Shantel of Pink Verbena reached out to me and asked if I’d be interested in collaborating on some DIY videos.  It sounded like fun, so I was in!  She sent over 2 projects from The $50 Home Makeover, and this was the second one I tackled the morning of the shoot.  I hadn’t made a lamp before, but felt up to the challenge.

Stacked Book Lamp

What you’ll need:

  • 3-5 vintage books
  • Clamps
  • Drill
  • 3/4″ paddle drill bit
  • Threaded lamp rod
  • Lamp kit
  • Lamp shade
  • Light bulb

I spent the night before the shoot practicing how to wire the lamp so I knew when I was doing.  Definitely worth a few extra minutes beforehand, especially for a newbie.

Okay, to start get your books out and stack them however you like.  Use 1 or 2 clamps to hold them into place.  Pull out your drill & drill bit and drill into the middle of the books.  I know it seems weird to drill into books, but hopefully you’ve picked some up from the thrift store that you weren’t planning on reading.

Before you get drill crazy and go through the entire stack, you’ll want to only go halfway through the bottom book. Why? You’ll also drill sideways from the side where the pages are facing into the middle where the hole is.  This is where the cord will come through so the lamp itself will sit flat.

Once you have a hole through your stack of books, put the lamp rod down into the books where some is still sticking out the top.  Then thread the wire through the hole and up the rod.  Attach the wire to the lamp kit (follow the kit’s instructions), add a shade & bulb, and plug it in!


Photo: Abby Murphy Photography

Now that you’ve seen the good, here’s the behind the scenes story…

Like I said, this was the second video we were shooting and the one I was most nervous about because again, I hadn’t made a lamp before and saw a lot of room for error.  As we were setting up for it, I realized I left my drill and drill bit at home, where I had been practicing with it the night before. Not a good start.

We borrowed one from a neighbor with a different bit and kept going.  Then the thunder began, so we tried to get as much in as possible before the storm hit.  I think we got to drill through one book before the rain came down and we aborted.  I was determined to get the lamp built regardless, so continued to work in the kitchen while Liz’s videos were being filmed.

The drill bit was stripped and not staying in the drill, no matter how secure it was in.  I managed to drill through 3 books before giving up on the last 2.  Then I realized the bit’s diameter was just too small for the lamp rod. Ugh.  I ended up barely getting the books on the rod and had to hand screw them on.

Once on, I wired it up and got it to turn on, but the switch didn’t work so you turned it on / off by plugging it in (I blame that one on the lamp kit).  Finally, since I didn’t have a reliable drill & bit, I didn’t drill through the side of the book  for the wire to come out, so it came out the bottom of the books and the lamp didn’t sit flat.  We used some paper straws to even out the tilt for the picture above. Oy vey.

book lamp_fail

Looks can be deceiving — but I thought everyone would like to see both sides of the project.  I would love to try to make another lamp again one day!


6 Thoughts on “Stacked Book Lamp”

Leave a Reply