DIY / woodworking

DIY Polyhedron Prism Lamp

How do you like that for a title?  Sounds so smart right?  I must admit geometry was the only math I was any good at, but I did have to do a bit of research to pull out that title.  I wanted to call it an octagonal prism, but clearly it’s not uniform in shape, so that didn’t work.  Either way, this lamp is anything but square!


But I can’t take all the credit for this awesome creation. Leave it to a modern-minded teenager to push me to create such a thing as a “Polyhedron Prism Lamp.”

She came to me months ago with this lamp from West Elm as inspiration, along with 2 scraps of wood we hoarded kept from the building of our pergola at our previous home and said, “Mom, can you make me one of these?”

West Elm

Here’s what you will need for this project.

  • Scrap Pieces of 4 x 6 lumber, cedar is what was used
  • Clamps
  • Miter Saw
  • Forstner bit and Drill
  • Lamp Kit
  • Wood Finish
  • Edison Light Bulb
  • Spray paint, optional

My intention was to fulfill her wishes and do complete knock-off of the West Elm lamp. But I realized after making some rudimentary calculations that our scrap pieces of 4 x6 cedar lumber were not the right shape to pull off the original design.  So I played around with several random, kind of organic ideas before I settled on the final profile.


The bottom one was the winner obviously, but as you can see we had some difficulty with drilling the hole for the light kit.

So I backed up and started over one more time. I need to stress with utmost clarity…



I won’t go into the gory details, but just trust me on this one. If you make all of your angled cuts first, you will not have enough wood to clamp as you drill the hole with the Forstner, flat bottom hole bit.

Please excuse the blurry action shot of this bad boy in action.


This is what the Forstner bit looks like when it’s not spinning wildly.  Here is a better detail shot from our Modern Barn Door  build.


You will also want to turn the block over, re-clamp and drill your hole at the base of the block for the exit of the cord.  I didn’t get a photo of that in action, but this is what it looks like eventually. As you can see, the 2 inch bit is slightly oversized for the socket, but the top nut of the light kit does a fine job of hiding the hole later.


After you have your holes drilled, you can begin to work on your polyhedron.  Start by cutting straight down the piece of wood to create an irregular octagon.


After you have all the sides cut, set your miter saw to a 10 degree angle.


Following the shape you already cut, trim off about 1/4 of an inch at the 10 degree angle. Repeat this around the shape.  If you are into being rather precise, you might mark a measurement about 2 inches from the bottom of the wood as your guide for where you angled cut should stop.  I just eyeballed it. 

With your wood cut, clean off sawdust and give it a good rub down with your favorite clear finish.


To electrify our lamp, we used a swag light kit from World Market. Or you can order one from Amazon here. (Affiliate links provided for your convenience.)


If you desire, spray paint the exposed pieces of the kit with gold spray paint.  Be sure to stuff the inside of the socket with paper to keep the paint from getting inside.


Once all your pieces are dry, you will need to glue the top ring to the wooden base. Once the glue is set, then screw the light socket into the ring and the cord out through the hole in the back.


This kit worked really well for this style of lamp except for the extremely long cord, but it was inexpensive and easily accessible.


You’ll also need a vintage Edison lightbulb to get the full effect.


And now you have a super smart looking Polyhedron Prism Lamp. Do you think Edison would be proud?


My teenage daughter is happy and that’s all that matters to me. Her room is finally coming along. Be sure to follow me with your favorite social media, so you don’t miss a post!


Sharing here: A to Z Homestories: Tutorials & Tips, Work it Wednesday, That DIY Party, Think and Make Thursday
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  • Daniela
    February 28, 2015 at 3:39 pm

    This is so cool! I actually like your lamp better than the West Elm one. It looks much more rustic and elegant.

  • Karisa | Petite Modern Life
    March 11, 2015 at 5:12 pm

    I love this! Thank you for the amazing tutorial! I’m going to feature it on my blog for Think & Make Thursday!

    • Leslie
      March 11, 2015 at 6:24 pm

      Thanks, Karisa! I always admire your features!!

  • Erlene
    March 13, 2015 at 11:41 am

    This is so cool! I didn’t realize there were large drill bits like that! Totally going to get one of those to make this. Thanks for sharing your tutorial.

  • Leslie
    March 13, 2015 at 8:42 pm

    Erlene, Yes they are pretty awesome. Just be careful. They are sharp and can be a bit jumpy with not enough pressure or a wobbly piece of wood.

  • Julie (Being Home)
    March 22, 2015 at 9:26 pm

    Yep, your title drew me in. 😉 But, what a great looking lamp! Yes, Edison would approve. Geesh, now I want to add this to my long list of stuff to DIY. Thank you for sharing your tutorial.

    • Leslie
      March 22, 2015 at 10:17 pm

      Thank you for your comment! So glad you think Edison would approve! Let me know if you make your own!
      Hope to have you following me in my DIY’s through your favorite social media!

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