There are so many books that are simply thrown away as they have very little resale value, so follow our easy step by step instructions and see how easy it is to create your own upcycled lampshade by recycling your old books!
In this Step by step project we will show you how to upcycle an old book and turn it into a beautifully unique and very effective lampshade. You could add in your own energy efficient, low heat light source, or follow our steps and build your own energy efficient LED light circuit.
Please note that a jigsaw is used to create this project and you must either know someone who can operate one for you or be able to operate one yourself. Necessary caution advised! We will also be working with a soldering iron to wire the LEDs together.
Read through all the instructions first before starting this beautiful recycling craft.
To being this project, open your book and start at the front. Take the very first page, and bring the outer edge into the middle, folding it in half.
Now you want to fold the next page into a triangle. You will do this by taking both the top and bottom corners towards each other and towards the centre of the book. This will create a triangle shape with the point extending towards the outside of the book.
Turn the triangular page over, and then do another straight fold down the centre of the next page. Keep going, alternating the pages between a straight fold and a triangular fold.
Once you have folded every page in the old book, close the book and mark out a semi-circle starting from the spine. Once you are happy with the shape of the semi circle, use your jigsaw to cut along and remove the semi-circle. This is to create a space where we can mount our lighting.
After making a few of these lamps, we actually now find it easier to cut the circle out first, before folding any of the pages.
Fold the outside covers of the book in half, as you did with the first page. Place the book on your masonite square, and then mark it to size, the open size of the book should be the same as that of the masonite board. Trim off the excess masonite board using your jigsaw if need be.
Place the book on the masonite square, and then trace the circle onto the board. Then draw another circle approximately 5mm in. The inner circle is where we will be placing our mirror, and the larger circle is to allow some room for the wiring on our LEDs.
Now we need to get our LED lights ready. Take your LEDs and spread the legs slightly apart.
Bend the legs of the LEDs so that they are almost at a right angle to the head of the LED itself, and then bend the last 3 - 4mm of the leg at a right angle again.
Check the polarity of the LEDs so each one is set + to – (looking inside the LED you will see a bigger side, the positive +, and a smaller side which is the negative -). Place them in sequence, ensuring that they follow the pattern or they will not work. Using four LEDs in this manner will make up a 12V circit. Shift the LEDs to one side of your work surface.
Now we need to stick our mirror down in the centre. Squeeze some glue onto the inner circle, and then place the mirror pieces down. Before you press the corner pieces down, you need to work quickly to get the LEDs into place.
Before the glue dries, at each corner slide the legs of an LED underneath the mirror. Apply more glue if necessary. Remember to make sure that you set each LED light in sequence, positive to negative (+ to -).
Leave to dry for 2 - 3hrs, and then bend the head of the LED down to face the mirror.
Using a soldering iron, solder a long length of wire to the first leg on your first LED. Then solder a short piece of wire from the second leg of the first LED, to the first leg of the second LED. Repeat this process until the LEDs are all joined together in sequence, positive to negative.
Once you have soldered the LEDs together using short lengths of wire, solder another long length of wire to the last leg of your last LED.
Make sure the shorter wires that join the LEDs are all within the traced circle, and that the longer wires go down the centre of the board where the spine of the book will be. Use glue to hold it in place if necessary.
Now squeeze glue over the remaining sections of the masonite board.
Carefully line up the one half on the book and press it into place on the masonite board. Then open the book, and carefully glue down the other side.
Leave to dry. If you need to, you can always place a heavy book on the inside covers of the glued down book to press it onto the board while the glue dries.
Once the glue is dry, take a look at the book. If the lamp doesn't stand on its own and the front looks a bit empty, you can bulk this out and add volume by cutting rectangular strips of paper and inserting them between each page.
Taking a 12 volt 200mA power supply, test the LEDs to ensure you have soldered correctly. If you are not sure of the polarity when you test and the LEDs do not light up, then swap the wires around from your power supply and they should now light up.
If your LEDs light up, then all that's left to do is find the perfect spot for your recycled, upcycled book lamp!