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.

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.

3. Mix plaster wet enough to pour, but not runny.

4. Fill the mold and let the plaster set.

5. Remove the metal ring and pvc and then thoroughly dry the base.

6. Trim the contact paper, sand the base and add the glass feet.

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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