A number of articles and videos have been produced about making lamp bases from books. Most of those methods are labor-intensive, involve messy gluing and often leave crinkled edges in the book pages.
The method shown here (Fig. 1) uses no glue, only a few simple tools and takes little time. After a making just a few of these bases, it now takes me only about 20 minutes to make a complete lamp that includes wiring.
Assembly is simplified by using timesaving hardware (Fig. 2). Auger-tipped screws like the GRK brand pieces shown here, which cut their own paths into materials, don’t require pilot holes. By using all screws, no glue is needed and the final base is much stronger.
A top-mounted flange threaded for lamp pipe eliminates the difficult task of drilling a pipe hole through all the books.
Begin by choosing books that are undamaged, clean, dry and odor-free. Books with related titles add interest Average-size books work best: about 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick and generally 6 by 9 inches, up to 8-12 inches overall. The method shown here works best for bases made from 3-4 books within those sizes.
Stacks of roughly similar-sized books usually look best. Joining very small or very large books can appear awkward and may be difficult to properly join together. Books can be arranged in a staggered, informal stack or perfectly squared.
Screw length is determined by book sizes. Use a screw length that passes completely through the bottom two books and generally at least half way through the third book.
Assuming books are 1 to 1 1/2 inches thick, a 3-inch screw works well to join the bottom three of most four-book stacks. When attaching the fourth, or top, book, use a screw at least 2.5 times the book’s thickness (a 2 1/2-inch screw for a 1-inch book).
Screws should be located no closer than 1 inch to any edge of any book in the stack. Locating screws too close to the edges may cause wrinkling along page edges.
Use dome-headed auger-tipped cabinet screws for bases and cover their heads with felt pads (Fig. 3). Join the single top book to the bottom section with coarse-threaded drywall screws (their flat heads allow pages to lay flat against the cover).
After passing the lamp cord through the slot and flange and through the lamp pipe, wire the bulb socket on top the pipe according to manufacturer’s instructions. Use standard lengths of smooth lamp pipe with about 1/2 inch of threading on each end for a professional, finished look.