How To Make A Cholla Cactus Table Lamp

27 June 2017
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A cholla is a shrubby cactus that is native to the southwestern U.S. and Mexico. When cut and dried, a cholla cactus can be used to make a decorative household item such as a base for a table lamp. To make a cholla cactus table lamp, you will need a lamp kit, a brass tube of equal length to the cholla cactus, clear acrylic resin, a light bulb, and assorted hardware to attach all lamp parts together. All of these lamp components can be readily obtained in a hardware store. Here is a method to make a table lamp from a cholla cactus: 

Prepare The Cholla Cactus

Choose a cholla cactus with an interesting shape and cut off the roots and the top portion. Remove all spines and fibers on the cactus and allow to completely dry for several months. Use a rotary tool or table saw to create a flat base and top on the cholla cactus. Finish both ends of the dried cholla cactus with wood-working files and sandpaper to create smooth edges. Measure the final length of the cholla cactus lamp base.  

Create a Lamp Base:

Make a flat wood base for your cholla lamp out of two-inch plywood. Shape the wood base in an organic shape that complements the shape of the cholla cactus. Drill a hole in the middle of the wood base that is wide enough to hold the electrical cord and connection plug from your lamp kit. Smooth the edges of the lamp base with wood-working files and sandpaper. For a finished look, bevel the top edge of the lamp base. Apply several coats of clear acrylic resin to lamp base and allow each coat to dry completely between applications.  

Attach the Cholla Cactus To The Base:    

Attach the base of the cholla cactus to the flat wood base with metal L brackets on the inside of the cactus. Use wood screws that are long enough to go through the L brackets and into the cholla cactus. Stain the wood screws and metal L brackets with metal stain and seal with acrylic resin. 

Attach The Brass Tube:  

Screw a lock nut onto the bottom of the lamp base to hold the base of the brass tube. Insert the brass tube into the lamp base and measure to make sure that it is the perfect length to go through the cholla cactus and screw into the base of the lamp kit. 

Attach The Lamp Kit:  

Screw the lamp kit onto the top of the brass tube that goes through the cholla cactus. Thread the electrical wire from the bottom of the lamp kit through the brass tube and out the bottom of the lamp base. Attach a rubber grommet to the base of the lamp to hold the electrical cord in place. Screw in a light bulb into the lamp kit. 

Attach A Lampshade:  Purchase a lampshade that is deep enough to cover a light bulb and the top of the lamp kit that will hold the light bulb. Choose a plain or textured lampshade that blends well with the color of the cholla cactus lamp base. Attach the lampshade to the top of the lamp kit with a decorative finial. 

Plug in and turn on your cholla table lamp. Try different bulbs and wattages for your table lamp to make sure that it gives adequate light. To maintain your cholla cactus table lamp, dust all parts once a month and wipe all holes in the cactus with a soft, dry cloth. With maintenance and care, you will have an attractive and interesting table lamp that you made yourself. Contact a retailer, like DESERT WOOD ART, if you would prefer to purchase the lamp.