Last Updated on December 24, 2015 by Kristi Linauer
After spending about three hours searching online for lamps to go on my new scalloped console table, I finally decided that I just needed to make my own. Since the table is soooooo curvy, I wanted the lamps to be very linear with nothing curved or round on the entire lamp.
I found a couple of lamps that interested me as far as the style, but the colors, and of course the prices, were all wrong for my room and my budget considering that I really want two lamps for my table.
The main lamp that caught my eye was this Chevron Column Table Lamp from Shades of Light.
That lamp retails for $345.00. There’s no way I could fit two lamps into my budget, not to mention that the color is all wrong. And I’m not crazy about the chevron pattern either. But the overall style is just what I wanted.
So I set off to make my own, using that style as my inspiration, but putting my own twist on things. Instead of a chevron pattern, I opted for a herringbone pattern. And of course, I used colors that actually go in my living room/entryway. So far, I’m about 75% finished with one lamp base, which looks like this at this point…
I’ve only done two sides with the herringbone pattern, so I have two more sides to go on this one, and then all four sides on the other lamp base. It’s a very time-consuming project, but it’s not difficult at all, and I personally think the results will be spectacular when they’re finished!
So let me back up and show you how I got to this point.
I started by cutting four pieces out of scrap MDF (left over from my scalloped console table) to 19.5 inches by 5 inches using my circular saw.
I made a mistake in cutting these, because I actually wanted my lamp bases to be 5 inches square. That means that I should have cut these to 4 3/8 inches wide. But sometimes my mind has a hard time with numbers. 😀 So I ended up with lamp bases that are a bit thicker than I had wanted.
Using wood glue and a nail gun, I attached all of the pieces together to form a square. Just remember that when you’re using four pieces of equal width, and you want to form a square, you have to offset them like this.
With the four pieces attached, the lamp base looked like this.
Then I used my circular saw to cut a piece of MDF to cover the top, and attached it with wood glue and a nail gun.
Then I filled all of the cracks and nail holes with wood filler, let it dry completely, and sanded the whole thing down so that the sides and top were perfectly smooth. And just like I do on all of my wood/MDF projects, I used sandpaper to round all of the edges very slightly for a bit of a softer look.
Next I gave the lamp bases two coats of paint. I didn’t even bother to prime them first. The paint I used was a metallic paint from Home Depot called Cast Bronze.
While that paint was drying, I got out my watercolor paper, seven colors of acrylic paints that I chose based on my drapery fabric, a cup of water, and a small craft brush, and got busy making the “watercolor” paper that would eventually become the tiles.
There’s no real art to this at all. I just randomly squirted colors onto the paper, and dragged my slightly wet (not sopping wet!) brush through it. I tried not to brush over it too much, or the colors would blend together and become muddy. If that happened, I just squirted a bit more paint, and brushed over it again. I tried to make the colors as random as possible.
I did three sheets of 18″ x 24″ watercolor paper.
Those took several hours to dry (I left mine overnight to dry), and then I used a razor blade and a straight edge to cut them into 3/4-inch strips.
Of course, if you use watercolor paper that’s small enough to fit into a paper cutter, that would be easier. But my paper cutter is only 12 inches, so this paper wouldn’t fit. I used a transparent ruler (actually my bias tape ruler) to measure from the edge 3/4 inch, and then put the metal framing square right up against it. Then removed the transparent ruler to cut the paper with a razor blade. It went pretty fast, but it would have been much faster with a paper cutter.
Then I cut the strips into 2-inch pieces.
With all of the paper pieces cut, I prepared the lamp base by marking off 1/4-inch on the edge with painters tape. I did this because I wanted a thin solid brown border on each side that wasn’t covered with “tiles.”
And then I used Mod Podge to adhere the pieces in a herringbone pattern.
With one side completely covered in the tiles, it looked like this…
So then I used a straight edge and a razor blade to trim off the paper right at the inside edge of the painters tape, and then removed the painters tape to reveal the thin brown border all the way around.
Cutting all of the “tiles” is definitely the most time-consuming part of this whole project, and if I had to do it again, I’d definitely make a point of using smaller paper that would fit into my paper cutter. But instead, I used what I had on hand. So far, the only cost for these lamp bases is the amount I spent on the paint, which is about $10. Not too bad! There will be other costs involved before they’re finished, like the actual electric lamp parts, lamp shades, etc. But so far, these have been quite inexpensive, especially when compared to the inspiration lamp!
Hopefully I can get these finished today and show you the finished lamps tomorrow, but something tells me that I might need an extra day of cutting and gluing paper. 🙂
EDIT: The lamps are finished! Click here to see Part 2 of this project, as well as the finished lamps.
Addicted 2 Decorating is where I share my DIY and decorating journey as I remodel and decorate the 1948 fixer upper that my husband, Matt, and I bought in 2013. Matt has M.S. and is unable to do physical work, so I do the majority of the work on the house by myself. You can learn more about me here.
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