Steampunk Modified IKEA-Lamp for Camping




About: I love to invent and create new things in a "steampunk styled way" working with brass, copper, vulcanized-fibre, brass gears and (ply)- wood. On one side I am fascinated in neon lights and small electronic ...

For the outdoor living the modern steampunker takes his modified  IKEA-Lantern.
See how it goes.

Step 1: How to Do

Take such a ring from a lamp holder an cut it down as you see. Put away the small candle holderm from the bottom of the lantern. Then put disk of wood or "Vulkanfiber" (a special sort of paper used normally as a welding protection shield) on the bottom. Place the brass ring avbove. Take an old CFL-bulb as you see in the picture. Cut the electronic part away and take only the glass tube and the plastic bulb.
The electronic I used is the same like in my other projects, -a high voltage tranformer from a disposal camera- (see the  modification at my first project:"high-voltage-ignited plasma-bulb"). Put this electronic and the batteries in the top of lamp. On the top of the lamp there are several holes looking like stars. There you can place copper disks and screws for decoration and also the switch can be installed there.

Step 2: You Are Finished

In the last step you can decorate the  glass holders with some small brass pipes and applicate eg. copper ribbons around top and bottom.

At the end you`ve got a very stylish steampunk lantern for romantic summer evenings

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9 Discussions


4 years ago on Introduction

Please,can you tell me,from where i get "Vulcanfibre"in Germany.

The HV electronic.Its also possible to youse the electronic from a old scanner.

They need an input of 12V DC and the output is ca.200V AC.

Best greetings


spark master

7 years ago on Introduction


I am confused, you take a lantern(?) apart you disassemble a dead lamp you show the globe installed in a round lantern(?), then you put a HV flash source into a square box that appears no where in the other pictures.

what does this do ? You appear to have a mangled new lightbulb (new type)in a new base. Is there a point to this?

If this appears mean spirited I assure you it isn't I am honestly confused as to why you have done this and what is its purpose. I get the "steampunk" concept, and have friends who are into this, but, the things need a purpose.

do you put a candle in it?

7 replies

After looking over Horatious Steam 's projects I see the point, you use the HV source from a camera to push the flourecent lamp, nice verra nice. You need to show that here, or put a link to go there and see how it is done.

Your design is very nice, and sensible if H.Steam is to be believed and you can run a lam for 5 hours on 2 AAA bats!

I will need to make a few and get boy scouts making them. maybe not steam punk, just fnctional for storms and camping, and fer fun! I just threw out 6 of these camera parts a few months ago as i made something didn't like it and saw no need to keep them :-( As digital caemra's take over the world these units are harder and harder to find.

rav3nusspark master

Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

That is a good point spark master. I wonder if anyone has an instructable for making just this part of a disposable camera? The day will come whenn these are no longer available.

spark masterrav3nus

Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

After these comments I made a concerted effort to track down camera that will function in this capacity. So I have a slew of them, you really need the Fuji type, I have never gotten the Kodak units to work. I modded the units I had and built a few of these.

I know the idea is to use a "dead" battery but if you put (2) 1.5 volt batts in series for 3 volts you get a much brighter light, or enough to push a big tube. Using a batt. size c or larger makes the unit last much longer, the circuit will draw what it draws, but the source is way way bigger, so more useful light will be available.

A fresh 1.5 volt is nice as a nightlight or 6 , perhaps, in damp proof housing makes a nice runway to park your car in say, a black out. We did just that after Sandy. If you put in an ambient light sensor to turn it on and off it can be used as a nightlight for kids.

This is especially useful in a black out so your kids, (or klutzy adults) don't need candles in the middle of the night.

If you remove the frosted acrylic "bulb" shape which makes it look like an incandescent, you get a big boost in lumens Add a frosted "lens" to any light fixture and deduct 15-30% of available light, yep pretty high. But when I did electrical work that is what we were told by the manufacturers.

So if you install 10 overheads and they all have frosted lens's in effect you remove 1 1/2 fixtures from the ceiling grid (15%LOSS).

This is a very nice project and it made me get off my butt and make a bunch, then I learned to remove the base carefully so I could use a standard Edison Base.

build a few, and if you can source the old cameras ask for as many as they are willing to give you.


oh I fergit they will also light up a decorative neon light.

Junophorspark master

Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

I used a flourecent lamp (only the glass tube) with 11 watt and nearly 15 years old, but it really depends on the producer. It really doesn´t matter how many watts the former cfl used. You can also take a tube from a 4 watt lamp. The best way is to test some old ones and look which tube will does its job best. To my opinion it is very important that you cover the glass tube with something for a shock protection, because of the Quicksilver(Hg) in it.
I got my cameras from an big photo developer lab, this might be a chance for you too to get some for free.
My lamp is running for about 8-12 hrs. with two AA bats

spark masterJunophor

Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

Are you picking up the shock from the lamp? or the base?

As far as the source goes about 3 months ago I was cleaning out some boxes and (gulp) tossed out 4-6 of the units all gutted and ready to make mini bug blasters......ggrrrr...... they are not so easy to get anymore they used to be very easy to pick up for free. Now with digital camera's it is very hard to find them.....I will try this week to find a few. Having ten or so is good for emergencies, like the last big hurricaine here.

thanks for the come back, I am curious where you get the shock from (touching the glass? Stray wire? Case?

It does matter with small children. Will scare them real good and then they drop it.

Using a nicad battery came to mind even b4 I saw Horatius Steam's version. and by adding a separate charger input, if you know a bad one is coming you can charge it at any time, then unplug set to photovoltaic charge and leave in windows to trickle charge. Then when needed used judiciously and with an on/off switch, allows you to at least have an idea where things are in the dark. Other versions I have seen of this will give very high brillance but for 1.5-2 hours or so.

last off I love books on tape (cd-dvd). When my kids were younger I would light 10-15 candles all over a room and have snacks ready, then we would sit around and listen to Harry Potter and The Lord Of The Rings , the Hobbit , Percy Jackson as the candles flickered. These will have no flicker but they will work very nicely.

Junophorspark master

Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

Hi spark master
Maybe I can explain my idea once agin so that you aren´t longer confused.
The idea ist to light up the lantern with an cfl in its bulb from an so called"dead" lamp and its light is generated by a HV flash from an used disposal camera. I put the photo of the electronic inside the head of the lantern from another project (
which follows the same constructive idea. Sorry that you might have misunderstood this step. The design of the lantern itself is in the steampunk way using different applications in copper and brass, so it looks like an freaky idea of an oldtime mad scientist.
But you are right this project might be a little bit confused. So I promise in my next instructables I will be more structured

spark masterJunophor

Reply 7 years ago on Introduction


as you can see from the post I made after it, I goty the idea. I understand the steampunk "look and feel". I even have a steam punk movie (japanamation).

I did not get that you were stripping down the lamps and pulling an HV (High Voltage) source from a disposable camera with a flash.

Once I understood the concept and I think it was a hoot,(entertaining).

Thank you for a very cool concept and to those who originated the concept of a stripped down CF lamp reuse.

What size lamp (in watts) was the CF, that is important.

thanks you

you have earned an icey cold Dinkle Acker Dark for this project!

My favorite, no longer imported here :-(