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When I first came across the Lampada A Stelo project by Keung Caputo in the book DIY Furniture: A Step-By-Step Guide, I knew that it would be a great Saturday project. All I’d need were a few pieces of lumbar, a standard light kit and some woodworking tools that I have readily accessible… easy! Little did I know that the original design for the oversized floor lamp was actually commissioned to be a part of the easy-to-assemble furniture exhibition in 2009. In other words, the Lampada A Stelo project was in many ways the perfect DIY project for me to do. The result of my weekend is a modern, elevated-take on a floor lamp that could work for both outdoor and indoor areas. Keep reading for the full tutorial on how to make my version of the Lampada A Stelo.
Before we begin, here are a few of my thoughts on the book. DIY Furniture: A Step-By-Step Guide is set up as an amalgamation of global art projects in industrial design. If you’re interested in how to build a traditional rocking chair, this is the wrong book for you. This is a DIY furniture book that lives in the contemporary space where furniture is an exploration into the temporary, ready-made and mobile.
The designer duo behind the Lampada A Stelo project is Sarah Keung and Lovis Caputo. Zürich-based creators, these two like to incorporate mundane materials to create interesting architectural designs. A perfect fit among the other 29 project-designers in the 2011-released do-it-yourself guidebook, DIY Furniture: A Step-By-Step Guide is unique to say the least. From lighting to seating to storage, this book has it all. With clear material/tool lists, precise project blueprints and several color photographs, the author, Christopher Stuart, makes the project guide stress-free. The only drawback is that many of the projects use expensive materials or require specialized tools that many diy-ers do not have access to. All in all, I say this book is worth a look since the techniques and the designs are interesting and eclectic.
What You’ll Need
While I am attracted to the overall lines and shape of the original project, I wanted to adjust the design slightly so that it would better fit my budget and style. Fully knowing that I wanted to use distressed wood in a sleeker shape, I re-drew the lamp shape and then headed to the local Denton Re-Store. There, in a large pile of wood, I picked out a sturdy 78″ 2×2 wood board that’s perfect for the base, and then I found 3 smaller boards for the legs and top. Since the wood is not in the best condition you want to be extra careful that the parts you find are the right size. For all four pieces, I paid $2. While the book recommends you use Baltic Birch plywood, the distressed finish of these boards will add some character while also saving you a few bucks. Before I got started in constructing the lamp, I picked up a standard light kit and LED lightbulb. You can get these at your local hardware store, lighting store or Swedish furniture store. As the book notes, be sure to pick up a light kit with the socket attached and a flexible cord of at least 15ft.
Now that wood has been bought, it’s time to cut it to size. The book instructions do not call for any special angled cuts for where the lamp meets the floor. However, I decided to do parallel 15 degree angle cuts on the top and bottom of the base using a miter saw to avoid using the bolt and wing nut hardware that’s suggested. This way, the base will be in full contact with the floor as well as with the overhang top board. I noticed that the wood board I bought for the legs had exposed rusty nails, so I ended up using just the wood from the center of the board. Depending on how high or low you would like the legs to intersect with the base, you’ll need to adjust the angle at the bottom so that they rest flat on your floor. Don’t trash the angled cut-offs from the legs as you will need one to add stability in between the legs.
Next comes marking out the two notches that will hold the light kit cord. Find and mark the center on each end, and cut out a .5″ x 3″ and a .5″ x .5″ notch using the reciprocating saw. It’s best to go carefully here as the weathered wood might splinter under the pressure.
Sanding and sealing the pieces are optional and not mentioned in the book, but I think it can really pull the project together. I ended up using a dark Jacobean stain to bump up the richness of the wood and to add a modern feel to the overall look. Once the stain has dried, you can begin attaching the top and legs to the base. For the top board, center it on one end of the base about 3″ from the end (side with the smaller notch) and drill in two wood screws. After that, prop the lamp up (with a friend) and match up the legs to the side of the base. Drill in two screws to secure it, and repeat the same process for the other leg. Be sure to add in one of the angled cut-offs from earlier so it’s flush to the floor and provides strength for the legs. You can screw this part in or use some strong glue as the legs will provide the necessary pressure to keep this piece in place.
Now that the construction has been completed, it’s time to assemble the lighting feature on the lamp. Slide the socket part of the cord down into the larger notch, run it back down the smaller notch and then run it all the way down the lamp. Tie a loose knot around the lamp’s center, and let the cord flow down the back. With a neat decorative bulb you are ready to plug it in.
For under $20, I was able to make a cool and modern floor lamp with inspiration from the designers behind DIY Furniture. A testament to the self-made furniture mentality that DIY Furniture encapsulates, this take on the Lampada A Stelo was not only easy-to-assemble but also allowed my creativity to take over for a bit. Perfect behind a reading chair or next to an office desk, this floor lamp is sure to make a statement. If you are interested in purchasing the book that inspired my design, you can buy DIY Furniture: A Step-By-Step Guide from a local bookstore.
Are you a fan of this DIY Lampada A Stelo? Let me know if you make your own!