I recently became obsessed with the idea of making lamps, once I found out how simple the wiring actually is, even considering it as a side business. Maybe one day, when I have a little money for start-up costs, I’ll give it a shot. My first creation–a DIY tripod floor lamp–was a housewarming gift for a friend, taking inspiration from beauties like this and this and these. By making it myself, I indulged a budding hobby and saved a crapload of cash. After reading a million DIYs already out there, here’s what I did…
SUPPLIES (with approximate costs)
+ lamp kit: socket, cord, hardware (You can also find the individual pieces at a hardware store, but it’s usually cheaper to buy as a pack.) – $10
+ vintage cloth-covered cord (This is optional, as most lamp kits come with a cord, but I wanted something prettier. I also opted to have a plug attached to save me a step.) – $15
+ 3 wooden “legs” (You can find rods or have wood cut at home depot. I liked the shape and height of pre-cut broom handles, so I used those) – $10
+ sandpaper – $1
+ wood stain (small can) – $4
+ wire (I used wire covered in jute from a craft store, because I knew there was a good change of it showing.) – $3
+ wire cutters or pliers
HOW TO MAKE A DIY TRIPOD FLOOR LAMP
1. Sand and stain your wooden lamp legs. Make sure they are clean before staining, and use and old cloth to wipe the wet stain after brushing it on with a paintbrush. You want to be rubbing it in, like sunscreen. Let it dry overnight. Re-stain if you want it darker.
2. Trim the tips of your wire’s covering back almost an inch, so the copper is exposed but not cut. Some wires will distinguish positive and negative sides by black and white coloring. Mine did not, so I just guessed and tested, knowing if my lamp didn’t turn on, I’d just switch the wires. If this is your case, make a mark on one, so at least you can distinguish them.
3. Follow the instructions on your lamp kit to put together your socket and base. You will be attaching each wire of your cord to a screw in the socket, and then screwing the screws in. Do not be touch any wires ever while your cord is plugged in.
4. Drill a small hole through each of the legs, about a foot down from the top, at a slight angle. If you want a perfectly symmetrical lamp, then make sure you drill in exactly the same place on each leg.
5. String your wire through each hole and trim it off, keeping the wire loose. Set your legs up, balancing them how you’d like them to stand, making sure it’s stable. Rest your socket in the top cylinder that’s created. Make sure your cord hangs straight down through the center of the three legs. Tighten the wire when you have your perfect lamp shape.
It will be somewhat flexible, which makes it easier to move in cars, but be extra careful when moving, so you don’t lose your socket. I still haven’t found a lampshade I like, so the lamp currently exists with a bare bulb, but there’s something a bit romantic about that.