My scrap wood lamp with hand painted shade

YEAH! My project that I have been so excited about is finally done!!! I have wanted a lamp in my family room for so long. There are only two lights in the ceiling since my house is so old. I really wanted an antique bridge lamp like I have in my bedroom but they have tiny bases and tip very easily. Not exactly kid friendly. So I decided to make one so I could control the size of the base and make it fit my style. And if I save (a ton) of money that would be great too!

**UPDATE**  Here are a couple of pictures in the day light :) A little better.

The first thing I did was lightly pencil a design onto the lamp shade. I am slightly obsessed with paisley so that is what I chose.
****Update**** I need to clarify something that until someone asked me for the pattern I used, I didn’t realize that I hadn’t explain very well. I didn’t use a pattern. I made up the paisley design as I went. I erased if I didn’t like it. Paisley is easy because anything goes. There is no wrong way. If it looks like a strange amoeba thing, you are good to go!

I used Deco Art paint to paint on the design. Usually when I paint on fabric I use a fabric paint medium. But since this won’t be thrown in the washing machine, I skipped on the medium.

I used a small pointed brush. I can do this pretty quickly. I broke it up into 3 night so I wouldn’t get sick of it. I watched a couple TV shows each night and painted. I enjoy it. If you don’t want to hand paint your shade you can by all means cover your shade in fabric. A little spray adhesive or modpodge and your set.

Now for the base. I had my husband gather up all my scrap pieces of wood from past projects and put them in the basement. My garage is freezing and I am a wuss. I covered everything in the unfinished  part of our basement and turned it into my winter workshop. I cut all the wood with my miter saw. I didn’t even measure. I just grabbed it and cut random sizes. I know, I know. You are totally diggin’ my outfit. Sorry ladies. It is completely custom and takes years to make.

As I was cutting I stacked them up to make sure I was cutting enough to get the height I wanted.

When they were all cut, I sanded the heck out of them. I wanted all the edges and corners to be smooth. I have kids whose heads seem to be magnetically drawn to sharp edges.

I used a bore bit (3/4 inch) to make holes in the center of each one. Again, I did not measure. Great huh? That is probably why I like this project so much.I put the piece I was drilling on top of a piece that would not be used for the lamp.

I did not want the cord coming out of a hole in the very bottom piece or else the lamp would wobble. So I did not drill a hole in the very bottom board. I took the second the last board and drilled a hole on the side that went all the way through until it met up with the center hole. You will get a better idea of what I am talking about when you see me put the cord through this hole a little later. All you need to understand now is that I am a genius for thinking that up.

Here are all the pieces to my lamp puzzle!

Then I stained them all a dark walnut. This is right after I stained them. The stain sinks into the wood slowly. It ended up being lighter than this. I like dark stain for many reasons and one of them is that it hides imperfections quite well. Since this was all scrap wood, there were definitely imperfections!

Time to assemble! I used Gorilla wood glue on the bottom of the board and then added it to the base.

I nail gunned it so it would stay in place while the glue dried. Also, I just like any excuse to pull out my favorite tool :)

Then I strung the cord through.

After that it is pretty much like you are stringing giant beads onto a string. Glue, string it on, nail once or twice and repeat. Now, I need to point out that some of the chunks of wood were too thick to nail. But the glue when dry will be strong enough. I didn’t worry about it. I figured that it was better to have most of them held in place than none of them. I literally just grabbed and stuck it on, then grabbed another. No rhyme or reason. I have found that if you want a truly random look that it is best to make it truly random. Because of that and not measuring anything, this was an EASY project.

Sorry this is a little dark. But it is soooo much prettier in real life. I hope I get better pics in the morning.

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  1. Sarah@AlpinePoppy says

    Ummm, I am speechless… I love it so so so much! Seriously I want one! Wow! You know I wanted to meet you the other day, at Jen's cookie party, maybe next time :). I love being your first comment :)

  2. Stacy says

    Sarah you are so sweet! Did you not go? I was late and thought maybe I missed you because of that. Definitely next time :)

  3. Magen says

    OMGOSH… truly one of the best DIY projects I've ever seen!!! I NEEEEED one! Can't wait to see if I can pull one off.

  4. Sarah Takens says

    I'm super impressed with this lamp! What a fabulous idea! and you are remarkably GREAT at drawing and painting pasiley! Best of luck to you!

  5. banclothing says

    The stacked scrap wood is such a good idea. As for tea staining; I have seen it come out fantastic but more times it's a flop. I find I want people to know I actually went to the trouble of tea staining so I put too much on. It's subtle and sometimes just looks like a cream shade after….

  6. Kristen says

    That looks amazing! I wish I had time and the patience to sit and paint details like that. Oh wait..I can't draw. Smile.

  7. Amanda says

    I am head over heels in love with this, totally and completely gorgeous! I personally (as much as I love tea stained things) would not stain that shade, it's too beautiful as it is. I entered several projects in that DIY party and thought I had a pretty good chance until I saw this! If you don't win I'll be shocked. GORGEOUS.

    As a result, I have featured you on Craft Gossip this morning

    If you would like a "featured by" button, you can grab one here!

  8. Lois@frugaldecormom says

    Wow! I'm impressed. It's very unique! I love the lampshade and can't believe you hand painted it! I'm a little jealous of your steady hand! Great job!

  9. Bella says

    LOVE IT, how flippin awesome, and I LOVE the paisley design you painted. Good job, and good luck, hope you win.

    Bella :)

  10. Lovely Crafty Home says

    Love this!!! You have inspired me to make my own lamp for my crafting area :) We have tons of scrap wood! Great job :)

  11. Meg says

    So love the shade! Great job hand painting! Wow! The base is quite extraordinary! Love it! I'm hoping for a nail gun this Christmas. Cross your fingers! ;)

  12. LP says

    This is so awesome! I'm looking for handmade ideas to use for my baby's room and now I want to make one of these for him! :) Great job, thanks for sharing! :)

  13. Holly says

    I am so in love with this lamp. I want one! Thanks for linking up to the DIY Club. I am a follower here now!
    504 Main
    DIY Club

  14. lisbonlioness says

    This is mind- blowing. WHOW will not do it any justice… You could sell them for some serious bucks, every house should have one of those lamps. Starting with mine.

  15. Laree says

    Utah State! Hey Aggies all the way! Go Aggies! go Aggies! hey Hey Hey!

    I'm totally inpsired to make my own lamp now. I love this!

  16. Sonya@Beyond the Screen Door says

    You are so clever! What a great idea. I totally think you should tea stain the shade. I've done it. Great results. Tea, sponge brush and you're good to go! Thanks for the great tutorial!

  17. Yanet @ 3 Sun Kissed Boys says

    I've seen a picture of this throughout blog land but I hadn't realized that you painted the shade as well! As if the base wasn't awesome enough!! I love this lamp.

  18. Anonymous says

    For the flippin' love – that is so stinkin' cute!!! My daughter totally flipped for it too. We're gonna have a Mom/Daughte day and attempt to make something like it. Could we get you to post your paisley so we can copy them – PLEASE & THANK YOU!!! I can't draw a stick man with a ruler.

  19. Stacy says

    I just made it up as I went. I didn't use a pattern. I drew it on the shade lightly enough I didn't like a certain paisley I drew, I could erase it. If you want, you could practice on a paper first.

  20. Andrea | says

    Love the lamp & the shade!

    The lamp base is so versatile! Each of the wood blocks could be painted different shades of a particular color to match a room. Cubes of wood would look great as well!

    Very creative & very clever!

    And I probably wouldn't tea stain the lamp shade…I don't think the colors of the paisley would pop as nicely on the tea-stained shade.

    Great work!

  21. Beth@The Stories of A2Z says

    At first glance I thought your shade was from Ikea. Amazing that you painted on all that gorgeous detail. Fantastic tutorial and uber creative project!

  22. ScrappinCntryGrl says

    Wow…I love to see a GIRL using power tools…see guys, like football it's not just for men! lol…but really, I have wantd to make a lamp out of some "extra" items I have, but scared of the wiring process…thanks for sharing this tutorial!

  23. Anonymous says

    I just found your blog, but I'm loving all the projects. House fix-ups, felt faces, scrap wood, and another mom who knows how to use a miter saw! What could be better? Oh, wait– a USU sweatshirt. Go Aggies!!! I love it!

    I love this lamp. I think I'll make one for my sister, too. She just bought a house, so this would make a good house warming gift.

  24. Lex-a-roo says

    THis is soooo neat I can't wait to try it… but I don't have a nail gun I might have to use a bit more muscle driving nails.

  25. Kristie says

    love it, love it, love it. I have the same while boring lamp shape, and un-matching base, now I know what to do. thanks for the inspiration.

    but I do have a question, how do you install the top part where connect with the light bulb? and the plug to the outlet? hehe… I can’t wait to make my own.

  26. says

    Can I please just tell you how much I love this lamp?? It is already on my to do list! Cheap and easy, my 2 favorite things in a project. :)

  27. says

    Goodness I LOVE that lamp! And I think we have the same sofa. I just found your blog and i already love it. I am a new follower.

  28. says

    Fantastic! I’m over from Vintage Revival too, but I laughed at the comment right above mine. I just pinned this before commenting. Super creative and beautiful! Way to go!

  29. says

    Your lamp is amazing! I have so many little pieces of scrap wood, I totally want to do this project! Thanks for the tutorial! -Chessa

  30. Lisa says

    thanks for the tutorial. this is amazing. loved every minute of it and can’t wait to make one. you are a crafty crafty lady.

  31. Elizabeth says

    LOVE IT~!~!~!

    I am kinda stumped though… I may be asking silly question but how did you do the lamp part of this whole thing… I mean the wiring! I would have loved to see that part! I have never thought to wire my own lamp up and would love to replicate this in short and tall versions! How did you do it?!

  32. Jenni says

    Um, this is absolutely AMAZING!!! I’ve been gathering log pieces to do something similar, but am at a loss of how to actually get a lamp to work. What cord, “lamp guts” did you use and where did you purchase them? LOVE your blog!

  33. says

    I know this is an old post…I just found you via Vintage Revivals, and I was JUST talking to my husband about how I could make my own chunky floor lamp and then HERE IS YOUR POST about how you did it! I love your blog! Thanks so much for this great post!

  34. says

    Hi Stacy! I just found your blog through apartment therapy this week and it’s been so much fun reading about some of your projects! I loove this lamp idea, it has so many gorgeous elements – chunky wood, dark stain, casual elegance, and – wow – handpainting! :) I had one question I was hoping you could answer although I know this post is from awhile ago :| Where did you get a long enough lamp cord? Did you take apart an old lamp? Thanks in advance if you have a chance to answer this! :)

  35. says

    Wow! What an amazing idea! I have piles upon piles of scrap wood that I just can’t bring myself to part with. You have got the gears spinning in my head with all sorts of new ideas. Thanks for sharing this beautiful lamp!

  36. Erin says

    I have the same question some others have… Coul you post or email me about how you did the wiring please! I would make this right now if I knew how to do the wiring. Please please post thanks :)) <3 this is so amazing

  37. says

    Hi, Neat post. There’s an issue with your website in internet explorer,
    would check this? IE nonetheless is the marketplace chief and a huge section of folks will leave out your great writing due to this problem.

  38. Lakshmi Raman says

    You gave me a great idea to use scrap wood.
    Could you also please share the details on how you attached the lamp shade and the bulb to the stand.

  39. Linda Bussard says

    What a great idea. We have lots of scrap wood but didn’t know what to use it for. Now I know. Love your lamp and the idea. THANKS!

  40. Daisy says

    I know it’s several years later, but I would like to know how thin you had to get the acrylic in order to maintain the color when the light is on. I am getting ready to paint a lampshade, and I need the colors to stay mostly true when the light is on.