How to make a wall lamp with a shelf . Today I’m going to show you how I made these beautiful wall sconces with nothing more than a drill and a few hand tools. I came up with this design for wall sconces as a way to add more lighting and end tables in my living room without taking up any floor space. Now I also wanted to make them using simple materials that you could find at the hardware store or online, and also just using simple tools like a drill and a handsaw. It took a lot of tinkering and experimenting, but here’s a quick look at how I did it. I built each part of the lamp separately to make things easier, starting with the lamp base.
First I cut two embroidery hoops to make semicircles. Then I cut square wood dowels into pieces using a miter box and saw. I glued the longer dowel pieces on the foam board first and let that dry. And then glued the smaller dowel pieces, waited for them to dry, and then glued the embroidery hoops using bar clamps to hold them in place until the glue dried. I used a utility knife to cut out the base and then sanded the edges. There’s many different lamp kits that you could use with this project, but I had these pre-wired lamp kits already, so I decided to use them. I cut out a piece of foam board big enough to let the plug through. Drilled a pilot hole to attach the light kit. Then cut a hole in the wood dowel at the back wide enough to let the cord pass through. With all the cutouts made, it’s easy to attach the light kit and run the cord through to the back before gluing the base to another piece of foam board to complete the base structure. I used two-inch iron on wood edging to finish the sides of the base and then used three quarter inch edging to finish the top and bottom of the base, making a staggered pattern. Once the base was covered, I gave a quick sanding to smooth out the edges, reattached the light kit, and glued a four inch embroidery ring onto it. And that will be used to secure the lamp shade.
How to make a wall lamp with a shelf
To make the shade, I used flexible chopping mats that I cut to the width of nine inches. Then I formed the shade around a four inch embroidery hoop, sealing the seam in place with double-sided tape. Then I glued the embroidery hoop to the edge. I experimented with a couple of options to finish the shades. For the first one, I used a wallpaper remnant with a beautiful texture that reminds me of the beach. For a more finished look, I attached wood edging to the bottom of the shade. And to fill in the gaps, I used spackling. The wallpaper gives a really nice soft glow when the lamp is on. For option two, I experimented with mica fragments, or flakes, and Mod Podge. I applied some Mod Podge and then sprinkled on the flakes using a brush to stick them onto the shade. I let that dry and then repeated the process to fill in the gaps. I also added poster board on the inside to diffuse the light. It gives a really nice glow and lets a bit more light through than the other version. Now onto the next step, which is making the shelf. I built it the same way I made the lamp base, but this time using one by two furring strips with the foam board. I finished one side using wood edging just like the lamp base. And for the top I used mica flakes, covering the entire surface with a thick coat.
To protect the surface, I used a pour-on high gloss finish. I had never used this product before, so I followed the instructions on the package and it turned out way better than I expected. To complete my wall sconce, I needed three pine boards for the back. And that’s to attach everything together. One for the top, one for the bottom, and one in the middle. The back piece that will connect to the lamp base needs to have an opening cut. That’s to let the cord of the light kit pass through. It’s going to be hidden so it doesn’t need to be pretty. The nice thing about these wall sconces is that you can easily change up the back pieces to make completely different looking lamps. Like these lamps here that I made when I was experimenting with having the shade facing up and not having a shelf at all. And no matter which configuration you choose, putting the lamp together will be pretty much the same. I screwed the back piece to the lamp base, drilling a pilot hole first.
Then I attached the shelf to its back piece the same way. To finish the back, I glued on three quarter inch square dowels and I used painters tape to hold them in place while the glue dried. Next I glued quarter inch prime moldings at the edges of the middle back board and attached the lamp base and the shelf to the molding. I first drilled pilot holes to prevent the wood from splitting. The last thing to finish the back was to glue on more three quarter inch square dowels.
And then I add two key holes to hang the lamp. Having two makes it more stable for the shelf. To protect the wood and give a softer look, I applied a couple of coats of semi-transparent stain from BEHR in a color called pinto white. The last step to finish the lamp was to glue the shade to the lamp base. I recommend only using LED light bulbs like these for this lamp because of the narrow shape. They don’t produce a lot of heat and they use less energy that incandescent light bulbs, so it’ll save you money in the long run. Now it is a bit difficult to get to the switch here because of the type of lamp kit that I’m using. But I ended up running my cables behind the wall panel so that I could plug them into an outlet that’s controlled by a light switch. These wall sconces turned out to be the perfect lighting solution for my small living room. And they were a lot of fun to make, too. If you want to make your own version, I have lots more information on this project on my website, engineeryourspace.com. And that includes a list of everything you need, a template to follow that you can download, and lots of extra tips that will make building the lamp even easier.