DIY Book Lamp

3:06 PM

Book Lamp
Recently I saw a simple DIY book lamp and I HAD to make one for myself.  This was a pretty easy project that I made last night after work.  I kind of feel like I should call this my Tuesday Night Lamp since I just whipped it up one Tuesday night.

First, credit where credit is due -- there are a million book lamps online but the one from The Shabby Creek Cottage was my personal favorite and my inspiration.

My inspiration

Gina from the Shabby Creek blog did an AMAZING job on her lamp.  Here is a link to her tutorial.  I did everything she suggested with a few changes so that my lamp fits my needs.

For this project you will need:
1- small, flush mount ceiling light fixture (prices vary, mine was $7.95)
2-3 Old books (free - laying around the house)
1- Round ceiling pan   ($2.50)
1- Lamp cord with switch ($6.95)
1- Threaded Rod (prices vary from $2-4 depending on the side of the pack)
8-10 Dry Wall Screws  ($4.95/box)
Wire Stripper
Electrical tape
Dremel or box cutter
Hacksaw (or dremel with a saw blade) 
1/2 inch bit
Drop cloth (this is a messy job)

All of these items are available at your local hardware store.  In all my lamp cost about $20 to make.  Nearly 1/2 of that cost was the lighting fixture.

In case some of these items are not familiar to you, here is what you're looking for at the hardware store:

Small Flush Mount Ceiling Fixture 

Round ceiling pan

Lamp Cord with Switch

Threaded Rod

Dry Wall Screws

Everything but the screws will be found in the lighting/electrical section.  Some stores even have a lamp making/lamp repair section.  Check there first.


Cover your work area with a drop cloth or work outside.  Cutting the book cover makes a BIG mess!   Arrange the books how like.  Open the cover of the top book.  Using the drywall screws, screw the books together.  Depending on how many books you have 2-4 screws should do the job.   

Screw the books together

Make sure to add 2-3 screws to the top and 2-3 screws to the bottom of the stack.

Bottom Screws
Center the round ceiling pan on the top of the book stack.  Trace around the pan.

Trace around the pan
Using the dremel or a box cutter, cut out the opening for the pan.

Cut out the opening for the pan.
This is a slow and messy process.  Be patient and keep cutting until you have a space deep enough to hold the pan.

Hammer out a channel for the lamp wires
Using a hammer, remove one of the circles from the pan.  This is where the wires will go through the book.  Be sure to position the hole so that the wires will go through the pages of the book and not the book binding.

1/2 inch kreg bit

Working at an angle, drill a hole for the threaded rod and lamp wires. You can use any 1/2 inch bit.  I used a kreg bit to make the job easier.

Hammer in the threaded rod

Hammer the threaded rod in place.  It should be flush with the bottom on the pan.  Cut off any excess length using a hacksaw or a dremel with a saw blade.

Cut off excess threaded rod

Screw the pan in place.  Center the light fixture over the pan.  Screw the fixture to the pan with the screws provided.

Fixture on pan

Thread the lighting wires down the threaded rod.


Safety is SUPER important when you're dealing with lighting.  Be sure to follow the wiring directions exactly!

Some lighting fixtures connect to electricity with screws.

Lighting Fixture with Screws
Other Fixtures connect to electricity with wires.

Lighting Fixture with wires
If you look closely at your lamp cord you will see that one side is ribbed and the other side is smooth.

Lamp Cord

The ribbed cord connects to the silver screw or the wire with the white casing.  The smooth cord connects to the brass screw or the wire with the black casing.

If there is a green screw, connect the brass wire to the green screw.  Not all fixtures have this.

Green Screw
Following these directions will keep you from getting zapped when you remove the light bulb.  So remember:

RIBBED = Silver Screw (white casing)
SMOOTH = Brass Screw (black casing)

Strip (if necessary) and  twist the ribbed wire to the white wire.  Secure with electrical tape.
Strip (if necessary) and  twist the smooth wire to the black wire.  Secure with electrical tape.

Strip and connect wires
Tape the wires together.

Add a light bulb.
Almost done

Then add the lamp globe.

Ready to plug in
Now test your lamp and see if it works!


It's fair to say that I'm pretty obsessed with this lamp and I can't wait to build one for my husband!


There are lots of variations you can make with this lamp.  The original lamp from Shabby Creek included a basic lighting fixture and an Edison bulb.  We have children in the house so I wasn't comfortable with the idea of a bare bulb.  If you prefer a bare bulb simply purchase a porcelain (or plastic) lighting fixture.

Porcelain lighting fixture
Bare bulb fixtures come in a lot of varieties and are easy to wire.  They cost under $2/fixture so they're a nice cost savings.

Plastic light fixture

Some fixtures come with a pull cord and a plug.  These fixtures are nice if you need to charge your phone or plug in other items.

Reflect your style
There are loads of inexpensive flush mount fixtures available.  Be sure to chose something that reflects your style.

Buy clear bulbs

For the most sophisticated look, if you're using a lighting fixture that has a clear globe, be sure to use a clear light bulb!

Many thanks to our friends at Shabby Creek Cottage for the lighting inspiration!

For MORE DIY projects, click HERE!

You Might Also Like