Vintage modern map lamp

Vintage modern map lamp

Man Podger David has totally hit the nail on the head with his map lamp for this week. It’s one of those great pieces that feels vintage-y (must be the maps, which always make me think vintage for some reason). Yet it also could go very well in a modern home. David made it awesomely simple, and I know you will appreciate it. Yes, you too can build a lamp!  Read on, and don’t forget to visit other Man Podger projects as well.

I’ve long admired all the pipe-fitting shelving that’s been cropping up. But neither I nor my 1940 fixer-upper house can really pull off that cool, downtown, loft-chic look that I associate with such things.

However, I needed a lamp for my new office and I thought perhaps with a little Mod Podge I could marry my vintage obsession to the downtown style.

It turned out to be a kind of alarmingly simple project.

To make my lamp, you will need:

  • Parts: 1/2 inch galvanized pipe, 1/2 inch pipe base, reduction cap, screws lamp kit, lamp (available at any big box hardware store in the lighting area) shade, wooden base and some feet
  • Tools: Drill, screwdriver, foam brushes
  • Paper: Images of your choice
  • Mod Podge Gloss

1A PartsCut the paper you’re using for decoupaging to the size of your base.

TIP #1 If you want to paint your base and you are smarter than I am you will paint it BEFORE you decoupage it. Foresight – not my strong suit.

Using a foam brush spread a layer of Mod Podge onto the base, carefully lay your paper on top and, with moistened fingers or a brayer, gently push out any bubbles that may appear.

TIP #2: My base had a raised, curved edge so I cut the paper to be a little bit bigger and attached it. After it was dry I added another coat of Mod Podge to really stiffen it up. When that dried it was easy to go in with a sharp knife and cut around the curves.

2A EDGE CUTSet aside and allow to dry thoroughly. After it dries you can add a sealer coat of Mod Podge over the top and allow that to dry.

3A FINISHED BASEAfter the base is dry drill a hole in the center just big enough for your lamp cord to pass through. Center your base-plate over the hole and screw it in place.

4A BASE WITH PLATENow is a good time to glue on the feet – I used old knobs and Gorilla Glue but you could use anything that appealed.

Now, assemble the lamp. First, run the wire from the lamp kit up through the base and the ½ inch pipe. Connect the pipe to the base and pull the wire through the reduction cap and then attach the reduction cap to the pipe.

5ANext connect all the wiring as directed on the lamp box kit.

6A. . . this will leave you wondering (as it did me):

Really!? That’s all there is to wiring a lamp!? Why do they cost so much? Why wasn’t I told this before? Why am I just finding this out in my lamp-buying twilight years?

Anyway . . .

Your basic lamp is assembled.

In keeping with my map theme I used copies of a couple of vintage maps that I own to cover the shade. After making a template of the lamp shade, I cut out the shapes (a little bigger than the template) and modpodged the map to the shade, carefully pushing out the bubbles with my fingers.

7A LAMPSHADEAfter it dried I trimmed the edges a little bit and then hot glued some ribbon around the top and bottom as a finishing touch.

Vintage modern map lamp Vintage modern map lampIf you have any questions please don’t hesitate to ask. I will monitor the comments section and respond.


Don’t forget to visit David’s Etsy shop for more Man Podge awesomeness!

PS – David, I love it – and don’t feel bad about not painting the base first. I’ve done it before too.

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  1. InMyOwnStyle says

    I am a HUGE lover of maps – this is so do-able and unique. I love it. I especially like the way the base coordinates with the shade.

  2. Heather says

    I love this!!!!!! Would make a great gift with a larger map of a favorite vacation spot…

  3. Mandy says

    Just wondering your trick to covering cylindar/cone shapes like lampshades and flower pots. I can’t seem to get it in once piece. I saw someone in a tutorial make a template shaped like a raimbow, but wasn’t sure how she measured for it. Any tips? Just got your fb page info from my cahsier at Michaels. Coudn’t wait home to see it all!

  4. says

    Hi Mandy! I’ve tried a few methods for doing the rainbow template you are talking about. Here’s the most successful. Hold the lampshade on a piece of paper and roll it along with a pencil and trace. Do it with the top, then the bottom. I would double-check when you are done by taping it around the frame and trimming where necessary.

    So glad you found me by the way!!