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Drop Cloth Lamp

Brought to you by Lowe's Creative Ideas

Light up your living spaces with the warm, natural glow of a lamp you can build using simple materials and basic tools and skills.

Wood and canvas table lamp

Project Overview

Skill Level


Estimated Time

1 weekend

Estimated Cost


Tools and Materials


  • Miter saw or handsaw and miter box
  • Drill with 3/8" bit
  • Four clamps with a capacity more than 8"
  • Tape measure
  • Iron
  • Scissors


  • 5 - 1" x 36" hardwood square dowels, #28604
  • 1" x 2" x 48" poplar, #1075
  • 2 - 3/8" x 36" oak dowels, #19417
  • 48" x 60" canvas drop cloth, #197749
  • 9' 14/3 three-outlet indoor extension cord, #2660 (model #10106)
  • Plug-in socket adapter, #72577
  • 8" cable ties, #310570
  • Wood glue, #218256
  • Loctite vinyl, fabric and plastic adhesive, #182533

Items may be Special Order in some stores. Product costs, availability, and item numbers may vary online or by market. Paint colors may vary slightly from those shown. Availability varies by market for lumber species and sizes.

Missing anything? Shop Online


Step 1

Cut the legs (A), upper and lower rails (B), center rails (C), light support (D), upper dowels, and lower dowels (E) to length. (Drop Cloth Lamp Project Diagram). Sand the parts, first with 120-grit and then 180-grit sandpaper.

Good to Know

To ensure tight joints, it's critical that groups of parts be cut the same length, especially the legs and rails. Clamp a stop block to your saw so that parts are cut to equal lengths.

Step 2

Measure 1-1/2" from the top end of each leg and mark the locations for centered 3/8" holes on two adjoining faces (Drop Cloth Lamp Project Diagram). Drill holes 3/8" deep. Mark the lower rail (C) locations 13-1/2" from the top of each leg. Again, note that you'll have pairs of left and right legs when you're finished.

Good to Know

We left the wood on our lamp unfinished, but you can finish the wood before assembly by masking off surfaces you'll later glue, such as the ends of the rails, tips of the dowels, and mating surfaces on the legs. Apply two coats of any clear finish, sanding with a 220-grit sanding sponge between coats.

Step 3

Glue and insert the ends of the upper dowels (E) in two legs (A). Then glue and clamp an upper rail (B) and center rail (C) in place and let dry. Repeat for the other pair of legs.

Good to Know

To avoid misplaced dowels and assembly problems, organize the legs as they'll go together on the finished lamp. Use painter's tape to label the holes (1 to 1, 2 to 2, etc.) you'll connect using dowels in Step 4 and Step 6.

Step 4

Glue and clamp the light support (D) centered between two center rails (C); let dry.

Step 5

Glue and insert the upper dowels (E) in the leg assemblies (A/B/C/E) and clamp the lower rails (B) and center rail assembly (C/D) in place (Drop Cloth Lamp Project Diagram). Let dry.

Step 6

From a washed, dried, and ironed drop cloth, cut four canvas panels 6" wide by 15" long. Trim off any stray threads. Wrap one end around an upper dowel and glue the fabric to the dowel and itself. Repeat for the remaining upper dowels.

Step 7

On the bottom end of a panel, center a lower dowel (F) and roll the fabric around it until the bottom of the wrapped dowel barely touches the top of a center rail (C). Glue the fabric to the dowel or to itself. Repeat for the other three drop cloth panels.

Step 8

Cord and fluorescent light bulb detail

Use cable ties to fasten the outlet end of an extension cord to the top of the light support (D). Add a plug-in light socket and compact fluorescent bulb to complete the lamp.