DIY Elephant Lamp

I have finally finished baby b’s nursery and I am super excited about how it turned out. I will have the full reveal up on the blog very soon, but I thought I would show somee of the smaller projects that we have been working on for it first.

One of the common elements in B’s nursery is elephants and I was inspired by this tutorial from How Joyful blog and this tutorial from Must Have Wear blog to try and DIY an elephant lamp out of styrofoam. Go check them out. Both lamps and nurseries are super adorable.

Disclaimer: both of their tutorials and probably finished products are better than mine. I thought that since this was such a complicated project I would post my journey with it so that if any one is going to attempt it they could have as much help as possible.

The original lamp that served as inspiration is from Jonathan Adler and is super beautiful and super expensive. I just could not justify spending $395 on a lamp.

First things first, I found a cheap lamp at Goodwill (yay for dollar days) that was about the size that I wanted.

elephant lamp (3)

I tried to find some styrofoam pieces that were large enough from what I had around the house, but ended up buying two 8 inch blocks of styrofoam from Hobby Lobby. They were pretty cheap. Oh, and I had the hubby cut off the excess metals parts of the lamp. Basically everything but the metal tube that holds the wire. So this next picture is mostly a lie.

elephant lamp (4)

I hot glued the two pieces of styrofoam together around the lamp base and drew an elephant template on each of the four sides.

elephant lamp (5)

This next part nearly defeated me. Apparently the way my brain works makes it VERY hard to conceptualize the process for making an object go from 2D to 3D. I could not figure out how to cut the front of the elephant without messing up the side and how trimming the side wouldn’t completely screw up the design for the front.

My wonderful husband not only helped by starting some of the shaping of the styrofoam for me, but actually did all of the shaping for me.

elephant lamp (9)

First, we cut around outline with a hand saw and then went back in with exacto knives and some finer blades and tools to get the details.

elephant lamp (10)

Once it was the shape we wanted, I sanded it all down and put beads where I wanted the eyes and tail.

elephant lamp (11)

The next part of the process was to cover the whole thing in drywall compound, smooth it out, sand, and repeat. I probably did this 5-6 times.

elephant lamp (12)

I then spray painted the whole thing white, but it still was bumpier than desired, so we used a product called Plasti Dip that gave it a slightly smoother finish.

elephant lamp

I whipped up a new lampshade for it (which I’ll show soon) and viola!

elephant lamp more (2)

View from the back.

elephant lamp more (3)

Little elephant friend.

elephant lamp more (1) 

And here it is all lit up.

nursery update (4)

I can definitely say that this project never would have happened without the amazing help I got from the hubs. I somewhat struggled with the end product not looking like the lamps that inspired it, but I think it is a unique addition to the nursery. For the record, if I had it to do over, I wouldn’t. hah. It was a lot of work and time invested. But, it provides us with the extra light that will be needed and it’s done, so I am happy with it.

Previous posts on B’s nursery are here and here, the dresser tutorial is here, and there is more to come soon!
Thanks for reading!


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