With the ever growing tile options available, this DIY lamp project opens the door to many stylish variations. I choose to work with a rustic, unsealed natural stone as the final home for this lamp will be a masculine office setting.
It's actually rather simple to build and feel free to modify the scale and proportions as you desire. I felt the rather squatty design created the modern aesthetic I was seeking.
The basic tile work used in this lamp make it a great starter project.
The dimensions of your lamp will be dictated to some degree by the size of your lampshade. I would suggest finding a shade before beginning to build. The width of your base should never be wider than the shade.
Cut pieces of board to the lamp base dimensions subtracting out the depth of the tile. The square box built for this project was 11" wide by 5.5" deep and 11" tall.
Build your lamp base using the Ryobi AirStrike. Start with one side and work your way around until the box is formed.
Cut and nail the inside top of your base to become your "lid." For this lamp the lid is 9.75" by 4". Drill a hole in the top of your lid to accommodate the thread of the lamp kit.
Determine the depth of the tile selected for your tile lamp. The natural stone used varied in depth, but I used the thickest point of 1/2 inch as my depth. This measurement is the amount of overhang you will have on each side of the front and the back of the lamp. By doing this you hide the seams from the front view.
Set up your Ryobi Tile saw with water in the base. Here's a safety tip: Since you are working with water and electricity, if you are using an extension cord, place the cord and your connection into a dry bucket. This will keep water from accidentally dampening the connection during the changing of water, etc.
Cut the front and back pieces of your tile to desired size including the overhang. For the lamp shown this was 12". If your tile has overhang for seaming together, you'll want to make a straight cut to remove those pieces.
Cut the pieces of tile to fit the sides of the box. If you are using mortar instead of Simple Mat, you may choose to add about 1/8 to 1/4 of an inch to allow for the additional depth added by the mortar.
Dry fit your pieces around the lamp.
Cut a hole or cut a piece of the tile to make space in the back of your lamp base for the cord. Use pliers to hold small pieces of tile if necessary.
Mark and drill a hole in the base to accommodate the cord.
For a clean finish, you will likely need to cut off the pieces of visible mesh. Use a sharp blade along the edge of the tile.
Mix up your mortar. For this small project, I found 2 (8 oz) cups of mortar to about 1 cup water was plenty. The consistency of your mortar should be a little bit thicker than peanut butter.
Using a notched trowel, spread one side of the box with mortar and apply tiles.
As an extra precaution, and to insure the tile fits snugly against the wooden base, secure a bungie cord around the base during dry time; OR
You may also choose to use a product called Simple Mat that is like an extra large tile tape. Simply cut pieces to fit the box, working on one side at a time.
If your tile requires grout, do so the next day; OR right away if using Simple Mat.
Even if no grout is necessary for your chosen tile, you may still find you need to fill some small gaps where the tiles meet on the sides or along the top. For this I used a small amount of tile grout caulk, matching the overall color of the tile.
Paint the top of your base to match the overall color of your tile. Then,wire your lamp according to lamp kit instructions.
The extension from the lamp base to the lamp kit was rather small in this design, only 3/4", but I still chose to cover the threaded rod with a piece of aluminum pipe painted flat black.
Cut a piece of wood to fit the bottom of your lamp. This one was 13" wide by 7" deep. I painted the base flat black and followed with a super high gloss top coat. Attach with wood glue.
Add lamp shade and turn on your lamp!