Prosthetic Leg Lamp




About: I'm a Software developer who loves to make things with my hands! I enjoy teaching people how to make things and sharing my knowledge where I can! Follow along with me as I learn and share what I do! Follow ...

My buddy's dad passed away Sunday January 20th. He text me on Tuesday January 22nd.

"I have a favor... Do you think you could make a leg lamp out of my dad's Prosthetic leg for the viewing and the funeral Friday and Saturday? If not, no big deal. We thought it would be funny"

Of course I responded with "I would love to!" So his sister dropped it off that night.

The first thing that I thought about was this Leg Lamp from Paul Jackman:

Using that as inspiration: his dad was a huge part of the University of Utah athletics.

So of course I had to keep with the theme of the University colors. I'm not going to lie that this was a little awkward to be working with my friends late fathers leg. Not a lot of people have touched, worked on, seen parts of this leg/foot. So of course I made sure to treat it with respect and wanted to keep it as original as possible.

Let's get on to how to build a leg lamp!

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Step 1: Step 1: Plan Path for Electrical Wire and Gather Supplies

The most important part about a lamp is simply routing the two conductor electrical wire.

I had to take the leg apart to see where/how I would get the wire through the leg. Lucky for me, his leg had a hole all the way through the middle except for one part where the foot connected to the ankle tube.

I only had to grind out a section of the foot connector to get the wire into the leg.

Now gather the supplies needed to finish the lamp.

Lamp Shade, lamp shade mount, electrical socket, wire, tassel material.

Keeping with the theme, find a lamp shade that will be the best fit for the lamp. I found that Wal-Mart had the best selection. Due to it being athletic I wanted the lamp shade to feel simplistic and not over done.

Now that I have the lamp shade, I had to find the lamp shade mount, electrical socket and wire. Lucky for me Wal-Mart had a complete lamp kit that was perfect to keep the lamp shade high enough above the leg and would simply mount to the whole where the wire would come through the mount.

Wal-Mart also had material needed to make the tassels for the lamp shade!

-Lamp Shade:

-Lamp Kit:

-Tassel Thread:

Step 2: Step 2: Build Wood Base of Lamp

In the previous step I talked about grinding the foot for the wire path. Here is a picture showing the size of the foot and the ground out spot to feed the wire.

Given my personal time crunch. I had to hurry and get the wooden base built and apply a finish.

I had a large chunk of 6/4 Maple laying around that I glued up and planed smooth.

I used a two point compass to draw an oval to fit the size of wood.

Using the bandsaw I gut the oval out (leaving the line) then sanded smooth up to the line on the disc sander.

Then routed a nice profile into the wood.

With the shoe being white and the Maple being light in color, I thought it would be best to stain the base a darker color for contrast.

Step 3: Step 3: Route Wire Into Wood Base

With the wood base done. It's time to figure out the layout of the shoe on the base.

With the shoe in the desired location on the base, drill a hole through the shoe where the wire will enter the shoe.

I personally didn't want the wire coming out of the bottom of the wood base. So I drilled a hole from the end of the base and met the inside hole in order to fish the wire through.

This way the wire should be snug and not be a hazard when sitting on a table.

Step 4: Step 4: Mount the Shoe to the Base

With the wire successfully passed through the base, line up the shoe and feed the wire through the shoe.

I know I needed to secure the shoe to the base because this would be what is holding the lamp to the base.

I took an old Simpson strap and cut it to fit inside the bottom of the shoe. Then used 6 @ 1 5/8" screws to screw through the shoe into the wood base.

This worked perfect. As I would tighten down on the screws I could see the sole of the shoe get sucked into the base.

Step 5: Step 5: Route the Wire Up the Leg

With the shoe mounted I needed to get the wire up into the prosthetic leg.

I said earlier about grinding out the bottom of the foot/ankle.

Well, now I have to get the wire through the sock by cutting a small hole in the sock.

Then route the wire into the foot through a seem in the manufacturing process. This got me right to the ground out spot and into the ankle part of the leg.

With plenty of extra wire pulled though to reach the top of the leg/lamp, I secured the Ankle to the Foot and routed the wire up the center of the top part of the prosthetic.

Step 6: Step 6: Build a Mount for the Light Fixture

At this rate I'm starting to get nervous because it's Thursday night and the viewing is tomorrow!

I used some card stock to make a template of the inside of the prosthetic upper part. This will be secured into the top of the leg and held in place with screws.

I used a cutoff of the 6/4 Maple so that it's thick enough to provide some strength and depth to fit inside the leg.

Step 7: Step 7: Build Tassels to Add to Lamp Shade

Since it's January there aren't many tassels to purchase in the stores.

So I figured I would have to make them. I didn't want to overdue it, so i kept them shorter and only made 8 of them. One for each metal part of the lamp shade.

To make the tassels,

Start off wrapping the string around your fingers as many times as you want thickness of the tassel. (Mine was only about 14~ times.

Once wrapped around get a crimp and compress the string on one end into the crimp.

With that securely crimped, cut the longer half into single strands and straighten the lengths.

Now sew them into the lamp shade in the desired locations.

Step 8: Step 8: Respectfully Display Lamp in Honor

I delivered the lamp to my friend Friday morning before work.

It's amazing how many people were talking about the lamp and giving me complements as the family was indeed answering peoples questions of who made it.

This was an honor for me to be part of this legacy that Woody leaves behind. Knowing how much love this family has for everybody around the world. I can only hope that his light will continue to shine for many many generations!

And if you happen to find yourself going to a UofU football game, stop by the Ticket Office and tell Cleadus you read about his dad's leg lamp!

You can Follow my work here:





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    14 Discussions


    6 months ago

    Congratulations and very well done, it seems like your efforts were well appreciated.

    Obviously a challenging project from the emotional side, and I know I would have found it challenging to find the right balance between humour and respect, but if the family could appreciate the humour behind the lamp, then your creation was right on the money. Again congratulations and very well done.

    1 reply

    Reply 6 months ago

    Thanks so much! Yes it was a challenge to not go overboard but keep it respectful. I know they would have enjoyed it even if I would have gone overboard!


    6 months ago

    BRAVO! What a testimonial! I can not say enough...thank you for sharing this.

    1 reply

    Reply 6 months ago

    Thanks! You have said enough! I appreciate the comment!

    Alex in NZ

    6 months ago

    Awesome. I totally agree with Seamster below that it says something about the character and sense of humour of the man being honoured. Thank you for sharing this, and well done for managing such a great project in so little time.

    1 reply
    mtschaefAlex in NZ

    Reply 6 months ago

    Thanks for the comment! This was a huge honor for me to be a part of and I definitely didn't want to let them down!

    Whitney Fabre

    6 months ago

    What a neat story, and I appreciate even when time is of the essence you're still like... but, I gotta get Instructables pictures... haha! Glad they loved it!

    1 reply
    mtschaefWhitney Fabre

    Reply 6 months ago

    Thanks! That is one of the thoughts that I had going into the project. I want to document this process because it will be a once in a lifetime!


    6 months ago

    This is one of the coolest, most clever items I've seen. It's a testament to the family's understanding of Bruce's own sense of humor, that they even made the request. And it's nice to see that you were able to pull it off within the time available. Great project!

    1 reply

    Reply 6 months ago

    Thanks! Indeed this family is the funniest group I know! Thanks again for the nice words!