How to Fix a Rain Lamp

Written by wendy adams
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How to Fix a Rain Lamp
Fix a rain lamp. (light bulb image by jimcox40 from

A vintage rain lamp uses a small spotlight at the top of the lamp to illuminate oil dripping down strands of fishing line strung on a slant, to create the illusion of rain. In the centre of the rain lamp is a small statue of Venus and green plastic foliage. The oil is pumped from the bottom oil basin of the lamp to the top oil basin where it drips at regular intervals down the fishing lines. The most common repairs are changing the light bulb and replacing broken fishing line, which is one long continuous piece.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Plastic sheeting
  • Newspaper
  • Paper towels
  • Screwdriver
  • Light bulb
  • Empty milk jug or plastic bottle
  • Needle
  • Scissors
  • Fishing line (30 or 40lb. test)
  • 1- to 3-pt. rain lamp fluid or mineral oil

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  1. 1

    Unplug the rain lamp electrical cord from the outlet. Spread a plastic garbage bag under the rain lamp and cover it with newspaper to absorb oil.

  2. 2

    Use paper towels to gently wipe oil off the fishing line strands where you will reach into the lamp to get the light bulb.

  3. 3

    Reach your hand through the fishing line strands carefully and unscrew the light bulb. Pull the bulb out through the strands. Wipe excess oil from your hands with a paper towel.

  4. 4

    Insert the new bulb through the same fishing line strands and screw it into the socket.

  5. 5

    Plug the electrical cord into the outlet and turn on the lamp to check the light bulb. Use paper towels to wipe any oil off the outside of the rain lamp to prevent drips. Pick up the newspaper and garbage bag.

  1. 1

    Unplug the rain lamp electrical cord from the outlet. Spread a plastic garbage bag under the rain lamp and cover it with newspaper to absorb oil. Remove the statue, foliage and light bulb by reaching though the fishing line strands and pulling them out.

  2. 2

    Slide the decorative bands out of the way to expose the screws that secure the top canopy. Use a screwdriver to remove the screws then lift the top canopy off the lamp. Unscrew the cage section then lift it off the bottom canopy. Pour the oil from the bottom basin into a plastic bottle using a funnel.

  3. 3

    Cut the fishing strands with scissors then pull the line from the cage. Use paper towels to wipe excess oil from the lamp. Use a needle to clean out each hole in the top and bottom rim of the cage.

  4. 4

    Insert fishing line into the first hole and tie a knot in the end of the fishing line to keep it from slipping through the hole. Duplicate the old fishing line pattern by feeding the fishing line through the holes in the top and bottom of the cage. Tie a knot in the last end of the line after you finish threading the pattern. Reassemble the lamp by reversing the steps. Fill the lamp by pouring 1 ½ to 3 pt. rain lamp fluid into the bottom basin before turning the lamp on.

Tips and warnings

  • Take pictures of the pattern of the fishing line before removing it from the lamp so it will be easier to reproduce. To clean the foliage, soak it in hot, soapy dishwater, rinse and dry it on a paper towel. Spray the statue with household cleaning solution (not bleach), rinse in water and dry with a soft towel.
  • Use only rain lamp fluid or mineral oil in your vintage rain lamp to protect the pump from damage. Do not add essential oil or fragrance to the oil.

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