I’m always up for an IKEA Lamp Hack. Or any IKEA hack to be honest! The clean and simple scandi lines of their furniture is a perfect base for DIY projects. Obviously, it helps that it’s so cheap. It’s much easier taking the plunge to upcycle that plain drawer chest when you know it cost less than $30…
The IKEA TVÄRS table lamp is available for $6.99. I got a pair of them when we moved into our new house. They were meant to be place holders on our bedside tables until I found something else. I never had time to give thought to the kind of lamps I wanted though! The TVÄRS were OK-ish. Their shape reminded me of the bottom half of a spaceship. Perfect for a kid’s bedroom but for adults, not so much… When I bought them, I spray painted the legs with copper to elevate the look a tad.
IKEA TVARS downsides
The main issue with them is that they are not very stable due to being super light and they have a huge footprint. There was barely any space left for anything else on the tablet of our bedside tables. You can’t really put anything underneath, between the legs, because it’s awkward to slide your hand in every time and they fall over way too easily. But since the lamps grew on me somehow, I set out to find a way to reuse them in the house as desk lamps. Scroll down to find out how to hack the IKEA TVÄRS!
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- IKEA TVÄRS lamp
- Square wood dowels 2 x 2cm (0.79 x 0.79″)
- Leather scraps
- Wood glue
- Glue gun
- Wood clamps
- Flathead screws
- Power drill
Step 1: Prepare the lamp base
To start off, cut the square dowels to the following size:
- 10cm long (3.9″)
- 12cm long (4.7″)
- 38cm long (15″)
These pieces will make up the triangular lamp base. You can adjust the longest piece as its length will determine how high the finished lamp is. At 15″ (38cm), the height was suitable for a desk use, which was what I intended with this hack.
First, we will make the triangular base which will stabilize the base. Take the 2 smallest pieces and leave the longest aside for later. Apply wood glue to the shortest of the 2 pieces and press it on top of the other. This will result in a 12 by 12cm (4.7 by 4.7″) triangle shape. Use wood clamps and let the wood glue dry.
Step 2: Glue the leather tabs on the lampshade
When you look at the IKEA TVARS lampshade, you will notice that it was constructed so that the light bulb fixture snaps into grooves on the lampshade. The grooves are then hidden by the feet. The problem is that we are going to get rid of those feet. They’re not aesthetic in any way so no mercy! Instead, we’ll be adding leather tabs to hide those unsightly grooves.
First, rummage in your stash of leather. You might have scraps that fit the bill. You’ll only need a very small amount of leather for the tabs. First, cut three 1 inch strips (2.5cm). Round out one end of the strips with your scissors. You will need:
- 2 short strips at least 5cm (2″) long
- One longer 12cm (5″) strip
Next, glue one short tab over the grooves with your glue gun. Make sure you leave some leather hanging off the bottom rim of the base. Once the glue has cooled, fold the strap over to the inside of the lampshade and glue securely. Repeat with the other short leather tab.
With the longer leather strip, glue it on a little higher so that you only have an inch (2.5cm) hanging off the rim. Fold over and glue inside like with the other tabs.
Step 3: Cut the light bulb fixture
Now, for the fun part: the destruction. It’s kind of the DIY equivalent of demo day in renovation! We need to seriously cut into those feet. You’ll see that the light bulb fixture and feet are joined. First, cut the 3 feet straight off with your saw (I used a jigsaw). Next, cut the remaining tab on each of the 3 arms. Your finished light bulb fixture should just have 3 arms extending from the light bulb like in the picture above.
Next, place the fixture inside the lampshade and glue it on. The light bulb fixture should hold up on its own when you invert the lampshade. I used my tiny craft glue gun for this but that was not the best idea: whip out the larger one to be able to comfortably reach down into the lampshade.
Step 4: Assemble the lamp base
Your base should have dried up by now. To assemble it with the long piece of wood, start by drilling a hole in the corner like in the picture above.
Place a screw in the drilled hole and screw it tightly into the longer dowel.
Now that the base is done, you can sand it all around. Smooth the edges of each dowel for a clean look and wipe down to remove the dust when you’re finished.
Step 5: Assemble the lamp
This is the last step of this IKEA lamp hack. The base and lampshade are done and all you need to do is assemble them. To finish, place the base into the lampshade. Push a flat head screw through the long leather tab and screw it in the base post. Add another screw and repeat the step to secure the shade onto the base.
And voila, your IKEA TVARS lamp is unrecognizable! It’s a lot more stable than the original and the triangular base has a tiny footprint.