Wooden Tea Light

Introduction: Wooden Tea Light

For the past year or so, I have had a craving to make a light which I could use by the bedside to provide ambient light while I read. I wanted a lamp which was small enough to fit on a nightstand while providing enough lighting as I settled down for sleep. This lamp made from re-purposed materials serves that function beautifully.

Step 1: Materials and Tools

Gazing around my small collection of random parts (some would say I'm a blossoming hoarder), I gathered an assortment of old parts to create a new, functioning lamp.

The materials used were:

  • 1 old plank from a pallet (I found a really cool one which had once been painted blue and now had faded quite a bit)
  • 1 lamp socket and cord from a broken desk light.
  • 1 tea canister (Try Emporer's White Tea by The Republic of Tea. Extremely tasty and one of my favorites)
  • 1 CFL 13 Watt bulb
  • Some old rubber tubing or an old used bike tire
  • Rocks/pebbles (I got mine from an old fish tank, clean them well!)

The tools used were:

  • Table Saw
  • Drill Press
  • 1/4" and 3/8" Drill Bits
  • Dremel Tool
  • Phillips Screw Driver
  • Wrench (for taking apart the light socket assembly)

Step 2: Prepping the Canister

Initially we will drill the holes which will allow for the electric cable to run through and the twisting rod to activate the light switch. I set the light socket on the outside to estimate the preferred depth and marked the corresponding holes with a sharpie. Be sure to leave enough room on the bottom hole for the wire to flow through if the shank on the light socket is longer.

Make sure to wear safety glasses when drilling the holes in the tea canister. Have a firm grip on the canister and apply the drill bit lightly. If the drill bit is applied too hard, it will not bite into the metal and instead will bend the canister.

Once the holes are drilled out, the insides need to be cleaned of burrs. I began with a file but the dremel tool works much better. I used a simple sanding wheel with the dremel. Wear safety glasses and hearing protection, as this stage gets rather loud. Be sure to rinse the canister under cold water to prevent it from heating up too much while grinding.

Step 3: Cutting the Wood Strips

Always be sure to wear safety glasses, hearing protection, and have a supervisor present who knows how to properly work the table saw if you are not comfortable with running it on your own. I used two push sticks to help move the wood pieces along as the cuts became smaller. This helped in creating distance between my hands and the saw blade and minimized the risk while operating the table saw.

I began by cutting the areas which had been nailed on the wood plank. I cut these pieces in the ballpark of 8-10 ". I think the uneven appearance of the wood strips give the lamp a more unique look. Depending on the size of the strips, you will need to cut more or less. Aim for the width of the pieces to be less than 3/4 ", anything bigger may be hard to piece around the canister. The depth of the wood strips were cut down to roughly 1/4 ".

Step 4: Assembling and Testing

I began by adding some rubber strips around the opening of the hole where the light cord runs through in order to prevent the sharp edge of the metal canister from cutting into the cord. I then maneuvered the cord through the hole and re-connected the wires to the light socket (make sure the cord is unplugged). I then attached the rod to the light switch and tested the light. After finding the preferred position of the light socket, I filled in the small pebbles around the socket to hold the light in place and provide weight to the base of the lamp.

I then took the rubber strip and tied it loosely in a basic knot. I began sliding in the pieces of cut wood randomly. The height of the wood strips can be adjusted based on personal preference. I really like having a little bit of the metal from the tea canister showing at the bottom of the lamp. This will create a lamp as shown in the cover photo for this instructable.

If you wish to increase the amount of light which this lamp will give off, add in a small rubber strip between the wood strips and tea canister at the top portion (check the picture with the arrow showing the rubber strip added). This will cause the strips to bend outwards and let more light pass between each strip. This method also allows for a more personalized lamp.

Step 5: Enjoy Your Awesome New Lamp!

I had a blast designing and building this project. It fits my expectations perfectly and pairing the reclaimed pallet wood with the brushed steel of the tea canister creates a cool, modern look. I can't wait to use this lamp for my nighttime reading over the blinding lamp I have currently (maybe tonight after I finish this instructable!). I hope you enjoyed this short and easy project and please update me with your modifications/lamp build!

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    4 Discussions


    6 years ago on Introduction

    I bet the shadows cast by that frame look really cool on the walls...


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    Depending on the orientation, the shadows are pretty neat! It was hard to capture with my camera though.