All lamps have a base, be it a table lamp or a standing lamp. Well, there are hanging lamps, but….maybe later. I make my own lamp bases and I also use purchased materials for them. In the first photo, my model Tracie is sitting amongst some great items for table lamps. These are all wooden furniture feet. Click on the image to enlarge it and get a better look. Starting on the left, you see two legs that are the same shape, but the one in front has a polymer clay exterior baked on, and the identical one just behind it is raw untreated wood. I could paint it, or apply polymer clay, or stain it with wood stain for a natural look. The next one, with the dowel poking up from the top is covered in polymer clay canes and baked. On Tracie’s left are two more great little lamp shapes make of wood, except these two come with a “tenon” built into them which usually goes up into the furniture frame, if we were using it for its intended purpose as a furniture leg. I would probably cut the tenon off if I turned them into doll lamps, but I could also just add the dowel directly into the tendon. These sizes are great for larger dolls. Tracie is 14 inches tall and looks a little bit lost in a forest of SD doll lamp bases.
You can also make lamps for smaller dolls completely out of polymer clay and then drill the hole for the dowel and glue it in. That way, you can create exactly the shape you want, even a very modern looking lamp. You could make a tall rectangular shape and cover it in something metallic for a modern look, or a cylinder and wrap it in fabric. Go wild! The idea is that we want a stable base with a dowel coming out of the center of the top. If you’re making the whole thing out of polymer clay, you don’t even need a drill to make the hole for the dowel. Insert the dowel before you bake the clay to create the space for it, then bake, and insert and glue after it cools.
On top of the dowel you’ll see a round of plexiglass that I cut on my bandsaw. No bandsaw? No problem! I would suggest using translucent polymer to make that shape. You want it translucent so the light from the lamp will show through. I’ve attached my plexiglass round to the dowel with an upholstery nail, but a thumb tack will do quite nicely, or just attach it with superglue. Click on the photo to see the hot glue that I’ve (messily) applied to the edge. I’ve found that this helps keep the shades from slipping around. If you’ve used polymer to make your round, you might not need this step. The shade will sit on this clear/translucent round, but first we’ll add some small lights.
These lights were purchased at a Michael’s store and I’ve also seen them on line. They’re submersible LED lights and approximately one inch in diameter. I’m going to use four of them, two pointed “up”, and positioned across from each other, and two pointed “down”. This gives an even distribution of light. Look closely at the final photo and you can see, about a third of the way up the shade, where the round of plexiglass meets the shade. I’ll talk more about this in my post on shade making. All of the proportions and dimensions for this project will depend on the size of lamp you have in mind. The best way to achieve your vision is to draw it, to scale, on paper. I usually only use my electric doll lamps for my work, but was surprised how well these worked and the nice quality of the light.
I hope you enjoyed this description of how I did it and would love to know how your efforts turn out. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me, either by leaving a comment here or at my Etsy shop. Thanks for taking a look!
After writing this, I’m envisioning a circular or rectangular base that’s tall and fairly slender…..and beaded!! Can’t you just see the light shinning off the beads? WhooHoo!!