How to make your own river rock lamp base

Written by megan shoop
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How to make your own river rock lamp base
Rock lamps add earthy colours and textures to your decor. (river rocks image by MAXFX from

Lamps not only add warmth and light to a space, they can also tie a room together. Though designer lamps may go over budget, you can replicate your favourite lighting at home.

River rocks add an organic feel to a room with their natural textures and colours. A stacked-rock lamp base goes particularly well with slate floors, stone tables and elements like water features and potted plants.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Flat basalt or soapstone river rocks, 10 inch to 4 inch diameter
  • Drill press
  • 3/8-inch diamond drill bit
  • Protective eyewear and face mask
  • Spray bottle
  • 3/8-inch wide threading rod
  • High-speed rotary tool
  • Diamond rotary wheel
  • Epoxy glue
  • Lamp kit
  • Spray lacquer

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  1. 1

    Choose your rocks. Make sure each rock is fairly flat and fits steadily on top of the other rocks. Porous black basalt or slippery beige soapstone work well because they're soft and easy to drill through.

  2. 2

    Position each rock under your drill press, making sure the bit touches the exact centre of the stone. Put on your eyewear and face mask. Drill a 1/8-inch deep indent in your stone, then spray a little water into the dent. This lubricates the stone and cools the bit. Continue drilling and spraying this way until each stone has a hole through the centre.

  3. 3

    Stack your stones on top of each other, adjusting them so they sit steadily on top of each other. Slide the threading rod down through the holes in the stones.

  4. 4

    Lift the first rock about ½ inch up off of the rock below it. Squeeze a ring of epoxy onto the underside of the first rock and press it down into the second rock. Repeat down to the next-to-last rock. Allow the lamp base to dry overnight.

  5. 5

    Flip the lamp base over. Place the edge of your diamond wheel against the flat underside of the bottom rock. Move the wheel back and forth, cutting a channel from the base of the threading rod to the outer edge of the rock. This channel will hold your lamp plug wire.

  6. 6

    Thread the wires from your lamp kit down through the threading rod in the centre of your rock lamp base. Screw the light socket into place on top of the threading rod. Place the plug in the channel along the bottom of your last rock. Follow assembly directions carefully; each lamp kit goes together a little differently.

Tips and warnings

  • Try using a chandelier light bulb with a frosted glass chimney on top of your rock base for a vintage look. For something eco-modern, try a rattan or burlap drum shade with stripes in different shades of taupe.

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