Never grow up by keeping your teddy bear where they belong, right next to you at bed. This adorable night light is hidden inside a real stuffed teddy bear, casts plenty of light, and is operated through a switch in the paw making it the perfect bedtime buddy for children, and big kids too!
I based my design off the SuckUK teddy bear lamp - but unlike their $200 version that runs on USB, mine was under $60 and can be operated by squeezing the paw. This adorable lamp was made over a weekend, so it's perfect as a gift for anyone of any age.
Ready to build the best night light ever? Let's make!
Step 1: Supplies
The teddy bear is a 24" GUND bear named Maxie, I got her online.
You'll also need any rotary tool with a cutting wheel.
Step 2: Measure Bear
The aim is to have the top of lamp sticking out from the body of the bear. When seated, the bear is a little shorter than the lamp so some of the lamp shaft will need to be removed to shorten the height.
Step 3: Decapitate
Might as well get the awkward part out of the way early and decapitate the bear, as we'll need to create room for the lamp and the bear head is just in the way. Since the bear head isn't needed anymore you're free to leave it in the fridge and scare your friends, or add some arms and legs to the teddy head and make a new toy.
Using a sharp hobby knife I located the seam around the bear head separated the head from the torso. Make sure you save all the stuffing you can, as you'll probably need it all during to the project.
Step 4: Mark Section to Remove on Lamp Shaft
Sit the bear next to the lamp and mark where the top of the bear lands on the lamp shaft. The distance from your marking to the underside of the light switch flange is the amount that needs to be removed from the lamp shaft in order to conceal the lamp inside the body of the teddy bear.
Unscrew the lamp shaft from the lamp base and prepare for cutting.
Step 5: Transfer Marking
We made the mark on the top portion of the lamp shaft but we actually want to remove a section from the bottom of this lamp as there's less wiring to interfere with our cut, and it's easier to reassemble the lamp afterwards.
I used calipers to measure the distance from my mark to the underside of the switch housing and then transferred that measurement to the bottom of the shaft.
Step 6: Cut
Using a rotary tool and a cutting wheel I carefully cut into the lamp shaft at the marked location, however there was the electrical cord in the way so I couldn't cut completely through the shaft. Instead I cut into the shaft and rotated around the shaft, careful not to cut into the electrical wire, until I had severed the shaft at the marked location.
The small section that was removed had a plastic grommet that held the electrical wire. I needed to remove the grommet and free the electrical wire from the small section of shaft I just removed.
Cutting latterly into the cut section of shaft I carefully opened a channel to remove the plastic grommet and remove the electrical wire from the section of shaft. I cut a new channel into the remaining section of shaft and inserted the grommet into the lamp shaft. It may look a little messy, but all this will be hidden inside the bear later.
Step 7: Epoxy, Your Best Friend
After cutting the lamp shaft down to size the base needs to be reattached.
I gently clamped the cut end of the shaft to close up the cut channel and to fit around the threaded base. After mixing some 2-part epoxy I carefully threaded the shortened lamp shaft onto the base with a liberal application of epoxy, ensured the shaft was level on the base and then allowed the epoxy to cure overnight.
Step 8: Remove Bear Ball Sack
Some stuffed bears come with a sack of balls inside to help weight them down, usually sewn inside the bear somewhere along the bottom stitching. I was able to carefully remove the ball sack with a sharp knife from the decapitation opening. Not to brag...but becasue of my skillful knifework in such a delicate area, I'm probably as good as a real orchiectomy surgeon.
Step 9: Install Lamp + Pull Power Cord
Before installing the lamp it was helpful to remove some of the stuffing from inside the bear. The lamp base was carefully inserted though the neck opening until the bottom of the lamp was seated on the bottom of the bear with no stuffing underneath. A small incision was made on the backside of the bear near the tail seam which the lamp power cord was pulled through. If you plan on installing a paw switch then do not sew up the cord opening on the bottom of the bear.
With the lamp installed the stuffing that was removed was reinserted around the lamp stem and massaged to shape the bear.
Step 10: Sew Neck Opening
Using a sewing needle and beige coloured thread the neck was cinched closed . The knot and stitching can be easily hidden under the fur.
My neck cinch came up right underneath the light switch flange of the lamp stem.
The lamp could be done here, but I wanted to take this lamp to a new level by adding a switch in the bear paw instead of the standard neck of the lamp stem.
Step 11: Adding New Switch
For my new switch I chose a push button switch rated for my wall outlet, specifically 120V and up to 7amps.
I tested the contacts with a multimeter to see which terminals I needed to solder to, then soldered to long leads to these terminals and sealed them with heat shrink tubing.
Step 12: Trim Button
The button for my switch was very long and would look weird when inserted into the paw of the teddy bear, so I trimmed it down.
Step 13: Paw Insert
To help hold the new button in the right alignment inside the paw I made a small disc which the switch will sit inside.
The design is a plywood disc shape that will hold the switch inside the paw and always oriented upwards. To do this I measured the approximate diameter of the teddy bear paw, and then the exact dimensions of the electrical switch. I transferred the measurements to a scrap piece of thin plywood, and then cut it out. Since this plywood insert will be hidden inside the bear it doesn't need to look great, but will need to have smooth edges so it doesn't get snagged on any fabric during installation.
The electrical switch was centered in the disc and hot glue was to secure the switch to the disc.
Step 14: Test
Before installing the new switch assembly inside the bear I tested the button to make sure everything was working correctly.
The multimeter here shows a change from no reading to connectivity when the button is pressed. Success!
Step 15: Installing New Switch + Soldering
A small incision was made in the armpit of the bear at one of the seams. I removed the arm stuffing to allow the new switch assembly to be moved down the arm and into the paw. After orienting the button assembly the arm stuffing was reinserted and massaged back into a normal shaped bear arm.
The switch leads were fed through the armpit opening inside the bear and out the opening on the bottom where the power cord exits. Chose one of the leads of the lamp power cord and cut it, then strip a small section off each end. Add some heat shrink tubing to the button leads and solder the button leads to the cut lamp leads, then add heat shrink tubing to cover the soldering. The entire wire connection was then wrapped in electrical tap eto ensure things stayed safe.
The soldered and wrapped connection was stuffed inside the bear, then the bottom opening was sewn shut so that just the electrical cord was left hanging out.
Step 16: Bling Lampshade
To bling out the lampshade I used an the OLLSTA lampshade for standing lamps, which is perfect as it's made to fit ontop of most IKEA lamps and looks adorably oversized on the teddy bear.
Since the lampshade comes wrapped in plastic to protect the fabric exterior I chose to leave it on while spray painting the inside. I used a glossy metallic gold spray paint and applied a few coats to ensure good coverage.
After the paint has dried the plastic wrap can be removed and installed on top the teddy bear lamp.
Step 17: Light Up the Night!
Your teddy bear lamp is ready to be your bedside buddy. Squeeze the paw and you'll light up the darkness for a late night read, squeeze again and it's lights out for sleep.
Who says you need to grow up?
Have you made your own teddy bear lamp?I want to see it!
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