Add a touch of western nostalgia to any room by assembling a cowboy boot lamp. This style of lamp is a welcome addition to a child's bedroom, playroom or in a rustic-style living room or den. Choose a boot with a family history or create some history around the lamp with a well-chosen story of its origins. Constructing the cowboy boot lamp is a quick process of drilling, pouring and assembling.
Find the Boot
Decide what style of boot works for the lamp you have in mind: tall or short, worn, semi-worn or new. The boot can be a child's boot or an adult's boot. It can have an interesting color, pattern or style. Search resale and second-hand shops, yard sales and closets for the right cowboy boot. All you need is one boot, but buy the pair in case of a mishap. Clean the chosen cowboy boot by wiping it down with a damp cloth and removing dirt and debris inside and out. You can give the boot a semi-mat look with the application of a neutral shoe polish.
Choose a Shade
Choosing a shade means matching a shade shape and size with the base, in this case the boot. You can purchase shades ready-made or custom-ordered, or you can create one as a do-it-yourself project. In any case, follow one simple rule: Choose a shade with a bottom diameter that is larger than the leg of the boot. A shade with the same or smaller dimension will direct all the light into the boot and not around it. A taller boot, oddly enough, can handle a smaller shade, but it isn't necessary to go small. The shape can be rectangular, square or round. A hard-back paper shade that has whip-stitched edges creates a western look. Take the boot when shopping for the shade. Make sure that the fitting on the shade (the part that attaches to the lamp) matches the lamp kit.
Assembling the Lamp
Purchase a lamp kit that contains a lamp pipe or purchase them separately. You can find kits at arts and craft stores, home supply stores, lamp shops and home decorating stores. Locate an electric drill and buy some plaster of paris. Start by drilling a hole through the bottom of the boot in order to place the lamp pipe. The lamp pipe will need to sit straight up through the leg of the boot. Most cowboy boots have metal shanks in the sole; drill alongside the metal shank and not through it. Slip the lamp pipe up from the bottom of the boot. Mix the plaster of paris and pour it into the boot for stability. Avoid pouring the plaster into the pipe by placing a piece of masking tape over the pipe opening. Fill the boot but stop about an inch or two from the lowest point from the top. Allow the plaster to harden and then assemble the lamp kit parts according to the packages instructions. Add the shade.
Plaster of Paris
Plaster of paris hardens quickly and is not easily removed. Any surface where plaster has hardened and then been removed rarely looks the same as it originally did. Mix and use it in an area where this is not an issue. Work on top of a plastic tarp or newspaper if necessary. Keep a damp rag or sponge close at hand and a small bowl or cup of water. Use a funnel to direct the flow of the plaster into the boot. Ask someone to help with the pouring of the plaster. Keep in mind that the pipe needs to be kept straight and will have to be adjusted as the pouring happens. Do not pour plaster of Paris down a drain. Place the leftover, wet plaster in a container — think paste board boxes, plastic jugs, anything ready for the trash that will not leak — and allow it to dry before throwing it away.