Easy DIY Bent Plywood Light Fixtues( NO Steaming, Laminating or Kerf Cuts!)




About: I'm a mom of 4 and I love to craft! Anything and Everything interests me and i love to create in the process of learning.

Why are light fixtures so expensive ....for the life of me I can't understand the exorbitant prices of some light shades.
I have never had a reason to buy a shade( cause I lived in places which already had some...and since I didn't own the house..I had no reason to change them)....so I was totally unaware of the prices...imagine my shock when I went researching the choices of light fixtures cause I was finally about to have my very own house.
I thought to do a DIY as I love crafting.
While surfing the net I fell in love with the iris floor lamp...so in the quest of finding the source...I found 'macmaster' . Their light fixtures are so esthetically beautiful.... and I was delighted to see that my Lotus Lamp was so smiler to their Flux Lamp.
Most of their lamps are so DIY friendly...so I thought...'Let's try some!'

This in an instuctable on bent wood...but we do not use the usual methods of laminates, steaming or kerf cuts :-)

In my Lotus lamp...I used a boiling and steaming method....but you know what ( don't shoot me!!) when I read a comment made in that instructable about different ply wood being made for wood bending...I thought 'Okay...let's see...and It worked...I basically used the same single plywood...to bend without boiling or steaming...but simply gently massaging the wood ( that's the best name I can come up with... :-P ) and it was very smooth...no splits as I didn't need much of a bend!
So basically...most single plywood is bend friendly......check from your lumber stores or...buy a small piece..and check!

Read on...to check out how I go about my lamps.

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Step 1: Materials


single plywood ----as far as I know...all single plywood sheet is bendable... but NOT LAMINATES
It's the cheapest plywood ( isn't it ironic that you use the cheapest wood to make expensive looking light fixtures :-D
I've added a comment made by Jim which might be helpful for those who are in the States and Canada.

Jim said " I think it's called Luan or "Door Skin" as it is commonly used to repair hollow doors that have had holes punched in them. Just ask at your local Home Depot/Lowes/Lumber Yard and they will know what you want. It's the thinnest and cheapest stuff they have in the plywood section."

fret saw/ jigsaw
wood glue
stapler / nails

Step 2: Cacoon Template

As this is the first time I'm doing this lamp ...I went the safe way and did a template. To make the curve I folded a board in half cut a curve and then slit the fold and attached the wide side with a tape...check pictures...then I drew 8 of these curves and taped a wire to each so that it would hold the shape.
For the top and bottom circles I drew a pie with 8 sections....then I checked the width of the ends of the strip...marked it and then cut an octagon. Make two.
I hot glued it to check it out ....My template was a bit flimsy...but I was happy with how it looked...so I continued with wood ;-)

Step 3: This Is How You Bend Single Plywood

I have attached a gif animation ( which is great! I was clueless on how to go about it...but came accross this instructable...which was very helpful! ) on how to go about bending the wood very gently...like a massage.. :-) take a look.

Step 4: Cacoon Lamp

Now transfer the cardboard curve template to wood. Make sure the grain of the wood is in the same direction you would bend the wood...this is very important!  Cut 8 curves. Sand it and Gently bend in the direction you want.
Easy isn't it?? :-D
Stain it....I used a dark mahogany (sort of chocolate brown...my husband loves that color...so ) oil based paint thinned down a lot with thinner it worked great as an alternative stain. It looks just like wood stain....I wonder if that's how they do it.
Cut the 2 bases in octagon shape like the template...then drill a larger hole in one so as to pass the tube. stain it.

Now for the base
I cut a circle and attached the end of a curtain rod attachment to it . Drill a hole through to pass the wire. Then  to cover the attachment  ...I wrapped it up in rope...glue it down and paint it black or leave it like that.
Paint the steel rod or use black duck tape.
My bulb socket wouldn't stay firmly in my rod...so to hold the bulb socket...I kept the lubricated the socket and  wrapped up rope around it...then I glued it down. Once the mold was partially set...I removed the socket.

Now that all the parts are ready it's time to assemble.
Take the octagon without the hole and place the end of one curve on the side of it...drill and screw...then place the other curve slightly behind the first curve...check picture.
Once all 8 are fixed..place a tube to the height you want your shade to be and start drilling and screwing the top.
Don' screw 1 curve.
Pass your rod through. tape up where you want your lamp to sit....so that it does not slip. Wire up and connect to the base.
Done! this can be used as a table lamp or pendant light...it's your choice!
Make it larger and it can be a stand lamp :-)

Step 5: Flux Lamp/ Petal Shade

The Flux Lamp is very smiler to the Lotus Lamp I did... As I have already done the Lotus Lamp  I didn't do another template as I already had the template.
Draw the Template on wood and cut it....then sand it. Again gently bend it...but not too much. (hmmm....yeah...no soaking, boiling and baking!! wanna shoot me?? ...hey instructables is all about learning!!)
I have made the center of  the connecting wooden circle wider so that the bulb socket will fit snugly.
Place the stained  center circle on a bottle ...keep your small petal on top....check how much of a bend it needs and gently bend it to shape...then tap a hole in the corner with a nail...then apply glue and place it on the circle and nail. First do the opposite ends..then gradually do the rest. Once you have done the first level.. check if the petals ends come a bit beyond...if so..sand it as the next level of petals will sit more securely when it is on a flat surface.
For the second surface petals...bend the larger petals in a gentle 'S'  . Again glue and nail the petals. The curves are such that this flower can be kept flat on the table...So it would make a great center piece too...Place a votive candle in the center and check it out..
or fix up a puck light!...no wires :-)

For this shade I thought to go a bit different to just try it out...so I stained the wood with oil based stain and then bent it gently to the shape I wanted....It was possible...but...you have to go very slow about bending as it was more hard...so all in all I would recommend first bending and then staining.

Step 6:

Please ask in the comment below if you need help in understanding...or if I have missed somethings which I'm not aware of...I would be happy to help!

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31 Discussions


4 years ago on Introduction

I like your writing style, and the detailed explanations. Massaging plywood lol. This goes on the list of my next projects. I don't really need one right now as I live in an apartment but I'm thinking, maybe I can concoct a table lamp using your techniques.


4 years ago on Step 6

Your post is very inspiring, and I love your step-by-step instructions. (That IS a great GIF you found!)

2 replies

Reply 4 years ago

Thanks for your awesome compliment! I love the fact I inspired you :-)


Reply 4 years ago

Thanks for your awesome compliment! I love the fact I inspired you :-)


Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

Thanks! hopefully i will have time to add one more lamp shade for the 'i can do it ' contest...only i cant seem to find it!'


6 years ago on Introduction

Nice one, Shazni. It's called luaun, pronounced lu-on. I've used it for everything! I'm even working on a tortured plywood luaun canoe!

1 reply

Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

Being trying to reply earlier...but something seemed to have been wrong as it was not posting!
Btw...tortured wood? What sort of torture do you put it through??? :-)


6 years ago on Introduction

I Love your instructables.They are so amazing and you are very Creative .voted .this deserve to Win.