One of the most useful and creative items you can create for your home is your own unique lamp. I have seen some wonderful lamps made by diy-ers like you. But I have also seen some horrendous examples of taste gone bad. So if you are going to make your own lamp and you are caught up in the excitement of an idea, you might want to run the idea past a couple of friends whose taste you admire. What seemed like a good idea at 2am might not seem so elegant in the light of day.
- Decide whether you want the lamp to stand alone or whether it will be mounted on a base. Is the potential lamp base an irregular shape? A base makes a more stable lamp.
- Drill a hole down through the middle of your chosen lamp base. If the lamp is glass or ceramic, place tape around the area to be drilled to ensure the base will not crack. A 3/8 inch drill bit will do for most lamps.
- Slide a small threaded pipe through the center hole. The pipe can be cut to size or bought ready-made at your home improvement center. Make certain that the pipe extends at least a 1/2 inch above the lampbase.
- Place a washer and nut on the pipe at the bottom to hold it in place. The nut should be countersunk to ensure the lamp sits flat. If you know how to countersink the nut at the bottom of the lamp, great! If not, your local home improvement store will do the job for you (for a small fee). Or you can add feet to the base in the form of small blocks or knobs. This eliminates the need for countersinking.
- Thread the electrical lamp cord through the lamp from the bottom to the top, leaving at least 3 inches extended at the top. The plug will be hanging from the lamp bottom.
- The kit will come with a locknut for the top of the rod (see illustration). Screw it onto the lamprod, followed by the neck (see illustration). The neck should be installed with the largest end down.
- Next, slide the bottom of the harp (see illustration) onto the rod. Thread the socket cap (see illustration) onto the rod next and tighten everything.
- This is the most complicated part. Separate the cord at the top of the lamp to about 2 inches down (it pulls apart). Using a wire stripper (or a knife), remove the insulation (outside plastic covering) from each wire. You only need to remove about 1/2 inch, but be careful that you don't cut the wire.
- Tie a knot in the end of the cord so it won't slip back down. When the knot is secure, pull the bottom cord to that the knot is sitting tight against the socket cap.
- Look at the lamp kit directions to find out the color of the hot and neutral wires. Each manufacturer's kit may be different. Then connect the neutral wire to silver screw on the socket. The gold screw is connected to the hot wire. Make sure all of the wires are around and under the screw head, then tighten with a screwdriver. Pssst! It's not as hard as you think!
- Put the socket shell (see illustration) over the socket. Pull the cord at the bottom and the shell should snap in place. If you don't hear a click, pull harder until it snaps in place.
- To attach the harp, raise the side sleeves and gently squeeze the harp in the middle. Insert the sides into the harp bottom (they should snap in as you quit squeezing) and slide down the sleeves. Look at a lamp you already have if you are unsure how the harp fits on the lamp.
- Add a shade of your choice and Voila! A unique lamp you made yourself!
- Use an underwriter's knot for the knot at the end of the cord. Find instructions at About.com's electrical site.
What You Need:
- Lamp Kit
- An object which will be made into a lamp
- Lamp base, if needed
- Metal rod for the center of the lamp. at least 1/2" longer than lamp itself
- Wire strippers or a sharp knife