Make a Map Lamp

MapLamp_frontWe found some great geological maps at Second Use Building Materials. They have such interesting colors and patterns – they are cool enough to frame. Just for fun, we made one into a cylindrical table lamp.

The idea was to make a cylinder and slide it over an existing small table lamp – easy, with no wiring required. We used embroidery hoops on the top/bottom edges and eyelets on the back to hold the cylinder’s shape. We used the bottom eyelet to pass the cord through, enabling the bottom edge to sit flat.

It was relatively quick to make, this is how we did it:

  • Determined size of map when rolled into cylinder and bought 2 6″ embroidery hoops and plastic sheeting used for quilt stencils (both at local fabric store, Pacific Fabrics).
  • Spray-mounted (Super 77) the plastic sheeting and attached it to the back of the map.
  • Trimmed the map/plastic to size.
  • Attached the embroidery hoops.
  • Securing the cylinder with a rubber band, marked the positioning for the 3 eyelets by poking a pin through the layers.
  • Removed the hoops, hole punched the eyelet holes, using the pin holes a  guide.
  • Attached the hoops and set the eyelets. This was the hardest part because we were working with a cylinder. There probably is a better way, and if we make another one and figure out an easier method, we will share it with you. (or if you have ideas, let us know!)
  • To thread the lamp cord through the eyelet, we had to remove the plug and the in-line switch and re-attach it them, so we ended up doing a tiny bit of wiring, but it was pretty quick.
  • With a shade that is made with paper, it would be safest to use a bulb that is no larger than 40 watts.

See more of Heidi’s artwork at Old Stuff. New Stories.

12 thoughts on “Make a Map Lamp

  1. Hi Ladies, I recently found your blog and I am constantly inspired. I tried doing something like this a little while ago and was so frustrated because it was too flimsy. I can see by your list I used the wrong materials. I am so happy to see this that I am christening you all THORA -Goddess of the Hammer! Thank you for sharing!

    • Thanks Susan, we’ve never been called “goddesses” before!

      The plastic backing makes it rigid enough to stand, but it still leaves a bulgy opening in the back, which is the reason for the eyelets. I guess a person could try 3 hoops and skip the eyelets, as they are kind of awkward to put on. One last tip: after you spray the plastic to the backing, it is good to really press/burnish the two layers together to prevent them from coming apart, especially at the edges.

      Good luck and let us know if you make one again!

  2. WOW, I’m always thing, WHAT will they do next and then BAM…..every project is so creative. I’m am PINNING because I just love maps too. It almost reminds me of those motion lamps you use to see around that are so coveted you have to be rich to own one. LOVE it, and it looks awesome lit.

    • We didn’t glue the edge, that probably would’ve helped. Not sure what sort of glue would work in that situation though – paper that is spray mounted to plastic. Another option is paper fasteners/brads – that might be simpler than eyelets, although you wouldn’t get a hole for the cord to thread through. Let us know if you try gluing!

  3. This is a really really cool lamp! I want to do this for my kids because its so safe (they can’t “reach” in and grab the lights and if it gets knocked over … I’ve just had my second, so it might be awhile before I’m able to make one but I’ve favorited this page and shared on my FB blog page!

    • Hi Heather, thanks for your nice feedback! When we had our second daughter I remember looking out the windows and thinking “I will never ever have the time/energy to wash the windows ever again”. Now she’s 12, and I still haven’t washed them. Maybe I should make her do it. Good luck with your second, and good luck with your lamp! Let us know if you get to it. Thanks for stopping by! Love your Bucket Barfbag List!

  4. Your design’s are awesome. Thank you for sharing and I want to share information about Sonneman Lights, they offer an affordable wide selection of designer and contemporary products for bathroom lighting, floor lights, lamp modern, wall lights, ceiling lights, and table lamps all at great prices.

    • Very nice, just visited your link and am impressed with the clean and artistic design of your fixtures! Thank you for visiting and letting us know about Sonneman lights, a resource we are glad to have.

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