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What Are the Best Tips for Making a DIY Lamp?

D. Grey
D. Grey

The best tips for making a do-it-yourself (DIY) lamp include having a clear idea of what kind of lamp one wishes to make, namely, the size, shape, materials, location, and manner of installation. To make the process easier, lamp kits can be purchased in most hardware or craft stores and generally include the basic necessities to make a DIY lamp, including a socket for a light bulb, a harp, which can be used to hold a lampshade, a switch to turn the light on or off, a cord to plug in the lamp, and a small base to hold all of these components. The design of a DIY lamp can vary greatly depending on its intended use, but generally consists of a body, a base, and a lampshade.

DIY enthusiasts can feel most free to be creative in deciding on the body of the lamp. As long as the body has a cavity of some sort to hold a lamp kit or equivalent parts, nearly any shape can be used. Strong materials, resistant to the heat of the bulb should be used, making metal or glass popular choices. Symmetry is not necessarily required, but the body of the lamp should have a relatively even weight distribution to prevent it from falling over, and make it capable of being attached to a base.

Scrapbook, wrapping or wall paper may be cut to size and rolled to form a lamp shade.
Scrapbook, wrapping or wall paper may be cut to size and rolled to form a lamp shade.

Without a lampshade, the bulb may be exposed and present a danger or, at the very least, be too bright for comfortable use. The lampshade for a DIY lamp is also a good place to exercise creativity as shades can be constructed from many different materials an can have a variety of designs placed upon them. Thick paper or fabric wrapped around a frame is a frequent choice and either tends to be good for displaying patterns or other designs. To prevent creating a fire hazard, the builder should attach the lampshade in such a way that it does not make contact with the bulb. Likewise, the lampshade should not be assembled with glue that is flammable or that melts easily.

The base of a DIY lamp is another component that can generally be used for creative expression as long as it follows a few basic guidelines.The base should be heavy enough to support the rest of the lamp and keep it in place. A flat bottom on the base may assist in this. If one has made a DIY lamp with the intention of mounting it, a few tips to keep in mind include remembering to place it near an electrical source, mounting the lamp at an adequate height to prevent bumping into it, and double checking that it is mounted safely and securely. If any wiring has been placed inside the wall the lamp is mounted on, one should follow any necessary electrical safety or fire prevention guidelines that may apply.

Discussion Comments


@Melonlity -- true, but one should take care when dealing with electricity. It is hard to mess up a lamp, provided you take steps to make sure it is grounded properly so it doesn't catch on fire when it is plugged up and turned on.


This is actually one of the better projects for a budding DIY enthusiast to tackle. Why? A lamp is a very easy thing to build and putting one together successfully can give someone the confidence to tackle larger, more difficult chores.

Besides, a totally custom lamp is an awesome conversation piece. Build one in an afternoon, show it off for years, right?

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    • Scrapbook, wrapping or wall paper may be cut to size and rolled to form a lamp shade.
      By: Theo Malings
      Scrapbook, wrapping or wall paper may be cut to size and rolled to form a lamp shade.