All about the bases

Figuring out how to make the bases for my lamps was a key stage in the design process. I knew the bases needed to hold the lamp hardware, and I thought it would be ideal if they worked with readily available snap-in cord sets. This would make it easy to change the wiring from a pendant cord to a lamp cord. I also knew the bases needed to be made from a fairly dense material to add strength and stability. Finally, I wanted the lamp feet to leave room for the cord when the lamp is being used as a table lamp, but also be decorative when the lamp is hung “upside down” as a pendant.

After a lot of trial and error, here is the process I developed:

1. Form a metal ring around the lamp mold.
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2. Cover the bottom of the ring with metallic contact paper and position a large washer in the center. Place a piece of pvc tubing on the washer.
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3. Mix plaster wet enough to pour, but not runny.
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4. Fill the mold and let the plaster set.
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5. Remove the metal ring and pvc and then thoroughly dry the base.
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6. Trim the contact paper, sand the base and add the glass feet.
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I generally make the bases in batches as shown in the pictures, but some lamps require a custom size base due to the pattern or size of the material. Making a custom mold is fairly simple, which has allowed me to experiment with different diameters. This flexibility is particularly important when I make special orders using a customer’s fabric.

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