How to Make Lamp Bases

By Jonah Morrissey

Lamps are decorative features in many rooms. The style of the lamp and its glow can establish the mood of the room. Instead of purchasing lamps for your home, you can make your own. The essential part of the lamp is the base. You can make lamp bases from nearly anything. A natural driftwood or tree branch lamp base will provide you with a natural, peaceful and soothing lamp. It will work well in a rustic cottage home in the country or a modern loft in the city.

List of Items Needed

  • Driftwood
  • Fine-tooth saw
  • Drill press
  • 1/4-inch drill bit
  • Oscillating tool with sanding accessory
  • Rotary tool with sanding accessories
  • Plastic basin
  • Soapy water
  • Cloth rag
  • Spray lacquer
  1. Find a piece of driftwood from the shore of a river, lake or other body of water. Select a piece that is the approximate size that you would like for your lamp base. Select a piece up to 24 inches for a table lamp and up to 72 inches for a floor lamp.

  2. Cut off the bottom end or ends of the drift wood so that it will sit flat on a surface using a fine-tooth saw. Work with the natural shape of the driftwood to create an interesting position for the lamp base to rest.

  3. Place the driftwood with the bottom flat on the table of a drill press. Drill a hole completely through short bases where you plan to install a hollow lamp cord tube using a 1/4-inch drill bit. Drill a 3-inch deep hole into the top of taller bases where you plan to install just the stem of the lamp socket. This type of base requires that the cord come out from the socket. Use this method on large or long bases that you are unable to drill through.

  4. Sand the driftwood thoroughly with a progress of medium- to fine-grit sandpaper. An oscillating tool with a sanding accessory helps keep the bottom edge flat. Use a rotary tool with sanding accessories to reach into small areas and sand the remainder by hand.

  5. Fill a plastic basin with soapy water. Wash the lamp base off with a cloth rag and soapy water to ensure all of the sand and other debris is removed. Allow the wood to completely dry. Dry times will be affected by the weather. For example, the wood will dry much quicker on a hot dry day than on a cold, damp one.

  6. Spray the lamp base with an even coat of spray lacquer. Allow the first coat to dry for at least four hours and apply additional coats until you are satisfied with the final appearance. Allow four hours between coats.

Tips and Warnings

  • Select a lamp shade that will complement the natural appearance of the wood such as parchment, rice paper or linen.
  • Wear eye protection when working with wood to help prevent eye injury.

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