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How to make a driftwood lamp base

Some of the world’s beaches are awash with driftwood, but here in the UK we seem to snap it up as soon as it lands, apart from on the more remote stretches of coastline. If you are lucky enough to find big bits of driftwood on your favourite beach, it’s nice to make something from it, because the worn and weathered look is difficult to get from any other kind of wood. You will never know the story behind your piece of driftwood, which makes it all the more mysterious and romantic. Making a lamp is a relatively simple way to display your driftwood.

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Let there be light

  1. Give your piece of wood a quick rinse under the tap and scrub with a nailbrush to remove any nasty hitchhikers that may be on it. If your bit of wood is particularly smelly use detergent to clean it, soaking it overnight if necessary. Make sure your wood is completely dry before proceeding.

  2. Saw a piece off the base of your wood if it is large and sturdy, so that it will sit flat on a table. If your driftwood is thinner and weaker, you may have to buy or find another piece of wood to use as a base and attach it to your driftwood using wood glue, screws, nails or a combination of these.

  3. Using a drill, bore a hole in the top of your lamp base so that you have a place to attach your bulb holder and feed the wire through to the bottom. Make sure the drill bit you use is the right thickness for the bulb holder and wire. If you are using smaller, thinner driftwood, you can just drill a shallow vertical hole and then hold the wire onto the back of the driftwood with staples. If you have a thick base, down which is the vertical bore hole, make another horizontal bore hole at the bottom of the base so the wire has a place to go and the lamp sits flat.

  4. Attach your electrics to the top of the lamp. You can buy these bits separately, or buy an old second-hand lamp and take it apart. It should screw into your hole on top, but you can use glue to make sure it sits perfectly. Choose a lampshade and attach it as normal.

  5. Tip

    Leave your wood for a few days in a warm room to completely dry out before working on.


    Use a cooler energy saving lightbulb to reduce fire risk.

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Things You'll Need

  • Bleach
  • Nailbrush
  • Lamp electrics
  • Glue
  • Staples
  • Lampshade

About the Author

Robert Macintosh is a full-time journalist based in Northern Ireland. He has accumulated eight years’ experience since 2005, writing for magazines, newspapers and websites in various countries. Macintosh has specialised in politics and entertainment. He has an honours degree in social anthropology, an NVQ level 4 in newspaper journalism and an AS Level in photography.

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