Skateboard Grunge to Mid-Century Modern

My materials I am looking to upcycle are my old skateboard, and a lamp frame. This was the first skateboard I ever got (from 2007) and it definitely shows its character. Aside from the graffiti-like design, it features scratches, dirt, and weathering which all contribute to its grunge street skate aesthetic. The lamp frame was found at a thrift store and is what it sounds like: A frame for the project to be built on.


This Is why I think it would be interesting to transform it into something that gives off the clean, functional, soothing, and sometimes futuristic mid-century modern aesthetic. The smooth wood and dainty elegance of mid-century modern appliances is so opposite to the dirty, raw, and damaged skate board aesthetic, that I feel it would be an interesting challenge . . . and I also need a desk lamp. Below are some things I’m gaining inspiration from:

What I really like about these lamps are their simplicity. They are comprised of essentially 2 materials (wood and cloth), they don’t have any extra detail work in the form of carvings or graphics, and the wood is cut in very basic shapes or with minimal curves, yet they still express a very pleasing and confident look.

Mid-century modern describes many aspects of design (graphic, architecture, furniture) that originated from 1933 to 1965. At its core it is functional, minimal, and sometimes features materials that contrast. It has lasted in favor all the way up to now because of its portability and functionality. I feel like I am attracted to it for the same reasons. I’m a college student who moves pretty much every year, and so items designed minimal enough to fit well in any space, and easily moveable are attractive to me.

See the sketches above for my general thought process of what it will look like. I’m thinking I’ll utilize the ends of the board as side caps for the lamp, I intend to cut the middle section of the board into strips to lay in front of the face of the lamp. I may work with cutting slight curves on the strips to fit the look a bit better. I’ve also considered making two layers of wood slats that slide so that I can adjust the brightness of the lamp. I also think putting canvas behind everything will diffuse the light and also fit the look a bit better.



Wood Lamp Shade Mid Century Modern Lighting | Etsy

Wood Floor Lamp Modeline Huge Mid Century Modern Lamp Adrian Pearsall Style by HearthsideHome from Hearthside Home of Poolesville, MD | ATTIC

Dadelus Wood and Burlap Slat Mid Century Style Pendant Lamp (


Why the world is obsessed with midcentury modern design – Curbed

Characteristics of Mid-Century Modern Style (

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5 Comments. Leave new

  • […] to this post, I made an initial post about the aesthetic and a progress post. In both of these I discussed my aesthetic inspiration and […]

  • Hi Joshua,
    I like that you are planning to make something that you can actually use. Have you figured out how you will attach a lamp holder on the board?

    • I’m planning on either screwing directly through the metal, or making it slide into place. Sliding into place would make it easier to change the bulb, but would probably be less secure.

  • Andrew Thorson
    February 4, 2021 1:26 pm

    I really like your idea for the upcycled lamp made from the old skateboard. One thing I liked in particular was how you highlighted the contrast between how the old skateboard is very beat up yet you are trying to channel a very clean and minimalist art aesthetic. One question I have is what is the best way to get a good look on the wood finish of the skateboard?

    • I think my plan is to sand off the paint/grime/scratches and then work from there. If the wood could use varnish or oil, I’ll probably add that, but I’m hoping that the sanding will do most of the work. One thing I am a bit concerned of is that some of the ply on the board appears to be coming undone. I might glue it back shut, or maybe just try to cut those parts off.


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