DIY Salvaged Wood Lighting Project

04.12.13 By //
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Is it just me or do any of you folks have those projects that haunt you… plague ridden with problems from the start? This was one of those projects for me, but luckily it was only because we were in the middle of a move and I didn't have the proper tools I truly needed to complete this project with ease. 

I can't stress how much the 'right' tools are the make and break of a project, the true determining factor of a project's ultimate success or utter failure, outside of the more obvious potential design flaws that are a definite possibility with some of my hair brained ideas. What can I say, I'm a dreamer, and some of my creative endeavors speak volumes to that fact. This was not one of those failed whimsical projects, but it could easily have gone more smoothly and so we shall just look at this as the crash test dummy to your quick and fast DIY project and count ourselves lucky that someone had to take the bullet on that one and that it wasn't you! Yahoo!

When Wayfair and Hometalk challenged me to create something using this bad boy, I actually jumped at the chance because a) it speaks to my inner Macgyver persona and b) I kind of needed a light fixture in my family room. Would you believe I didn't notice that there wasn't one when we moved in? Yep, I'm that gal.. the oblivious one sitting in the dark… in her own family room, eek!

The challenge also included the caveat that whichever item was chosen needed to be made over using one of three themes: black and white, rope, or geometric. I actually chose two of the three themes being geometric and black and white, and obviously took some liberty with the 'white' portion of that combo…

Anyhoo, would you like to know how to make one for yourself? Yes? Ok then read on my friends.. read on…


  • 1 – 4×6 (Lumber) at 20″ or so… (this can be to your desired height)
  • Saw (or you can have your lumber supply cut this to size for you)
  • Deran Lamp Shade
  • Lamp Kit
  • Drill
  • 11/16″ Spade Bit
  • Sanding Supplies and Sander
  • Duct Tape (in color of your choice)
  • Paint

Cut your lamp base (lumber) to size and create an X shape, from corner to corner, to designate the center of the post. Using your spade bit, drill a hole into the center of the top of your post. 

Drill a second hole about 4 or 5″ from the top on what will be the back of your lamp base.This will be the exit point for your cord.


Sand your base well and begin taping the cord from your lighting kit. You will want to work in small sections so the tape is manageable and I think it's easiest to work vertically with this so you aren't wrapping the tape for days on end. 

Once your length of cord is wrapped up in a pretty little package, so to speak, it's time to paint your base and wire your lamp! 

To paint with a nice looking wash that isn't too contrived seeming, first paint with a layer of water in the designated area then use a bit of watered down paint and layer until you achieve your desired result. You can see below that I didn't drown my lamp base, I simply gave it a minimal coating of water. I wanted a bit of gradation so as I layered I also varied the height of the paint.

When your paint has dried completely you can wire your lamp! This part was tricky and I used teasers to help me collect my wires and pull them out through the top. Once you pull them through, follow the directions on your lamp kit and they should go a bit like you see in the images below. 

  • 1. Pull through your base
  • 2. Thread through bottom portion that is supposed to screw into your existing lamp base (which in this case doesn't exist).
  • 3. Tie the wires into a fancy schmancy knot according to the kit
  • 4. Wrap designated wires around the appropriate screw (silver or gold) and secure.
  • 5. Fasten the part with the switch over the top of the wires, then lock down the gold cover on top. 

All that's left at this point is to add the bulb, test that baby out and add your lamp shade. Unless of course you want to alter your lamp shade, in which case I highly recommend you use fabric and cover rather than paint, but of course I didn't do that… womp, womp, womp. 

It turned out rather nicely, after 207 coats of paint for the shade, don't you think? 

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