diy project: kate’s cork lamps

ever since i saw one on a bedside table in domino magazine, i have been in love with and searching for vintage cork lamps. they are hard to find though, and often pretty expensive, so i finally decided to try to make one! i was looking for bases that had a nice modern shape, and surprisingly i found them both at ikea, in the form of a garden pot (upside down) and two cutlery drying caddies taped together! you could really use any base you wanted, as long as you can drill a hole in the top for the lamp kit. i am really happy with the bare cork right now, but i think if i ever get bored with it i could paint some stripes on it to liven it up…i hope you enjoy this one; clearly i have lamps on the brain! click here for the full post (or just click “read more” below) and happy crafting! –kate

full instructions after the jump

Kate’s Cork Lamps

What You’ll Need:

1. lamp wiring kit (these are found at any hardware store)
2. lampshade attachment (these are in the same section in the hardware store)
3. cork (this could be in a roll or in tiles, as long as they can bend easily…pick the cork that has a texture you like)
4. hot glue
5. drill and drill bits
6. scissors or exacto blade
7. base for lamp ( I used two of Ikea’s Ordning cutlery caddies that I duct taped together. The smaller one is Ikea’s Bladet pot.)
8. pliers


1. Follow the instructions on the lamp wiring kit to put the socket kit together. You can screw the bottom pieces together and thread the wire through and attach the socket later.

2. If your lamp base needs a hole in the top and on the side, drill a hole in the center of the top and near the bottom of the base for the wire to poke through. For the cutlery caddies I used pliers to pry the center hole on the bottom to be a bit wider so that the lamp nipple could fit through it.

3. Measure out your cork for the sides of the lamp and cut them out. I used one 12″ x 12″ tile and approximately 5″ of a second tile. If you are using thinner cork (from a roll), consider using two layers of cork so you can push your pins in more easily. If you’re using a pot that you cannot drill through, cut your cork a little bit taller than the pot so that the pot will be lifted off the table surface a little, and you can cut a notch out of that extra inch of cork so the wire can poke out. This will ensure your lamp is level.

4. Measure where your wire is coming out the bottom and cut a small hole in the cork for the wire to poke through once it on the lamp base.

5. Trace a the top of your lamp base onto a piece of cork and cut out the circle. Find the center of that circle and cut out a small hole for your lamp nipple to fit through.

6. Carefully glue the cork around your base, wrapping it around from front to back. There will be a seam in the back of the lamp, but it is not too noticeable.

7. Once the cork is on, poke the wire through the hole in the cork, up through the lamp base to the top hole. Use the pliers to pull it through and out the top of the lamp.

8. Glue the cork round to the top of your lamp, remembering to feed the wire through it and then glue it down.

9. Screw the lamp parts onto the top of the lamp base, pulling the wire through and wiring it to the socket as directed on the package. Tighten everything.

10. Add a light bulb and screw your lampshade on.


  1. Monica says:

    That’s incredible! I love it!

  2. Kristan says:

    Wow, VERY cute! (And I love the shade of green.) I didn’t even think about tacking stuff to it…

  3. katy says:

    Sooo functional and cute! Love this DIY!!!

  4. Elizabeth says:

    genius! i love the natural color and texture. thanks!

  5. I remember seeing this in Jessie Randall’s home & loved it then! This is such a great DIY project!

  6. Mischa says:

    What a great idea! I love it!

  7. kira says:

    what a great idea!!!

  8. Karen says:

    Creative! I also like the shade! Where did you get it?

  9. Kirsten says:

    Great idea! Where by chance did you get the hip green lampshade?

  10. Bridget says:

    oh man i so need that for my office!

  11. Lisa says:

    Very cute lamp! Any info on the white sea urchin lidded dish, which grabbed me by the throat?? Thank you!

  12. Deebo says:

    if you wanted to go for a glossier look you could paint the cork with elmers glue. works like a charm, dries clear, & would dress it up nicely. thats what i think at least. itd look like the soles on a pair of birkenstocks. slick. :)

  13. Kate says:

    Hi everyone! Thanks for your feedback!

    The green lampshade and the sea urchin dish are from anthropologie a while back. The lampshade was on sale, but they may still have the urchin dish…

  14. I LOVE LOVE LOVE the lamp shade – both the color and texture!

  15. ava says:

    what a cute idea!

  16. I ADORE that lamp. I’ve been on a DIY kick recently, and I think I’ll be giving this a shot. Thanks, Kate!

  17. Lauren says:

    this is really awesome! thanks dudes.

  18. Abi says:

    This is amazing – I’m normally scared witless by DIY projects involving drills but this is one I might just have to try.

  19. Betsy K. says:

    unbelievably, i was just thinking of doing this to a lamp i have. thanks for the diy motivation!

  20. Jo says:

    I have been trying to find a cork lamp since that Domino article, too. I love what you’ve created.

    Thanks, Kate!

  21. magda says:

    i loooooooooove the idea! im going to ikea today! thank you!

  22. Ummelbanat says:

    WOW…this is really creative…thanks!!

  23. Laura says:

    Where did you get the cork? I’m looking for a variety of tiles or sheets to resurface a dresser.

  24. this is amazing…i would love to know where to get cork as well.

  25. Debbie says:

    How do you care for the cork on the lamp? Do I oil with vegetable oil, mineral oil or something else to keep the cork from drying out?

  26. Sven says:

    Very nice – very creative. Thanks.

  27. Jennie says:

    Love the lamps. I’m a fan of Hotel Oregon too!

  28. Nadia says:

    Love it!

  29. Debbie says:

    How do I care for the cork on the lamp? Do I oil with vegetable oil, mineral oil or something else to keep the cork from drying out?
    Please reply back. Thank you

    1. amya says:

      Debbie – You should just dust the cork. :)
      Thanks, Amy

  30. Anthony says:

    So creative lamp design, i want to know what the material lamp is it?


Design*Sponge reserves the right to restrict comments that do not contribute constructively to the conversation at hand, contain profanity, personal attacks, hate speech or seek to promote a personal or unrelated business. Our goal is to create a safe space where everyone (commenters, subjects of posts and moderators) feels comfortable to speak. Please treat others the way you would like to be treated and be willing to take responsibility for the impact your words may have on others. Disagreement, differences of opinion and heated discussion are welcome, but comments that do not seek to have a mature and constructive dialogue will not be published. We moderate all comments with great care and do not delete any lightly. Please note that our team (writers, moderators and guests) deserve the same right to speak and respond as you do, and your comments may be responded to or disagreed with. These guidelines help us maintain a safe space and work toward our goal of connecting with and learning from each other.