How to Make a Lamp

Written by sara dellinger
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How to Make a Lamp
Lamp with Ceramic Base (Photo from Stock.XCHNG; Illustrations by Sara Dellinger)

Make an attractive and usable electric lamp with readily available materials and a lamp wiring kit. A bottle, vase, box or even stacked boxes or books can act as a base through which you can run the wire. The lamp kit provides wiring and fixtures, and lampshades are available in a variety of styles at department stores and discount stores. Lamp kits are sold at home improvement and craft stores, and include different fixtures, according to the type of base and lampshade you choose for the lamp. You can also purchase parts separately. These instructions are for a lamp made with a bottle or vase as a base.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Ceramic vase or bottle
  • Sand (in sealed bag) to use as weight inside base
  • Drill
  • 3/8" ceramic drill bit
  • Safety glasses
  • Pliers
  • Screwdriver
  • Hot glue gun (if necessary)
  • Lampshade
  • Light bulb
  • Lamp wiring kits (include cord, plug, socket and other parts, depending on the type of lamp) Or purchase the following separately:
  • #18 sized cord with plug at one end
  • Socket
  • Fixture pipe (optional, should be about 1/2" longer than the height of the lamp base)
  • Lamp harp (optional)

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    How to Make a Lamp

  1. 1

    Secure the vase or bottle so that it does not slip, and drill a hole through the bottom to run the cord.

    How to Make a Lamp
    Drill Hole in Base
  2. 2

    Enter the wire ends of the cord through the drilled hole, pull up, and thread through the fixture pipe (if used), harp bottom (if used), and the socket base.

    How to Make a Lamp
    Basic Wiring
  3. 3

    Connect the neutral wire to the white or silver screw on the socket, and the hot wire to the other screw (usually a darker colour), ensuring that all of the wires are held securely under the screw heads. (With some lamp kits the socket is already attached.)

  4. 4

    Add sand or other objects for weighting the base, keeping in mind that the amount will vary depending on the container's size.

  5. 5

    Mount the harp bottom (if used) and lamp socket base to the fixture pipe, which extends from the base; if needed, secure it to the base with hot glue.

  6. 6

    If using a lamp harp, raise the sleeves on the harp arms, squeeze the arms together so that they slide into the harp bottom, and lower the sleeves to secure the harp.

    How to Make a Lamp
    Adding the Lamp Harp
  7. 7

    Add a lampshade: Depending on the lampshade used, either place it directly on the light bulb, or on the threaded stud and then secure it with the finial to finish.

Tips and warnings

  • Instead of using sand in the base, you can substitute stones, shells or other items if you're making your lamp from a clear container.
  • Always use safety glasses when using a drill.
  • Do not plug the cord into an outlet while building the lamp.

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