DIY Concrete and copper pipe lamp

blogcovercopperlampI’m absolutely loving this concrete trend that is happening right now. After noticing a couple of different copper pipe lamps on Pinterest, I decided to try making my own.

It ended up being a lot easier than I had anticipated and I love the industrial feel it adds to my room.

Materials

Body:

  • Copper pipes – The length will be dependant on how tall you want your lamp to be. I used 22 inches of copper pipe
  • Copper elbows – dependant on the shape you want. I used one 90 degree elbow and two 45 degree elbows.

Base:

  • Concrete or mortar mix and enough water according to the instructions on your mix
  • an empty container – I used an ice-cream container but using something with a waxy interior is preferable
  • Furniture feet protectors (or anything you can use to raise up the base. I used wine stoppers but corks would also work really well!)

Electrical:

  • wire with plug
  • lamp holder (mine has a turn switch on it to make it easier to turn on and off)
  • Light bulb (The edison light bulbs complement this lamp well!)

Tools

  • Needle nose pliers
  • scissors
  • all purpose glue (I used amazing Goop but have heard great things about Gorilla glue)
  • toilet paper and paper towel rolls. If you don’t have this, just use paper or card stock
  • plastic wrap

cementlampmaterials

Instructions

  1. Cut your toilet paper and paper towel rolls in half and roll them into tubes. You are going to use these to test out different shapes for your lamp. You can cut the tubes shorter to change the shape by sticking them in the elbows. Keep adjusting until you find something you like.screen-shot-2016-10-20-at-2-38-55-pm
  2. Once you’re happy with the shape of your lamp, use these toilet paper rolls as a way to mark how long each of your pieces need to be and use a pipe cutter to cut them into the sizes you need. If you want yours to be exactly like mine, you’ll need four copper pieces, a 6 inch, two 5 inches and a 2 inch.measure copper pipe
  3. Take the copper pipe that is facing the bottom of your lamp and cover the end with clear plastic wrap. This will prevent any concrete from getting inside the tube while you are casting your base
  4. Grab a clean container. I’d recommend using something disposable as there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to salvage the container. If I did this again, I’d probably use something wider than my ice-cream container. It ended up being a little small for my lamp.
  5. Tape the copper pipe into place so it stays where you want it to be. Make sure the end that’s covered in clear wrap is facing down.screen-shot-2016-10-21-at-2-10-32-am
  6. Mix your concrete according to the package. I used a quick mix and did a 4 to 1 ratio. The mixed concrete had a room temperature peanut butter like consistency. Remember, if you add too much water, it will take a long time to cure, but if you don’t add enough, your base will not be as solid.mixcement
  7. Add the mixed concrete to the container. Mine was about 2 inches tall but you can customize this based on what suits your lamp best.
  8. Jiggle and shake the container a bit until your concrete settles. This will help remove any excess air bubbles. Make sure your copper pipe is standing up straight and leave it somewhere to cure/set over night. *FUN FACT! The water in the concrete isn’t actually evaporating! The water and concrete mix is going through a chemical reaction which is why we say it’s setting/curing instead of drying.
  9. Once your base is dry, gentle take it out of the container. With mine, I just cut off the ice-cream container.concrete lamp base
  10. If your base is a bit rough, you can take some sand paper and sand down the edges. If you can’t see your copper pipe through the bottom of your base, you should be able to break through that thin layer of concrete and plastic wrap.screen-shot-2016-10-20-at-2-40-21-pm
  11. Grab your wire cord and string it through the bottom of your lamp and start putting the copper pieces back together in the shape that you want.screen-shot-2016-10-20-at-2-40-30-pm
  12. String the wire through the bottom of the lamp holder and then tie a knot with the wires to prevent it from slipping out of the lamp socket.screen-shot-2016-10-20-at-2-41-41-pm
  13. To wire your lamp, read the instructions on your lamp holder and wire to make sure you understand which one is the hot wire and which one is the neutral wire.
  14. On mine, the neutral wire has ridges that you can see and feel with your finger. You want to take your needle nose pliers and make little hooks on both the hot and neutral wire.ridges on a wire to show neutral
  15. Unscrew the screws on your lamp holder but not so much that the screws come out. Find which screw on your lamp holder goes with the neutral wire. You want to take the neutral wire with the hook going clock wise and hook it on to the corresponding screw. Then screw it tightly into place.
  16. Do the same thing with the hot wire and then put your lamp holder back together. Screw on the light bulb and plug it in to make sure it works.
  17. If it works, you can take apart your copper pieces and use the glue to glue all the copper pieces together and the lamp head together.screen-shot-2016-10-21-at-2-12-37-am
  18. You’ll notice that your lamp doesn’t sit flat on the table because of the cord. Use some furniture protectors to raise the base off the ground slightly so there’s room for the cord to move around.Concrete lamp base footer on lamp
  19. And that’s it! You’re finish! Enjoy your new industrial looking concrete and copper pipe lamp!

Check out my Youtube video for step by step instructions!

If you have any questions, leave them below and I’ll try to answer them.