I love a good lamp and one that’s distinctive and won’t set you back a pretty penny is hard to find. So why not take advantage of your corner used book store (or your boxes of books in the basement) and make this one-of-a-kind reading lamp….get it…reading lamp…made of books…sorry. There are so many ways you can do this – for a kids room it could be made out of old schools books, for a weekend cabin out of old trashy paperbacks. I’d love to make a pair out of a set of encyclopedias! Anyway, I digress, here’s how you do it:
– Inexpensive, single pole lamp. Look for one with as low a profile base as possible.
– A stack of books equalling the height of the shaft of the lamp
– Lamp socket
*NOTE: Decide what kind of shade you want to use. Some shades clip right onto the bulb so you don’t need anything extra, if you want to use a shade that uses a harp then you’ll need to add a saddle)
Remove the socket from the top of your lamp. This can usually done very easily by just screwing it off. Give it a little tug to expose some of the electrical cord. Make sure the lamp is not plugged in (duh) and cut through the cord with a pair of scissors.
Mark you books where the hole needs to go. If you want your books with the spines nicely aligned, then mark them all in the same spot (I marked mine 2 1/2 inches from the spine) and then vertically in the middle of each book. If you want your books looking more like a casual stack, just make a mark in the middle of each book. Making sure that the bit you are using is slightly larger that the shaft of your lamp, drill though the mark on each book. You’ll need to stop now and then and dump out all the paper bits that the pages will cause.
Now just slide them over the cut end of the wire and down the shaft of the lamp. It’s that easy. Once you’ve got all the books stacked to the top attach a new socket. All lamp parts are standard, so it’s pretty easy to do. First, if your books didn’t come all the way to the top, or you need to tighten them up a bit, drop on a few washers. Next, if you had wanted to use a shade with a harp, place the saddle (the curved thing that holds the harp) on. Take your socket. remove the bottom part, slide it over the wires and screw it directly onto the threads on the shaft. Take the two cut wires and with a pair of scissors (or wire strippers if you have them), remove the plastic coating on 1/2″ of the wire. Using a screwdriver, attach one wire to one of the screws in the socket and the other wire to the other screw. Slip the now wired part of the socket down into the bottom portion that is screwed onto the shaft. If should just snap in place – you may need to tug on the cord coming out of the base of the lamp a little to take up some of the slack.
Add your shade and enjoy!