Popsicle stick lamps can be intricately detailed works of art. The designs range and are based upon the personal creativity of the architect. The more skilled the architect, the more ingenious the lamp design. Table lamps and stick-style lamps are the easiest for beginner architects to make. A table lamp can be made much faster and does not require a lamp shade, as it resembles a lantern. The stick style lamp, on the other hand, is much more detailed and requires a lampshade in addition to the lamp base.
Table Lamp Base
Decide what dimensions the lamp base will have, the easiest dimensions would be for an 8-inch-by-8-inch square. The square base can be elaborated on in future projects and become an octagonal base. Begin the base by cutting a piece of ¾-inch plywood down to an 8-inch-by-8-inch square. Sand the finished square. Decide which side of the square will be the bottom, then use craft glue and eight Popsicle sticks to create a diamond pattern around the center of the square (2 sticks per side). Glue three to four layers of popsicle sticks on the diamond and let it dry completely. The diamond pattern will become the legs of the lamp. Drill a hole in the center of it that will be large enough to fit the lamp-kit pipe and securely hold it in place (usually a 5/8-inch drill bit will work). Use a handheld router on one side to make a channel for the outlet cord to fit in and extend it to the outside edge of the base. Insert the pipe, the socket, wiring and bulb.
Building the Lamp
On the opposite side of the plywood base, use a stick ruler to mark a pencil border that is the same width as the ruler (about an inch). Number the sides of the square lightly with a pencil. The border should be long enough for two Popsicle sticks to fit length-wise on each side. Glue each Popsicle stick to the base. When gluing the sticks on the second and fourth sides, double the thickness of the sticks. On the second layer double the thickness of the sticks on the first and third sides. Repeat the same layering as was done on the first two layers until the bulb is about three to four layers below the top of the lamp.
Translucent rice or shoji paper can be glued to the inside of the Popsicle sticks to create the look of a lantern. The finished lamp also can be painted or sprayed with a clear protective varnish, but remove the electrical components before doing it. Don't varnish or paint the Popsicle sticks before gluing them because they won't adhere as easily.
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