Modern Floor Lamp – Poplar and Concrete

Over the last couple years we’ve seen a lot of desk lamps, floor lamps and pendant lights and I’m sure some of my inspiration and ideas have come from seeing some of those, either online or in person.  My wife and I had a void between our sofa and chair that needed something….a table….a planter….a floor lamp….something!  So we decided on a floor lamp, and we decided that I would make it myself.

Having gotten some pretty nice results using poplar for a coffee table I decided to would make the floor lamp using poplar, and the base out of concrete.  For the lamp shade, we were walking around Target one day and saw a bunch of these wire baskets on clearance.  They came with a cloth insert, so I think they were just supposed to be storage baskets or something, but we immediately thought “lamp shade!”

The wire basket needed a little modification to accept a light socket, so a few snips with the bolt cutter and we were all set. Well, it was also green so we painted it white. Now we were all set.

The design and assembly of the poplar body was fairly simple, but required a good amount of sanding to get rid of any high points and make all the joints flush. The trickiest part was figuring out a couple of the angles.  Assembly included Gorilla brand wood glue as well as some allen screw parts for a cleaner, more finished look (as opposed to just using nuts and bolts). A Forstner bit was used to countersink the allen screws. Man, I love Forstner bits!  Finally, the wood got covered with Satin Minwax Water Based Oil-Modified Polyurethane and after a couple rounds of fine sanding and more poly, that gave it a nice smooth finish.

The base was originally going to be a different concrete casting and we used another cool bowl we found on clearance at a Target that had all these geometric angles…it was sweet. But after pouring the concrete and attaching the lamp to it, I didn’t like the size and scale of the base with the size of the lamp.  So I scrapped that one and made a flatter, wider disc-shaped form and poured the concrete into that (we had to get creative with melamine and a couple 5-gallon buckets from Lowes when it came to making a flat, wide concrete form!)

Next I fashioned an anchoring bracket to hold the lamp to the concrete base using a pipe flange, some pipe and a PVC plug (sanded smooth to look more like a nicely finished plug on the pipe). Once that was all done I just had to feed the wire through the little holes and attach the socket and plug. This had to be done carefully so we didn’t fray or pull back the chevron zig-zag cloth wrapping on the wire.

When it was all done I screwed in a light bulb and flipped the switch.  After trying several other bulbs first, I landed on a round frosted glass 40-watt LED bulb. The light from the bare bulb was soft enough to tolerate but I still wanted to diffuse it some more.  I found a cylindrical glass shade at Lowes that fit inside the cage and gave us the diffusion we were looking for.  Now it’s perfect.  And by perfect I mean perfect. Enjoy….and don’t make fun of my drawing, haha!!