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Making a lamp from a tree branch is easy, inexpensive, and requires few materials. The primary challenge is planning a design, and finding a piece of wood that works—the concept and wood need to be considered together, as different types and shapes of branches offer different possibilities and limitations. After that, your best resources are creativity, and, as always, Home Depot's wealth of accommodating hardware and staff. Before + After:
While planning the design, I gave myself three guidelines. First, I decided to make a floor lamp—I wanted to create a piece with a presence, and to use a large piece of wood. Second, I approached the design as a DIY purist and local arborist: I decided to use fallen wood that I had found. Third, I wanted to see how few additional materials I could use.
I discovered a piece of wood that filled all three criteria: a five-foot tall slender branch. Sturdy and elegant, its three sprawling legs would give my lamp a jaunty stem and base.
(Please be aware that many public parks do not allow the collection of fallen wood—your best bet is to either gather wood from your own property, a friend's property, or to inquire at a local nursery for extra branches.)