Wednesday, January 25, 2017

DIY Modern Cement Lamp

As mentioned in last week's post, this year I'm hoping to do a monthly DIY series dedicated to the idea that good design doesn't have to come with a hefty price tag. First up? This cool modern lamp I made for $20 ($5 for the bulb, $12 for the light kit, and $20 for a 50lb bag of concrete mix that I plan on using for other projects.... if you count only the amount of cement I used for this project, the total would come to around $20). Inspiration struck when I saw a similar lamp while perusing a design site one day and thought "I could make that.".....not to mention, I've been wanting to work with concrete for a while now.
Here are my supplies, I bought a 660 Lumens 60W bulb (basically the largest round bulb I could find at Home Depot), this light kit, a bag of concrete mix (I used Rapid Set Cement All), and a cardboard mold for the concrete. If I had to do it over again, I would choose a PLASTIC mold. We were able to cut off the cardboard with a knife, but plastic would have been much easier.
 Next, I cut a hole in the lid of my container and fed the light kit cord through the hole. I used the lid on the bottom of the container, and taped around the hole the cord came through so that no concrete would come through when I poured it. 
 Next I placed tape over the top of the light kit to protect it from concrete.
 I put the whole thing into a larger container for any concrete that got out. Now, the directions to the concrete package said something vague like "add water" and that adding more water meant "less firm concrete". The first batch of concrete I mixed was "soupy"  (seen below), and that worked fine, when I needed more concrete for my mold, I made it thicker and that worked fine as don't stress about the consistency too much. Now the concrete will set fast, so you will need to work quickly, but you do have a minute or so to maneuver things and get them just the way you want. I held the light fixture while Connor poured the concrete in the cracks, and then with my finger I made sure it was level.
I let it dry, and in a couple of hours- I had a lamp! If you are intimidated by working with concrete (like I was), don't be. While dusty, it's super easy and very satisfying. I'm already scheming about what to make next with that huge bag sitting in my garage. 
I love it paired with my modern night stand, but I also love the idea of it being paired with an antique piece.