This is a guide on how to make lamps with USB ports out of recycled material and concrete.
I made 3 different ones for some presents, you can get a few ideas from these but ultimately a lamp should be designed for your purpose!
The orange lamp in the photo is for my partner, with a piece of drift wood she has had for several years set to hang some jewelry.
The black/grey one I made with a rack to hold my watches and a hook on the side for my keys.
Step 1: But for a Basic Build You Will NEED:
- recycled old lamp with a narrow base (for setting inside the mold). I found these at a thrift shop. (make sure they work and have been tested by an electrician or have a tag saying they have been tested if you are buying second hand)
- old filament bulb (for looks, any bulb will do)
- concrete powder - water - plastic pot plant mold (demonstrated are three different shapes) - 2m extension cord - double adapter (triangular is best) - wall power to USB hub - sticky tape or duct tape
- sand paper - bucket and mixing stick - scissors - blutac
- refuse from around the house. I used polystyrene from old packaging as spacers to make the internal concreting a little lighter and to recycle the stuff destined for landfill. I also used a tap, metal plumbing leftovers, hook.
- spray paint
Step 2: Sealing Off Electics
Attach the lamp power cord, the extension cord and the USB hub to the double adapter (as pictured)
Make sure you use blutac or stickytape to seal off USB/power cords that are exposed.
If you do not do this, concrete in the liquid stage can get in here and short circuit your lamp, ruin it or make it unsafe for use.
Step 3: Concreting the Electics Into the Pot Plant
place the USB hub flush against the wall of the pot.
Sticky tape in place.
Run the cords from the extension lead and lamp (if it has a switch along the line like these do) outside the pot by either running to the lip or cutting down the side with scissors and leaving trail out the pot halfway up.
Mic concrete in a bucket as per mixing instructions for the powder (usually 1:2 water:powder but just stir until thick).
pour until electrics are partially submerged.
Leave for 1h so the concrete holds in place.
you can mix paint with the concrete in this stage to get a tinted color that makes a straight line halfway up the lamp when finished.
Step 4: Concrete Part 2: Setting Lamp and Other Paraphinalia
In this step I used polystyrene inside the pots to elevate and level the lamps. It can be a good recycle of this product and make the lamp overall lighter and act as a spacer inside.
Set the lamps on top of the submerged electrics that should now be partially immobile in the concrete bottom layer.
Cut down side of plastic and set things if you want things hanging out like a tap/hook.
If you cut down, make sure to seal with blutac. If you don't do this, when concrete is being poured it will leak and make a mess and harden.
Pour concrete to desired level. Again, you can add pain to the mix if you want to tint. I prefer to spray after so it looks a bit more industrial.
hold items in place with sticky tape scaffolding so they don't float/ go off balance.
Step 5: Cutting Off Moulds
Use scissors and some pulling power to carefully remove the shells of the plastic pots.
remove sticky tape over sealed USB ports and simply chip/push any thin concrete that has set over the plastic.
Step 6: Finishing Touches
Sand the concrete with sandpaper to remove any dust/rough surface to your liking.
You can use concrete sealer if you want a smooth finished look.
At this stage, it is optional to add some spray paint for touch.
Sand paper off spray paint for industrial look
Step 7: Enjoy
Enjoy re-purposing a lamp into a space-saving desk or bedside table buddy that charges USB devices and looks great!