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The Dark Knight DIY Desk Lamp – Make Any Shape Lamp With Plywood

The Dark Knight DIY Desk Lamp - Make Any Shape Lamp With Plywood

The Dark Knight DIY Desk Lamp - Make Any Shape Lamp With Plywood

Plywood can be cut into any shape that you can think of. And I liked the idea of having an angular desk lamp – shaped a bit like Batman’s, The Dark Knight Tumbler.

While plywood can be shaped to make the lamp stand, concrete is easy to use and can be shaped into a base. Then all that is left is a strip of LED lights – I got mine at IKEA.

The Dark Knight DIY Desk Lamp - Make Any Shape Lamp With Plywood - Supplies

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TOOLS

  • Jigsaw

The one I have cost $25 from IKEA and is ideal for cutting different shapes from plywood

MATERIALS AND SUPPLIES

  • Plywood

I used 3/4 inch thick plywood

  • LED Light

The one I used is the basic DIODER light from IKEA. You can also get strips of flexible LED lights from Amazon.com if you want to create a more curved shaped lamp.

  • Concrete and Rubber Gloves

I just used a normal bag of concrete, and had another bag of sand. You can also use Quikrete Concrete Mix which is already mixed – so all you need to do is add water.

  • Wood Glue
  • Spray Paint

This is if you want to paint your lamp – mine is black.

  • Clamps

I cut out 3 sheets of plywood and glued them together – so they needed to be clamped

INSTRUCTIONS

STEP 1: Creating a template

There is no real science here. I knew I wanted an angular lamp, a bit like Batman’s Tumbler. So I doodled it out until I got decent shape. Then I started drawing it to scale – changing the angles and lengths until it looked right. Here are 2 things to keep in mind when creating your own template:

1) Make sure that where your LEDs will go, will be high enough off the ground to be a good light source. Too low and you won’t get much light out of the lamp. Too high (if it is a desk lamp) and the direct view of the LEDs can be blinding and off putting.

2) The bottom of my template, the base, will be stuck in cement. So the angled shape is to help it stay secured in the cement. Cut your plywood so the base has some parts sticking out to keep it secure in the cement.

The Dark Knight DIY Desk Lamp - Make Any Shape Lamp With Plywood - Step #1 The template

STEP 2: Cutting the plywood

I used tape to stick the template onto the plywood, then traced it, and cut it. I wanted a thick lamp so I cut two pieces which will be glued together.

The Dark Knight DIY Desk Lamp - Make Any Shape Lamp With Plywood - Step #2 Cutting the plywood

The Dark Knight DIY Desk Lamp - Make Any Shape Lamp With Plywood - Step #2 Cutting the plywood

STEP 3: The middle piece

I wanted there to be a middle section where the LED lights could sit inside – hidden away. So I took my template and cut a 1cm off from the underside. Then made the cut from plywood.

The Dark Knight DIY Desk Lamp - Make Any Shape Lamp With Plywood - Step #3 The middle piece

The Dark Knight DIY Desk Lamp - Make Any Shape Lamp With Plywood - Step #3 The middle piece

STEP 4: Glueing the pieces together

Take the wood glue and spread it across the plywood. The block of plywood will then need to be clamped down until the glue dries – which takes 30 minutes.

The Dark Knight DIY Desk Lamp - Make Any Shape Lamp With Plywood - Step #4 Glueing the plywood

The Dark Knight DIY Desk Lamp - Make Any Shape Lamp With Plywood - Step #4 Glueing the plywood

STEP 5: Turning it black

Using an IKEA bag, I placed the block of plywood on top of a piece of scrap plywood and spray painted it black. 2 coats were applied to all sides.

The Dark Knight DIY Desk Lamp - Make Any Shape Lamp With Plywood - Step #5 Spray painting

STEP 6: Creating the box for the cement base

This is another place where you get to play around to get the shape that you want. I took a piece of paper and traced the bottom of the lamp base onto it. I then added 1 inch to all of the sides. Then I folded the paper up to get the height of the box I wanted.

After cutting this cross shape out, I then minus 1cm from all of the corner edges and drew a line from the base to create an angle.

The Dark Knight DIY Desk Lamp - Make Any Shape Lamp With Plywood - Step #6 Creating the template for the cement base

The Dark Knight DIY Desk Lamp - Make Any Shape Lamp With Plywood - Step #6 Creating the template for the cement base

STEP 7: Cutting out the cement box aka the formwork

The box template was traced onto a thick piece of cardboard. You going to need to use thick cardboard since the cement will want to bulge out. Then cut out the template.

Next, I used a box cutter and went along the inside lines – not all the way through. This scores the cardboard creating clean groves to fold the cardboard.

The Dark Knight DIY Desk Lamp - Make Any Shape Lamp With Plywood - Step #7 Cutting out the base template

The Dark Knight DIY Desk Lamp - Make Any Shape Lamp With Plywood - Step #7 Cutting out the base template

STEP 8: Waterproofing the cardboard

Tape the inside section of the box to waterproof it.

The Dark Knight DIY Desk Lamp - Make Any Shape Lamp With Plywood - Step #8 Waterproofing the cardboard

STEP 9: Taping the box together

You want to make sure that you tape the sides together well – so that it holds together when the cement gets poured in.

The Dark Knight DIY Desk Lamp - Make Any Shape Lamp With Plywood - Step #9 Taping the box together

STEP 10: Mixing the conrete

Wear rubber gloves for this next step. I’ve had cement burns while building in the Philippines, and it hurts.

Follow the directions on your concrete bag – whether you need to mix in sand and water or if you just mix in water. I cut the top of a water bottle to help me scoop up the concrete powder and it was later used when pouring the cement into the box.

The Dark Knight DIY Desk Lamp - Make Any Shape Lamp With Plywood - Step #10 Mixing the concrete

The Dark Knight DIY Desk Lamp - Make Any Shape Lamp With Plywood - Step #10 Mixing the concrete

STEP 11: Pouring the floor

I poured in a layer that was 1/2inch to 1inch first, to create a bottom layer. Shake the cardboard box around a bit to flatten out the cement.

The Dark Knight DIY Desk Lamp - Make Any Shape Lamp With Plywood - Step #11 Pouring the floor

STEP 12: Inserting the lamp stand

Now that there is a bottom layer, the lamp stand can be put inside of the box. I used a paint tin and some scrap pieces of wood to hold up the lamp.

The Dark Knight DIY Desk Lamp - Make Any Shape Lamp With Plywood - Step #12 Inserting the lamp stand

STEP 13: Pouring the cement

As you pour in the cement, take a thin stick and poke the cement all the way around. This helps release the air bubbles inside. And once you have poured in the cement to the top, use your finger to tap on the sides of the cardboard box – this also helps with the air bubbles.

The Dark Knight DIY Desk Lamp - Make Any Shape Lamp With Plywood - Step #13 Pouring the cement

STEP 14: Let it dry

I left it to dry for a day and a half before removing the cardboard box.

The Dark Knight DIY Desk Lamp - Make Any Shape Lamp With Plywood - Step #14 Letting it dry

The Dark Knight DIY Desk Lamp - Make Any Shape Lamp With Plywood - Step #14 The cement base

STEP 15: Respraying

The plywood got a bit dirty from the cement pouring. So I taped up the cement base and spray painted it again.

The Dark Knight DIY Desk Lamp - Make Any Shape Lamp With Plywood - Step #15 Repainting

The Dark Knight DIY Desk Lamp - Make Any Shape Lamp With Plywood - Step #15 Repainting

STEP 16: Adding the LED lights

The last step was supergluing the LED light strip into the groove.

The Dark Knight DIY Desk Lamp - Make Any Shape Lamp With Plywood - Step #16 Fitting the IKEA LED lights

The Dark Knight DIY Desk Lamp - Make Any Shape Lamp With Plywood

The Dark Knight DIY Desk Lamp - Make Any Shape Lamp With Plywood

The Dark Knight DIY Desk Lamp - Make Any Shape Lamp With Plywood

The Dark Knight DIY Desk Lamp - Make Any Shape Lamp With Plywood

The Dark Knight DIY Desk Lamp - Make Any Shape Lamp With Plywood

Email me at jacob@hometreeatlas.com with photos if you make your own, or if you have any questions.

For more DIY projects and ideas, visit The Mill @ Home Tree Atlas

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January 22, 2016 in Made By HtA

One Response to The Dark Knight DIY Desk Lamp – Make Any Shape Lamp With Plywood

  1. Steph February 7, 2016 at 2:45 pm #

    Very cool! Not terribly difficult and it looks great.

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