How to make a book lamp

book lamp tutoriaal

Welcome to Six Days of Spring! I’m really excited to share some great ideas to add some spunk to your home for spring. Since I’m not much of a seasonal decorating kind of girl, all of my Six Days of Spring ideas are about bringing something old back to life again, like how to make a Book Lamp. For only $10, you can make this fun light in under an hour.

vintage style book lamp

I stopped by my local thrift store, and all books were a quarter. Steal, huh? So I bought three in a similar color line, so they’d look pretty all stacked up. Then, I took a trip to Lowe’s and got the rest of the parts:

1- ceramic light fixture – the old fashioned, bare bulb style. {$1.47}
1- pancake electrical box (also called “Round Ceiling Pan”) {$2.34}
1 – lamp cord with switch on cord {$2.47}
1 – 6 inch threaded rod (from lamp section) {$2.97 for a 2 pack}
2 inch wood screws (several) {on hand = free}
{Plus .75 in books brings total to $10 even.}

And you’ll need a few tools:
Dremel with a 1/4 inch router bit (or a box knife)
Hammer
Hacksaw
Drill
1/2 inch drill bit
Screw driver bit
Wire strippers
Phillips head screw driver
Pencil

Let’s get started!
*There are a LOT of steps. Don’t be scared – I’m just trying to be thorough.*

how to make a book lamp

First, you’ll need to put the books together. Stack them up in the order you would like, then open the top cover and screw through the pages to connect the top 2 books, one on each end (technically the top and bottom of the page.)

book light DIY

Next, flip over the entire stack (being sure that you still have them lined up like you want), and put screws in from the bottom on each end. Now your book stack is secure and will all stay together when you pick it up. Sweet!

how to make a lamp

Let’s light it up! With your book stack right side up, trace the pancake box exactly where you want the fixture to be with a pencil.

funky junk lamp

On the next step you get to choose: Either do it with a box knife or a power tool. Since Mr. SCC actually did all the work (I made him slow down for pics), he went with the Dremel. If you’re not comfortable with a Dremel, you can totally do it with a box knife.

How to Lamp Directions

Use the Dremel to cut into the top book to make room for the electrical box. The bit will sink right into the cover, making a hole to work from. He made many shallow passes around the circumference of the circle, going deeper and deeper with each pass. Eventually, he opened the cover to get the hole deep enough so the box would sit in the hole and be flush with the top of the book.

Unique Lamp

See the hole? There was a piece of metal there like the other round metal filled hole bits. He took a hammer and popped that out with one whack. {He moves too fast sometimes!} He positioned the box so that the hole was in the back (away from the spines.) Then, it got screwed down in the smaller holes, just like it would in a ceiling.

DIY Easy Lamp

See that big ol’ drill bit? Use it to drill through the hole in the electrical box at an angle through the books. You want the hole to come out through the side of the books, not actually through the bottom of the books. Make sure to press down hard on the stack of books to keep the pages from buckling. {Two sets of working hands = no pics of that step.}

Budget Lighting

Our lamp rod did not go in easily, so we used a hammer to tap it through the hole. You want to get the lamp rod through the books, so that it’s even with the electrical box.

Custom Lamp Tutorial

Cut off the excess with a hacksaw. Now give yourself a hand – the hard part is all done. Whew!

Free Tutorial to make Lamp

Take the cord, and strip 1/2 inch or so off the ends of the cord. Twist the wires that are now exposed so that they make a good connection. Feed the cord through the rod in the book, from the bottom up into the electrical box.

Lamp step by step

Wrap the wires around the screws on the bottom of the light fixture, then secure them. If your cord kit is made with clear wire, you’ll have a copper wire and a silver wire. Copper wire goes with the gold screw, and the silver wire goes with the silver screw. My cord had both sides copper, so there’s no wrong way to go.

make your own lamp

Last, use the screws on the edge of the electrical box to attach the light fixture to the base. And you’re done!

Vintage Book Lamp

Such a great lamp deserves a great bulb, don’t you think? I used a vintage style Edison bulb to make it even better.

Book Lamp

The vintage vibe with an industrial twist makes me 1,001 kinds of happy.

Want more amazing spring ideas? Be sure to check out all the other posts in the Six Days of Spring. And – don’t forget that next Monday is your turn to link up with your ideas!

           
        

Comments

  1. Gina- this is brillant!! what a clever idea.

  2. Great idea! I really love it. Pascale

  3. Are you able to find light bulbs like the one you used in Lowes? This is such a great idea and would make the perfect gift for a friend of mine who is an avid reader!!! But I would really love to use that same type of bulb.
    Debbie

  4. What a BRIGHT idea my friend! One that Edison himself would LOVE!!!! Rocked it…hugs!

  5. Cuter than CUTE!

  6. I LOVE this! Fantastic job and thanks for sharing!:)

    -Bonnie @ Revolutionaries
    http://www.revolutionariesblog.com

  7. LOVE it! Such a cool idea!

  8. Now that really lights up my life!! I’m all about thrift store revamps and this is a beauty!

    Thrilled to be part of the 6 Days of Spring with such a fabulously creative gal like you!
    Kelly

  9. Totally amazing~ I love this idea!! Loving the color on those books too~ perfect! So much fun to be partying with you!! :)

  10. I need this project in our house, stat! What a great tutorial.

  11. Fantastic, over the top creative idea!!….

  12. Love that little industrial style light!!!!
    xo,
    Shannon

  13. So clever! I don’t think my bibliophile husband were ever let me do that to a book, though! haha!

  14. AWEsome. Totally cool. I am featuring this at somedaycrafts.blogpot.com.

  15. AWESOME!!!! I love this project….but can I tell you that you had me at the lightbulb. :)

    Thanks for the inspiration sweet friend!

    blessings,
    karianne

  16. This is such a fun idea! And I want to shop at your thrift shop, those books are an awesome find :) So glad to be working with you this week, can’t wait to see the rest of your ideas!

  17. Not at all what I thought when you described it to me. I LOVE this! What a great idea for an old stack of books. And I love that you used the industrial style light bulb for an even more unique look. Great job!

  18. This has got to bee one of the cleverest things ever! Love it Gina! I like your take on the “spring” theme, can’t wait to see what else you bring back to life this week. :)

    Heather

  19. This is such a fun idea–I love it! Great job!

  20. That is a GREAT idea… and you broke it down so I even think I could figure it out! Thanks for sharing it!
    ~Pendra

  21. Oh, my heavens! Just gave son a bedside lamp from his childhood room…what to replace it with? Thank heaven for muses like you!

  22. This is truly one of the coolest things I have ever seen! It reminds me of a book that I read with my daughter last year, “The City of Ember” LOVE

  23. Ohhh my goodness! I love this SO much! Looks like something you’d spend $1000 on at anthropologie. Brilliant!

    Kelly @ View Along the Way
    http://www.viewalongtheway.com

  24. Very cool!

  25. Gina this is a super cool lamp!Thank you for sharing!Great photos and tutorial!
    xx
    Anne

  26. In love with this lamp! And that bulb totally makes it. Btw, not sure why I wasn’t following you before, but now I am :)

  27. I love your new lamp! Ingenious idea, and I love the Edison bulb, it is the perfect touch!
    Debbie :)

  28. SO COOL!!!

  29. I saw this and immediately went out to buy the supplies. The home depot nearby was significantly more ( cord w switch $6) than what you have listed from Lowe’s, so today I am running to Lowe’s. I was surprised that the awesome old fashioned light bulb was $10 alone at Home Depot, hopefully Lowe’s will have better prices. Thank you for posting this, I can’t wait to have it light up my craft room. I wonder if there is a cord w a dimmer….hmmm ;)

  30. Amazing lamp! Love the Edison style light bulb! Great tutorial and pics.

  31. Is the light too bright being that there is not a shade on the lamp ??

    It is a great idea and your instructions are excellent. I want it to be functional (not blinding) as well as really cool to look at, lol.

    • The Edison style bulbs don’t give off a whole lot of light, so it’s not overbearing. I’d definitely suggest using them! Thanks so much!

  32. Not to be that guy but…

    Even though bother of your wires were copper, it does actually matter which wire goes to which screw. You will find that one side of your wire has a ridge, or lines on it. It’s barely distinguishable, but it should be there.

    Connect the one with the ridge/lines to your silver screw. Then the other to the brass screw.

    The reason this is done: When unscrewing your lightbulb, if you touch the side of the metal part on the lamp, you won’t get zapped. Applying power to the silver screw energizes the shell of your socket, whereas applying power to the brass screw only energizes the center pin.

    Safety first when you’re playing with lightning!

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