DIYdiy projects

diy project: bridget’s wood veneer lamp

by Grace Bonney

inspired by tord boontje, 2008 diy contest finalist bridget created this fantastic wood veneer lamp. using old lampshade parts, grommets and a shaped hole-punch she created a truly custom look that would make a perfect weekend craft project. bridget has been kind enough to share her full instructions and material list below so click here (or just click “read more” below) for the full project. [be sure to check out bridget’s etsy shop, too!]

-Veneer: sold at most hardwood stores. www.rockler.com has lots of choices. I suggest paper back veneer for more stability as a lamp shade.

-2 wood embroidery hoops, inside hoop only. Available at your local craft store

-Old lamp shade for metal parts. I like finding lamp shades in bad condition at goodwill for this, size doesn’t matter as long as it is bigger than the embroidery hoops since you can cut it down. You can also buy parts at sites like www.lampshop.com. I like the uno bridge top, as lampshop calls it, rather than the washer top which fits on a harp with a finial. Make sure you use a harp on the lamp base if you use the washer top, other wise the uno bridge top allows you to place the shade on the lamp socket and lock it on by screwing in the light bulb.

-Grommets: mine are 1/8″ and can be bought at craft stores in the scrapbook section.

-Flower Punch: for scrapbooking which can be seen at www.impressrubberstamps.com search for ‘Medium Retro Flower Punch’.

-Drill Bits
-Masking Tape
-Wood Glue
-Thincardboard or 2-ply Matt Board.


1. Cut veneer to size with exacto knife, wrap around embroidery hoops and leave about 1/2″ overlap. Tape and view with lamp to help decide on size if needed.

2. Draw design on tracing paper. Tape tracing paper over veneer and drill all the holes. I drilled holes for the stitched flowers. Drilled stem of second flowers and larger holes for petals and center. Drill stem of the third flower and the largest holes for petal and center. The center needs to be slightly larger than the 1/8 grommets. The hole size for the petals is just small that the scrapbook flower cut outs. Cup scrap-booking flower out of veneer and drill hole in center slightly larger than the 1/8 grommets.

3. Place a thick layers of paper, thin cardboard,or 2 ply matt board slighty bigger than wood veneer for shade on a table surface.

3. Cut lamp shade down to fit into wood embroidery hoop. All you need from the shade is the center ring that fits onto light bulb or harp and three metal arms branching out. Drill three holes in embroidery hoop to fit the shade arms. Place in hoop and glue with a epoxy type glue. If you are using harp and finial shade the metal piece goes on the top of shade. If you are using a uno bridge top that goes of bottom of shade. Let dry and continue to step 4.

4. Place wood glue at top and bottom veneer lengthwise edges where hoops are used to stabilize and hold the shape. Place glue on veneer at one edge, shortways. Wrap paper, cardboard or matt board and veneer around both hoops, overlap the veneer and use masking tape to tape around the paper, cardboard or matt board. Wipe excess glue on the overlap before taping to prevent the paper from being glued to shade. Make sure to tape entire overlap. You can adjust the embroidery hoop while it is all taped up, move to top edge and bottom edge. Wipe excess glue. You may be wise to have help for this step. Let dry overnight and continue to step 5

5. Unwrap shade. Add cut out flowers with grommets. Be sure to support back and follow directions on how to use grommets.

6. Stitch.

7. Place shade on lamp. I suggest using a cooler compact florescence bulb to keep veneer from splitting.

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  • I’m so glad I visited your site (linked from Apartment Therapy) and saw this before throwing out some maple vaneer from a dismantled bookshelf!

    I’m really enjoying your site. I’m a design doof, and your collection is really inspiring me!

  • I found the vase that I turned into the base at a frame store. It was the last ones they had. I have seen similar ones at floral shops and home stores.
    Thank you for all the nice comments.

  • That is a brilliant idea to have light shine out through the small punches cut for the flowers. This would be especially interesting if the room were completely dark except for this lamp being on (which perhaps it is in this picture). Well done.

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