Have you ever wanted a desk lamp that was cubical? How about a cubical lamp that also serves as a storage box? How about a lamp-storage box that brightens up any party? How about a party-time lamp-storage box that you dug out of the earth with your own blocky hands? Well look no further! This is a fairly easy, fairly inexpensive project (assuming you have access to the proper tools) that works great, is fun to make, and will fit well with any Minecraft fan.
Step 1: Gathering the Supplies
To complete this project, you will need to get the following MATERIALS:
1. 1/4" plywood (probably a lot).
2. 3/4" piece of wood (not as much, at least 10" x 10").
3. 1/2" piece of wood (again not as much, 10" x 10" would be plenty).
4. Clear silicone caulk.
5. A source of lighting. I would suggest RGB LEDs, as they are fairly inexpensive, have a lot of color/effect options, and work very well for this project. Also if you want this to be a desk lamp, lights with a wall outlet plug-in may be the best option (as opposed to battery powered).
6. Light gray spray paint and dark gray tubed paint.
Additionally, you will need access to the following TOOLS:
1. Miter saw.
2. Table saw.
3. Laser cutter/Shapeoko/other carving or cutting machine.
4. Nail gun.
Step 2: Cutting the Square Sides and Top
First, you'll need to cut the sides and the top out of the 1/4" plywood. I wanted my end result to be small enough to fit on a desk, but large enough to have a decent amount of storage space.
I chose for each of the four sides to be 10" x 10", while the top was cut at 10 1/4" x 10 1/4". The top was cut differently because it will be a "sit-in" top and thus needed a little bit of an overhanging lip that you could get your fingers under.
Precision is key here, as uneven sides will make it very difficult to put together a non-warped box later on. I cut all four pieces at the same time, to ensure that all of the sides would be cut the same way. I then placed a small pencil mark in one of the corners of each of the pieces to signify how the pieces had been lined up when I cut them.
Step 3: Cutting the Holes
After cutting the sides and top comes cutting out the designs for the "diamond" light to shine through. If you have access to a laser cutter or Shapeoko or other similar cutting/carving machine, then this step is no trouble at all.
I first designed the template for the cuts in Inkscape (a free designing program) and then simply loaded the file to be printed in the laser cutter's program.
If you are using a laser cutter, keep in mind that this should be run at a low speed and monitored for the duration of the cut, as wood is flammable.
Step 4: Paint the Pieces
Next, you'll want to go ahead and paint your newly cut pieces.
I started by applying a light gray base to all of the pieces with spray paint. I would recommend spraying both sides now, as well as the edges. When I made this, I only sprayed the "outsides" because I had failed to realize that you would be able to see the wooden insides through the holes once the box was put together. Luckily, this can be fixed later on if necessary, but to save the additional effort it would be best to get all of the spray painting done in this step.
Afterwards, I made a template out of some cardboard to help apply the darker paint. Scissors and a box cutter are all that are needed here. This template proved to be very valuable to someone like me, who has very little artistic ability.
Step 5: Angling the Sides
This is where the project can get tricky.
You now want to use a table saw, with the blade at a 45 degree angle to cut these angles on each of the sides' edges in order to put the box together. This will allow for the sides to come together to form 90 degree angles all the way around, thus giving the box its perfectly cubical shape. This is only necessary for the edges of the sides that are going to be connected to the other sides, not for the edges touching the top or bottom of the box.
Once again, precision is key here and you'll want to be extra careful not to mess up any of the pieces that you've already put time and effort into.
Step 6: Making the Inside Corner Braces and Connecting the Sides
Next comes making the inside corner braces. These braces serve as the connection points of all the sides and provide structure to the box.
I cut 4, 1/2" x 1/2" pieces of wood to be about 8" long. You'll want to leave space at both the bottom and top of the box for the lid and the recessed bottom.
Then, using a nail gun I connected the sides together by shooting 2 or 3 nails into the sides and through the braces. It may be necessary to clip off some length from the nails before shooting.
Step 7: Attaching the Bottom
Afterwards you'll need to attach the bottom of the box to the already connected sides.
I used a thicker piece of wood (about 3/4" thick) for the bottom to give the box some weight and solidness.
I recessed the bottom up into the box by cutting it 9 11/16" square, and then shot it into place with the nail gun.
Step 8: Making the Lid
Once the rest of the box is assembled, the lid will need to be finished by attaching a couple of 1/2" x 1/2" pieces on the underside. These serve to lock the lid down in the box by snugly fitting in the top.
These pieces were placed to allow just over 1/8" of free space on all sides, which resulted in a very tight fitting lid (it's actually sort of difficult to get on and off). This step offers a little bit of variation, depending on how tight-fitting you want the lid to be.
Step 9: Fitting the Plexiglass
Next comes fitting the plexiglass into the sides and lid. I cut the plexiglass pieces into 8 1/2" squares.
Then I simply attached the plexiglass squares to the insides of the box by dabbing clear silicone caulk where the plexiglass touched the corner braces.
Step 10: Fitting the Wiring (Optional)
The last step in completing the box was making a hole for the LED wiring to escape from out of the inside of the box. For this step, I just drilled a hole in the bottom that would allow the wire to escape, and cut a small notch to allow the wire sit freely without being under the weight of the box.
Ideally you would also want to attach the lighting to the inside of the box's sides. This would get them off the bottom in order to use the space for storage. My example does not show this step.
Step 11: Enjoy!
There you have it! With these steps complete you have your very own Minecraft-inspired lamp.