While we were at the Goodwill last month, Alberto came up with a few other ideas. I’ve been wanting to make a lamp, and so Alberto decided to use books as the base for one. We love books, so it’s little wonder how Alberto came up with this idea. We found some very old hardcover books selling for a few cents (no first editions, don’t worry!) which were all perfect for the base.
Then, since the dust jackets were all different, Alberto wanted a uniform look to them. Maybe make them look like they were wrapped in birch bark but we couldn’t think of a way to wrap them in birch veneer. However, I did think that we could find a wallpaper that would look similar and we found it at our local Ricciardi Brothers. After it was all put together, we had a unique accent lamp that really looks great!
Here’s what we used to make the lamp:
- Seven old hardcover books (you can’t do this with your Kindle!)
- A thin piece of wood for the base
- A lamp kit
- Black lacquer paint
- Black lamp shade (we didn’t use the one in the picture above)
- Texture wallpaper
- Cabinet door stops
This is what we needed to put it together:
- Exacto knife
Let’s make a book lamp!
- Stack the books on top of each other to determine how you want the final product to look. Generally, you’ll want the widest books at the bottom with the stack becoming more narrow the higher it gets. This will make for a more stable lamp.
- Number the books so that you can remember the order in which they were stacked. This will help you when putting the lamp together. We put numbers on the inside cover because we’ll be putting wallpaper on the outside.
- Measure the book on the bottom to come up with the size of the base. Then add 1-inch to the width and the length for the measurements of the base. This will ensure a 1/2-inch of the base will show around the bottom book.
- Measure and mark the plywood with these dimensions and then cut the plywood to size.
- Next, measure and mark the center of the base. Using a 1/2-inch drill bit, drill a hole in the center.
- Now, turn the base upside down and using a 1-inch drill bit, drill a hole halfway into the wood in the center. This will allow room for the hardware and cord to come out.
- Route the edges. This step isn’t necessary, but we like the way the routed edges look.
- Sand the base to prepare it for painting. I first used a very coarse sandpapaer, and then followed up with a fine sandpaper.
- Spray paint the base, and let it dry.
Prepare the books!
- While the paint is drying on the base, begin drilling the holes in the books. Start by measuring the length of the first book (the one that is going to be on top of the base), and place a mark in the center of the cover.
- Now measure the width, and place a mark in the center. Hopefully you’re two marks are making a cross in the center of the cover. If not, remeasure. Repeat these two steps with each of the books.
- Time to drill the holes in the books! Taking the first book, clamp the book closed to a workbench. I used a piece of scrap wood between the clamp and the book so that pressure will be applied to the length of the cover because I don’t want the book to move while I’m drilling. I also put a piece of scrap wood underneath the book because you can’t tell that you’re through the book until you see the sawdust from the scrap wood.
- Drill a 1/2-inch hole in the book where you drew the cross. Repeat with the rest of the books.
Cover to cover!
- After you’ve drilled the holes, begin covering the books with the wallpaper.
- Cut a piece of wallpaper that’s an inch longer and wider all the way around the book. Now, channel your inner tween and wrap the books the way you used to do it when in middle school.
- Next, using an exacto knife, cut an x in the wallpaper where the holes are in the covers. This will allow the lamp pole to slide through easily.
Feeling bookish, Alberto channeled the editors of yore and whipped up a couple of very dry martinis. Perfect for this project!
The Final Chapter!
- Take the pole from the lamp kit, and work it through the base and each of the books. Be sure that you have the books in the order that you originally stacked them and place the washer and the bolt on the bottom of the base so that the end of the pole barely sticks through.
- Now, add the harp to the bottom of the socket to the pole and run the wire up through the bottom into the socket. Screw the wires to the socket and finish the assembly.
- Don’t forget to add the cabinet door stops to the bottom of the base. This will prevent the base from scratching the furniture!
- All that’s left to do is add a light bulb, the lamp shade, and you’re done!
This is an awesome lamp, and it gives a new life to old books!