I don't have any room for end tables and I don't have a place to put table lamps or floor lamps. So to add more lighting, I came up with this design for wall sconces that incorporates a shelf that can double as small end tables. I made them using standard materials from the hardware store and only a few hand tools like a drill and a hand saw and because they are plug-in wall lamps, they were easy to install in my rental apartment.


Step 1: A Lot of Experimenting

The design come together after a lot of tinkering and experimenting!

Step 2: Tools and Materials for the Project

I've outlined all the tools and materials in these screen shots but you can also download a free project guide on my website which has all of this detailed information. To make these wall lamps, I only used hand tools and the only power tool I used is a cordless drill.

Step 3: Make the Lamp Base

I built each component for the lamp separately, starting with the lamp base. I made it with 7" embroidery hoops, square wood dowels and foam board, which I covered with 3/4" iron-on wood edging and 2" wood edging around the side. I used a pre-wired lamp kit I had on hand but you could make your own as well.

While the construction is fairly simple, there are a lot of steps that were best explained in video format which I've included here. I've also included a template to show the exact location of all the pieces (you can download a free template to scale from my website here). I designed the lamp base so that you can have the lamp shade face up or down, giving the ability to make many different lamps with the same basic design.

Step 4: Make the Shade

I made the lamp shades using flexible chopping mats and 4" embroidery hoops. I experimented with a couple different options to finish the shades, wallpaper and mica flakes. For the mica flakes, I used Mod Podge to glue them onto the shade - very easy! Again, this is shown in more detail in the video. Because of the narrow shade, I recommend only using LED light bulbs with lamp project.

Step 5: Make the Shelf - Optional

This is completely optional but I decided to incorporate a small shelf in my design to act as end tables in my living room. I made it the same way I made the lamp base with foam board, but using 1"x2" furring strip instead of square dowels. I covered one side with wood edging and for the top, I used mica flakes like I used in the lamp shade, but this time putting on a thicker coat which I covered with a high gloss resin.

Step 6: Connect the Lamp Base and Shelf to the Middle Piece

To connect the lamp base and the shelf together, I used 1/2" x 6" pine boards and molding. I also added some squares dowels to the sides to complete the lamp. The middle board and top and bottom boards can be any length you want, depending on the look you're going for. I finished the wood with a semi-transparent stain I had on hand (Behr semi-transparent stain in a color called Pinto White).

Step 7: Install and Enjoy the Beautiful Lamp!

The lamps turned out to be the perfect lighting for my tiny living room. This was a really fun project and if you want to see in more detail how I made the lamps, check out the video which shows all the steps in detail and you can also download a FREE project guide with a complete list of materials, supplies, tools and a template you can download to make things easier if you want to make your own custom lamp.



    • Colors of the Rainbow Contest

      Colors of the Rainbow Contest
    • Party Challenge

      Party Challenge
    • Fandom Contest

      Fandom Contest

    12 Discussions


    2 years ago

    That's impressive that you did all that with just hand tools.

    1 reply

    Reply 2 years ago

    Thank you! It took a lot of trial and error to figure it out but it was worth it!


    Reply 2 years ago

    Thank you so much! I took a look at your work - very cute!