Mahogany LED Bedside Reading Light





Introduction: Mahogany LED Bedside Reading Light

About: I am a paper engineer, writer, maker and chemist wannabe. In addition to pop-up cards I design and build furniture, lights, costumes or whatever I happen to need at the time. Lipstick, a mixing studio, all-p...

Bedside reading lights need to be bright enough for reading, but not too bright to disturb a sleeping spouse. For that, a close, directional light works best, but then you can't have a lamp which will heat up and risk burning you... LEDs are the solution. I found these 3 watts LED bulbs which give out the same light as a 20w (and burning hot) halogen. I designed a fixture which I could mount onto my headboard, push up and down and swivel so it can be pushed out of the way against the wall, using mostly ready-made parts because I do not have a shop and my construction skills are quite limited.
Unfortunately, I did not take pictures as I was making it, so this instructable can't go into great detail... however, combined with my instructable for a tin can lamp, it should be fairly easy to reproduce a similar fixture.

Step 1: What You'll Need

As you can see in the photos, I made two of these, but the following materials are for a single fixture.

one 18' brass rod with thread on both ends
One 3" brass rod with thread on both ends
Two brass swivels
One metal cup (to use as a frame for the wood)
One Edison base socket with a 1/8" IPS coming out the back
Electrical tape
One very small toggle switch
Wood tape, preferably 2" wide
Polyurethane, dutch wax, stain, or whatever you want to use to finish the wood
One 3w JDR LED bulb

Whatever I didn't have or couldn't find at the local hardware store I ordered from
Google "LED bulbs" and you'll find plenty of suppliers for the bulb.

Step 2: Making the Wood Cup

I used a metal cup from a broken ceiling fan light as a base, but I could just as easily have used a regular tin can (see my other instructable).

Since I don't have the tools (or patience) to turn wood, I found some mahogany tape (to match my headboard) and ironed it onto the metal cup. I was a little tricky, but not much more than trying to iron a shirt collar. I didn't even burn my fingers!

I ironed on two layers of wood, and if there was any space at the seams or at the edge between the layers I filled it with a little wood putty. For the top I ironed two pieces face to face, leaving me with a nice thin, but strong and flat piece of wood I could then cut to size with a good pair of cissors and glue on to the top.

Then I stained the wood to match my headboard and finished it with polyurethane.

Step 3: Preparing the Headboard

A note on my headboard: it actually is not a real headboard. My bed didn't come with one, and as I was trying to figure out how to solve the dirty wall problem my eyes fell upon some spare shelves which were gathering dust in a corner. I figured out that if I hung them up like pictures on the wall behind the bed I wouldn't have to worry about my questionable construction skills.... plus I kind of like the look!

So, to prepare the headboard, I took one of the shelves off the wall, drilled two holes in it from the top (a big one to house the short brass rod, and a little one for the toggle switch).

I then turned it over and carved out some space for the toggle switch using my dremel and some hand tools.

Step 4: Wire and Assemble

I won't give a detailed description of the wiring here, because how you go about it depends on the parts you'll be using. You can also check out this part of my other instructable or I'm sure you'll find much better instructables on this site.

One thing worth noting is that I cut off part of the thread on the rods because when I screwed them into the swivels some thread was still visible. Trimming the rods gave the fixture a much cleaner look.

Step 5: Now Go Read Under 3W of Light!

To see other projects I've designed you can check out my website here.



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    12 Discussions

    Look at the last picture of step 3, then the picture on step 4. They show the hardware I used, which consists of 2 matching aluminum pieces. One is attached to the wall, the other to your headboard. All you need to do is place one over the other, and it allows you to adjust the position left or right while the headboard remains perfectly level (as long as you've installed your hardware level...).

    Where did you get the friction swivel? I can't find anything like this

    3 replies

    Here. But if I were to redo the lamp I think I'd use one with a knob, because it's annoying, every few months, to have to pull out the screwdriver to tighten this up again.

    That's great, thanks! Do you know by chance if anyone makes these parts from stainless steel? I've been searching around but can't seem to find anything

    You might be able to find some chrome ones -- Grand Brass is the best place I've found for parts, but sometimes you can luck out at random electrical supply stores. Good luck!

    Wow, that looks great, it looks like real wood, not tape. The headboards look really nice too.

    3 replies

    Thanks.... FYI, wood tape is made with a thin strip of real wood veneer with glue on the back so it can easily be ironed on to your project. This one is mahogany but you can get birch, cherry, you name it... all of them real wood.

    I didn't realize, that's pretty cool. You can get it from a hardware store?

    Yes, but to get a good selection you'll need a good hardware store, the kind which also sells lumber. I got mine in a chinatown hardware store which catered to the trade.