DIY Wall Lamps

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Let there be light in the Shoebox! We have seriously needed it. Caveman recently whipped up some great wall lamps to supplement sub-par lighting in our tiny apartment for less than $15 apiece. The end result is both easy on the eyes and our bank account. Click through for the do-it-yourself steps to make these fun DIY wall lamps.

The Shoebox has always been a bit on the dark side, light-wise. It has four windows, but due to our basement placement the daylight that actually enters is regrettably minimal. We have one small table lamp to help the issue, but my nesting instinct demanded more light! for the next several months.

As you know, my Caveman loves any sort of hands-on project, so he jumped right into finding a budget-friendly wall lamp solution. He found this article that demonstrated the basic idea of a wall lamp using IKEA’s Valter shelf holders and a basic lamp cord set. Then he followed the steps described in this tutorial to disassemble the cord set in able to thread it through the shelf holder’s holes. Oh, and because he is so handy (and handsome) and can pretty much do anything, he also spliced an in-line switch into the cord so we don’t have to deal with plugging the lamp into the outlet every time. Whaaattttt! Yessssssss.

We hung one lamp in our main living space above our bed, and one in the kitchen. I love the bright and decorative result, but oh, people: it’s amazing what a little more brightening up can do to a space! The kitchen is so much more enjoyable to be in now; we can actually see how clean the dishes are as we wash them. It’s revolutionary.


DIY Wall Lamp

The best part about these DIY wall lamps is that they are so highly customizable. You can really do anything with them. Spice ’em up by painting the shelf holder a bright poppy red, or apply a gold overlay for a more glitzy look. Choose a crazy shade or none at all to suit your space, but I love theย au-natural look of white paper and bare wood.

If you are interested in making similar wall lamps, here are the basic instructions:

1. Acquire all the necessary parts. You’ll need the following: IKEA Hemma cord set (or something similar), IKEA Valter shelf bracket (or something similar), in-line appliance cord switch, light bulb, shade if desired.

2. Widen holes in shelf bracket, adding one more hole on angled support beam. The existing holes in the bracket are too narrow, so widen them roughly 1/2″ to fit the cord from the set. Drill a third hole (the same widened size as the other two) on the diagonal piece just below the hole closest to the wall.

3. Disassemble cord set, feed cord through holes, reassemble cord set. Follow this tutorial (click on See the Instructable to see the details on how to safely accomplish this step).

4. Splice the in-line appliance switch into cord, if desired. (Make sure you estimate where the lamp will be hung on the wall and gauge the best place on the cord to place the switch.) There should be directions on the switch package to guide you through this stage. If not, this tutorial on how to install an in-line switch looks pretty promising.

5. Hang that lamp. Mount shelf bracket onto wall in an awesome spot.

6. Finish it off. This is the fun part! Find a lamp shade you like or use a cool vintage-looking bulb to complete your project. If you choose a paper lamp shade, make sure to use a low wattage (below 25 watts) bulb. Caveman used a small LED bulb to keep the heat and wattage down, but to gleam maximum brightness.

Love light and budget-friendly DIY projects? Share this post! Got a question about the project? Comment below!


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  • Lois
    November 18, 2013

    Evelyn, I love your lamps. I have a floor lamp that I would like to replace and this would be perfect. Living in a small apartment every inch counts, as you know. Hope you don’t mind my borrowing from you. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Evelyn
      November 19, 2013

      Hi Lois, borrow away! And yes, floor lamps take up a LOT of precious space. Use those walls! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Kim
    November 23, 2013

    Caveman rocks! Yes, good lighting can really improve the quality of one’s life! I am glad for the happiness in your home. Thanks for all the effort you put into this post.

    • Evelyn
      November 23, 2013

      Hi Kim,
      Thanks for your encouragement, as always. ๐Ÿ™‚ Caveman just hung the third lamp today in the kids’ room–it will be great for low, ambient lighting for nighttime feedings and diaper changes! Hope you’re having a great Saturday.

      • Kim
        November 23, 2013

        Great! Three lights! I am having a great Sunday. I have been stringing popcorn and dried little purple plums to hang on our tree next Friday. Thanks for the “hope.”:)

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