I challenged myself to make some budget lighting and it doesn't get much more budget than this.
The whole lamp cost me less than £5 or $6.5 to make.
I'm going to show you how I made it with only an off cut of log, a glass Christmas bauble and a set of LED string lights.
Follow along and let's see how I made it, it's so simple and yet so effective.
Step 1: Find Some Logs
Have a forage out in your nearest wilderness, raid the log pile or go to your local timber merchant's (that's what I did) and select some off cuts.
You need to make certain you log or offcut has two parallel, flat sides, other than that its up to you, choose any weird and wonderful shape you can find.
I was lucky enough to find some live edge offcuts that still had some moss on them!! Lovely!
Step 2: Sand the Top and Bottom
Now, take a sanding block or power sander and ensure the top and bottom of the log are smooth and flat.
Decide which way up you want the log to sit - the log will form the base of your lamp so select the prettiest or most interesting aspect and remember which way round you want It to be.
Step 3: Mark Out Space for the Battery Packs
The battery packs for the light strings will sit in this recess which will ensure that your lamp sits neatly on the table.
I drew around my battery packs and measured how thick they were with a set of digital callipers. These measurements determine how large your recess needs to be.
Step 4: Cut Out the Recess for the Battery Packs
In this step you need to make a shallow recess in to the bottom side of your log.
I used a router to cut out the recess. I then used a hammer and chisel to tidy up the corners and checked that the packs sat nicely in the recess I had cut. Perfect!
Note: You don't have to cut a recess in to the lamp base if you don't feel able to use a router or chisel, you can simply hide the battery pack behind the lamp when you display it.
Step 5: Marking Out the Hole for the Bauble
Take your bauble and place it where you feel it looks best on top of the log off cut.
Then take a pencil and draw around the 'neck' of the bauble.
You need to use a spade bit or forstner bit attachment on a drill to remove the material. I guess you could also use a stepped drill bit too, but I don't have one.
Keep the size of the bit as close to the size of your bauble neck as possible, you want it to be snug but not tight to allow for wood expansion.
Take your time and keep testing the fit of the bauble as you drill until it sits snugly in the hole.
You don't want the fit to be too tight because if the wood contracts it could shatter the bauble.
You can lessen the chance of this by using a plastic bauble.
Step 6: Drilling a Channel for the String Lights
The led light strings need to pass up from the bottom of the lamp in to the bauble which will later be glued in place.
Use a drill with a large enough bit to make a channel that will allow the led strings to pass through easily. I used an 8mm drill bit because I wanted enough room to be able to push two sets of strings through the channel.
Then paint the bottom of the lamp base with dark wood stain. This step isn't strictly necessary but I think that if you have some stain on hand and have time, then it makes the lamp seem a little more 'finished', especially if you are making these as gifts.
Step 7: Glue on the Bauble
In this step, you need to hot glue the bauble neck in to the hole you cleared earlier with the spade bit.
You could use a two part epoxy here or even super glue.
I used hot glue because it is flexible, bonds quickly and can be easily removed should the bauble break and need to be replaced.
Step 8: Testing the Lights
Test your lights and then gently feed the strings up through the hole in the base of the log and push them in to the bauble.
They will naturally curl and twist around each other to fill the space in the bauble.
You could use any coloured lights you wish. I used two strings because I felt that I wanted my lights to really brighten up the areas where I would sit them.
Step 9: Secure the Wires and Battery Packs
When you have finished feeding the wires in to the bauble, simply secure the spare section of wire (the section without any LED's on it) to the bottom of the recess you cut out with some hot glue and then when dry, glue the battery packs in too.
Step 10: This Little Light of Mine..
Now it's simply a matter of finding a dark corner or two and setting these beauties in place.
You can add foam feet or even use upholstery pins in each corner to raise the lamp from its standing place if you wish.
Have a go making one, but I warn you, they are addictive!!
If you want to see the build in more detail, check out my Rustic Log Lamp video over on YouTube.