Friday, April 24, 2015

DIY Tripod Floor Lamp

As promised, I'm back to show you how Seth built a tripod floor lamp for the nursery.  After browsing West Elm and Target and finding nothing that I liked for a reasonable price, I remembered this tutorial from Sarah Dorsey.

Although a bit more complex then the branch light, it looked feasible.  And for <$20 in materials (not including the lamp shade of your choice), I knew that we had to try it.  And Seth agreed!  :)


Sarah's instructions are quite thorough but I'll run through our process as well including a few snags we hit along the way.


Our supplies:

  • scrap piece of 2x4 (pic shows it after Seth cut and sanded it)
  • harp (bottom part shown, top part not pictured)
  • socket
  • threaded nipple
  • hex nut
  • metal conduit (we used two of these cut into three 4 foot sections)
  • cord with plug
  • spray paint (not pictured)
  • rubber leg tips (we used these)

Note: We already had some of the lamp parts on hand so it was cheaper for us to purchase these items individually, but you could also purchase a lamp kit.  We also opted to pick a socket with a pull down cord versus a switch in hopes that it would be easier for me to reach.

Now for the building and assembly...

First, you'll need to drill the holes in one of your conduit legs for the cord.  You want one hole on what will be the inside of your leg and another on the outside.  

Next, you need to fashion your piece of 2x4 into a center piece that will hold your three legs and your socket (see first pic above).  

Seth used the template from Sarah to mark the three hole locations.  


We ended up drilling these three holes at about a 10 degree angle.  Seth made a guide with some scrap wood and used one of our larger drill bits to pre-drill them.

Then he used an 11/16 paddle bit (this was the exact size of the outer dimension of our conduit) to widen the holes.



Next, he used a glass to trace a circle and cut it out with the jigsaw.


At this stage, we mistakenly followed Sarah's tutorial and attempted to make an indentation in the center for our socket to nestle down in.  Seth also drilled a hole in the center of the circle for the threaded nipple and cord to run through.  

He sanded the circle and it was looking great until he attempted to insert the conduit legs.  It was a tight fight since he had drilled the holes to the exact measurement of the conduit and so he gently tapped them in with a rubber mallet.  And then the wood split in two.  Sad day.  

However, he realized that since we were using a harp for ours, we didn't need the indentation for our socket to sit in (the bottom part of the harp would prevent the socket from being able to nestle down into the wood).  So, he went through the whole process again minus the indented area for the socket hoping this omission would make the wood stronger and less likely to crack.

Still, despite being super careful, the wood started to crack again during the leg insertion, but he did get the legs in without it completely splitting.  To fix the crack, he used wood glue and some hose clamps.  


He let that sit overnight, gave it a light sanding to get rid of excess wood glue, attached the rubber leg tips, and spray painted it gold.


After it dries, you will need to thread your wire through the holes in your leg, up through the threaded nipple, and wire your socket.  (If you're using a harp, don't forget to place the bottom piece over the threaded nipple before wiring and attaching your socket.)

Then, attach a shade of your choosing and you're done!  (I splurged a bit on this ikat drum shade from the Young House Love collection at Shades of Light.)


I think it turned out great.  It goes well with our other nursery decor.  We only have a few things left until the nursery is complete!

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