Make a Custom Wall Lamp Out of Scraps




About: I am an ER doc in central California that enjoys the outdoors, has a small gadget problem and has a huge interest in sustainability and environmental policy. We are on a rapid road to the destruction of our ...

The Goal: Use as few new items as possible to make a new light fixture.

Scrounged bathroom light fixture
Scrap metal sheeting
I used the top of the 55 gallon drum I had cut off to make the
biodiesel oil prefiltration tank, or any other relatively flat
piece of scrap metal.
Scrap wood for the tree trunk - the extra from the nursery's floor was perfect.
Oxyacetylene torch or plasma cutter, a jigsaw or tin snips should work for for thinner metals.
Jigsaw to cut the trunk shape.
Random screws and fixture hardware

Time spent was a few hours and total cost was less than $15 for an adapter plate for the fixture and screws! (OK, so I did end up getting some second hand welding equipment for the project, but it was a great excuse to get some tools!)

The Project:
The switched light in the nursery was a simple globe wall fixture. It didn't distribute the light well and didn't fit the other decor, so I set off to figure out another lighting option. The spare cork from the floor gave me the tree idea, and I was initially planning on a more elaborate wall-mounted light with movable fruit lamps and some sort of bushy tree from which they hung. On further inspection, the electrical box for the fixture was somewhat loose and wouldn't easily hold the weight of the 4-bulb gooseneck floor lamp I was going to hack up for the project, so I thought of this lighter weight alternative that ended up looking way better than my initial concept.

The great part is, the concept could be applied in many ways such as a rocket ship, a planet, a guitar, star? Whatever you can trace out!

Step 1: Choose Your Lamp Shape

This can be any shape that you'd like to cut, and the tree concept matched our forest themed eco-friendly nursery. Just make sure that you can drill holes in the right spots for the fixture bolts and that your design covers all of the bulbs in your fixture with as much overlap as you want.

Step 2: Trunk of the Tree.

I used scraps of cork left over from the floor - it made a perfect tree trunk with a few zips with a jigsaw.

Step 3: Cut Your Shape

I used an oxyacetylene torch to cut the tree from the drum top in about 30 minutes.

However, it took me 2 hours to review my welding class book on torch starting, safety, pressures, and such, then properly assemble and inspect, and test the system before proceeding - yes, Mom and Dad, I'm being safe (I'm 34 and they still worry, they're sweet.).

I hammered the foliage out to direct the light down, and gave it a quick wire brush.

Obligatory - please do not use welding equipment unless you have proper training and are using the proper safety equipment.

Step 4: The Fixture.

The old bathroom fixture had 4 lights horizontally. The design allowed me to flip them 90 degrees to give a more tree-like lighting pattern.

Since we're being eco-friendly in this project, be sure to use CFLs or ideally LED bulbs to save energy!

Also obligatory - wiring this requires a basic knowledge of electricity, how to wire a fixture, and the proper safety precautions, be careful.

Step 5: Mounting the Fixture Cover

I had already drilled the two holes to match the posts on the fixture before I traced out my foliage, so after tacking the cork trunk up with a few finishing nails, the tree was up and looking great! The fixture sagged a little from the weight of the metal, so I supported it with 4 long screws through 1/4 irrigation tube as a rigid spacer propped against the drywall.

Step 6: Painting the Trunk and Walls.

Laura,s mom did some great painting work to finish up the trunk and viola!

Orion has a new lamp!



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    8 Discussions


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Thats really nice,good job,and congrats on getting some welding can never have to many tools.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    That's really very nice looking! I'm going to have to make one of those. Thanks for that!

    Indeed! I'm trying to document our attempts at an ecofriendly nursery and baby on <a rel="nofollow" href="">Orion's Sustainable Baby Blog</a>.<br/>