How To Make A DIY Tripod Lamp

I told y’all about our Tripod that we got last week, and now we finally have a finished product of it! Turning it into a lamp was about the easiest project we have done in months. To refresh your memory, here is what it looked like when we first got it:

We loved it so much, but weren’t crazy about the color, so that was the first item up to change. We simply lightly sanded the wood, and used a Minwax stain: Dark Walnut. For the sanding, we didn’t go too agressive because we wanted a lot of the character to show through, so we even ended up leaving a little bit of the orange on there! Since the tripod had been painted previously, and wasn’t raw wood, the stain had to sit awhile for it to soak in fully. We ended up doing three coats in some areas, where it was necessary.

Now to make it into a lamp, instead of a simple tripod! This particular tripod made it about as easy as possible, with having a screw-on top.

The tools and pieces we used were:
1. A Lamp Kit from HD
2. 2 extended poles (this will be used to add height to the lamp, this is not necessary as the lamp kit comes with a small pole)
3. Extra washers and nuts (kit from HD)
4. 10″ Lamp Harp
5. Drill with 1/2″ drill bit. (We originally purchased a drill bit for metal but didn’t need it and used a normal drill bit).

Excuse the blue photo. I was at work when J took the photo, and instead of him changing the setting he repeatedly yelled at the camera “why are you taking blue photos!?!” I had to teach him that when in doubt-turn it to Auto!

First- we simply screwed the top off, and drilled a hole with a 1/2 in drill bit that fit the lamp kit:

Next, you insert the pole that comes in that comes with the extended poles. These are hollow for the wires to be fed through.

Next, put on the washer, lock washer, and nut. Tighten these to the inside of the lamp top.

Next, install the nut and screw down to the top of the lamp top. This will secure the pole since there are now washers and nuts on both sides of the tripod top. For the top of the pole install the washer, lock washer, and nut in the same order as before. Screw these down a few inches and then install the base of the harp and the bottom of the light fixture. Screw those down until they are tight against the washers. At the end it should look this this:

Next feed the wires through the pole from the bottom.

Pull the wire out through the top

Loosen the screws on the mid section of the light fixture, this is what you will attach the wires to.

Separate the wires by pulling them apart. Tie them in a knot.

Next wrap one wire around each of the loosened screwed. To do this make the exposed end of the wire (remove some of the wire’s plastic coating if you need more wire) and wrap it in a backwards ? shape. Hook this to the skinny part of the screw, with the curve of the wire going clockwise. Then tighten the screws clockwise to secure the wires. With this kit it doesn’t matter what wire is connected to which screw.

Next pull the wire tight, and insert the lamp fixture mid-section into the fixture base.

Pull tight and add the light fixture top by insert it into the base and twisting.

Install the top piece of the harp and now that the kit is all put together, its time to install it on the tripod!

Here she is all put together:

For the top of the lamp we needed some sort of cap, and Home Depot only had about two options..we went with the only ‘decent’ one..gotta love the random topper;)

Hope you guys like the tripod lamp! We think it turned out so fun! Heres a breakdown of the cost:

Tripod- $65

Lamp kit- $10

Harp- $5


Extra washers-$2


Shade-On sale at Marshalls-$6

Totaling $91. Not the cheapest DIY project, but not bad considering the shipping alone for the tripod was $25. And, in stores they sell for $300 {for new} and up to $1,000 {for vintage}. We will take ours, please and thank you!


P.S. Obviously this goes without saying but make sure your lamp is not plugged in while you are working with the wires. Also be careful when plugging in for the first time since if something was done incorrectly it could be dangerous. So be careful when you dealing with electricity.
PS- I linked this up to my favorite parties {here}


  1. says

    Great job! You can’t make everything for $3. You will love this forever. The thing on the top is a “finial.” Start looking for them at garage sales because lamp making is in your future. Ann

  2. Treelo36 says

    I like it but the lamp shade against your striped wall kind of gets lost. Maybe a light grey or a pop of color would make it really stand out. Still you guys did an amazing DIY project!

  3. says

    Thanks so much everyone! Glad you enjoy it too!
    Nutbird- thanks for the tip. I will be on the look out!
    Treelo36- We agree. That will be the shade that we use, but we will probably recover it eventually.

    Good luck on finding your own tripods ladies!

  4. says

    I LOVE it!! I’m in love with tripod lamps, and yours is perfect! Great call on staining the wood a little darker-it was the perfect touch!

    And your “how to” tutorial was very clear! Crossing my fingers I run across a tripod!

  5. says

    Just came across this post when searching how to do this! My father-in-law gave us his old surveyor’s tripod (both hubby and FIL are surveyor’s). We have the top part (the scope) on our dresser as decoration but haven’t done anything with the tripod base- am now planning to make a lamp with it!!

  6. Anonymous says

    Your knot tied in the wiring is not correct. Please refer to lamp making section to find out the correct and safest way to tie this knot. There is a particular name for it. Always be safe. Thank you.

  7. Anonymous says

    The lamp is great. Just a suggestion, maybe use a clear or brown cord and “hide it along one of the legs after it is done and you decide where to plug it in. That way you will have enough slack.


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