Himalayan salt lamps are currently taking the lamp game by storm. This is because they offer warm light, absorb and evaporate water, and — many people claim — neutralize harmful positive ions in the atmosphere, making allergies easier to handle. That last claim strains credulity a bit, but it’s fair to say that they look good and taste far better than the average sconce.
Peter Kludge, a friendly maker whose homemade projects often get a lot of attention in r/DIY, wasn’t considering the potential benefits (beyond illumination) when he began making his own Himalayan salt lamp. “I’m not sure I’ve seen a health benefit directly, but it does make me happy,” he told Inverse. “So that has to be better for me than my old lamp.”
In a straightforward Youtube tutorial, Kludge breaks down the process of making a salt lamp out of bloodwood, a store-bought block of Himalayan salt, and a small light bulb. To begin, he cut two blocks of wood and two chunks of salt into four-inch squares and then drilled a large hole in the blocks. While the hole in the top block of salt stops just shy of the surface so the top of the lamp remains solid, the bottom block of wood had a smaller hole just large enough for the light bulb he bought. He then glued the pieces together, added some rubber feet to the bottom, and clipped in a lightbulb. And voila, a DIY Himalayan salt lamp is born.
Kludge’s procedure for making the lamp is pretty straightforward if you’re properly equipped, but working with salt is inherently tough. “Almost all my tools are steel and cast iron and the salt is horribly corrosive, so it is a huge amount of effort to clean up and remove all the rust after completing a salt block project,” Kludge said. Salt rapidly dulls steel blades and bits, which forced Kludge to resharpen the drill bit three times before he completed the project. In addition, the friction from the drilling process can make the salt so hot that it becomes dangerous to touch, but it also gives the salt its cool cracked look. “Because of the heat, the block will get these spectacular looking fissures in it, which really end up selling the stone look of salt.”
Even though salt may complicate procedural protocol a bit, Kludge notes that the salt lamp marks his fifth salt project overall, following his DIY salt bracelet, a salt-lidded salt cellar, a salt bottle stopper, and a salt margarita glass. Clearly, he must enjoy working with salt on some level. “I cannot imagine giving up on salt completely even though it has rusted my tools, dulled my bits and made a general nuisance of itself in my wood shop,” he added. The responses he’s gotten have been overwhelmingly positive as well. He said it’s one of those items that people feel the urge to touch when they see it.
The jury is still out on whether a rock salt lamp can actually improve your mood, but Kludge’s project makes one thing clear: making one does the trick.