DIY, Upcycling
Comments 5

DIY Project: Upcycled Book Lamp

Following on from Natalie and Ben’s book-love in my previous post, I thought I’d share with you a DIY project I did earlier in the year that helped reduce the number of books on my shelves without having to throw them out.

While I’m not typically a bower bird (I fact, I have a bad reputation around my house for throwing things out!), I do love to keep books. All books, any books – those I’ve read and may want to read again, those I’m wanting to read and those I just love having around for reference reasons or because they’re beautiful. For a long time, my old books (which go back to when I was at school and university) were stored in boxes waiting for a stable home. The problem was, when they got one, there wasn’t enough room for them all!

There comes a time when you have to say, not so much ‘enough is enough’, but perhaps it’s time to cull.

So that’s what I did. But what to do with those books that are out-dated, no longer needed or just plain unwanted (I couldn’t even offload them to my local second hand bookstore!)?

You turn them into something else.

So that’s what I did.

I created a standing book lamp stand (with a bit of help from my friends).

Here’s how I did it …

You will need

– One lamp stand or table lamp stand – I bought a black Ikea stand.
– Lots of books (preferably paperbacks) that you don’t want and are happy to have drilled. I needed 45 but obviously it depends on the thickness of your books and the height of your stand.
– A drill – or a very nice friend who is good with a drill – and possibly an electrician, like I did (unless you’re super handy with electrics).

– Drill holes in the centre of each book to fit the diameter of the stand.
– Stack the books from largest to smallest and/or by colour or any other artistic method you wish (but make sure the top book is a good one as you will see its cover). It can be a bit of a fiddle getting the order right but you only want to do this once so take your time to ensure you get the books stacked how you want them to look.
– Dismantle the stand – the foot pedal of mine needed to be taken apart and the wires cut so the books could be threaded on. My super friendly and helpful local electrician helped me and then rewired it to a new switch for a small fee.
– Slide the books, from top to bottom, onto the stand.
– Push the wire through the base and screw the base back on. This will require manpower from two others to lift the stand off the floor ensuring the books don’t slide off.
– Attach the new switch, if necessary.
– Add your lampshade of choice and a light bulb. I decided to decoupage a plain shade with pages from an old French book from University days. You need do about three layers so you get an even spread of light when it is on, and do a coat of spray lacquer to protect it and give it a light sheen.

And, hey presto, your very own upcycled light which will no doubt be the talking point of your living room!

Upcycled book lamp and decoupage vintage book shade


    • Hi Anita – thanks for your comment! Re the drilling, I had a friend of a friend do it for me as I am no expert on drills so in that regard it was easy but it did take him a bit of time! Jane

  1. Ch says

    I am in the process of doing a side table same concept but am having a heck of a time with A.) getting the stack level, I’ve tried so many twists, turns, & straight stack but cannot get the thing leveled. B.) the weight of the actual assembled table weighs so much! Any advise would be helpful. Thanks

    • Without seeing exactly what you’re doing it’s hard to comment exactly but I guess part of the problem would be the different thicknesses of the books? A few millimetres can make all the difference re the level. Can you put an extra something in between the table top and the top book (which can’t be seen) to then level it up? My lamp is also extremely heavy – impossible to move on your own – so be careful!

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