How to Make a Lamp Out of Ceramic Vases

Written by meg warren
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People have been making things on their own since the beginning of time. Now, with the mass production of all kinds of items, finding handmade objects has actually become a bit difficult outside the crafting world. The ability to create something beautiful and functional with your bare hands provides you with a wonderful feeling worth bragging about. With a little bit of time and basic knowledge, you can turn something as simple as a vase into a functional item like a lamp. Most craft stores sell the items you'll need to turn a vase into a lamp, so gather your supplies and let your creative side flourish.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Stain
  • Decorative wood cap (max. 2 inches wider than top of vase)
  • Decorative wood base (max. 2 inches wider than bottom of vase)
  • Towels, cardboard or foam
  • Vice clamp
  • Carbide drill bit
  • Drill
  • Scarp ceramic tile
  • Lamp kit with pole
  • Tape measure
  • Drill bit (sized to lamp kit pole)
  • Wood glue
  • Heavy book or similar
  • Hacksaw (optional)
  • Putty
  • Marker (matching colour of vase)
  • Lamp shade
  • Light bulb

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Stain the decorative base and cap; allow both to dry.

  2. 2

    Wrap a towel around each of the clamps on the vice to protect the vase from getting scratched. Cardboard or foam also work and you can mould the foam around the vase.

  3. 3

    Position the vase in the clamp and slowly close the gap. You need the clamp to hold the vase in place securely while you drill a hole, but make sure it isn't so tight that it might break the vase. Try to wiggle the vase; if it moves, the clamp is not tight enough. If you don't have a vice or drill, check to see if your local hardware store has one available through a tool rental service.

  4. 4

    Install a carbide drill bit into your drill and drill into the vase on a very slow speed setting. This will be a slow process that may seem difficult. Apply a bit of pressure, but take it easy or you will break the vase. It's a good idea to practice on a scrap piece of ceramic to get the hang of how hard you need to press.

  5. 5

    Slide the frayed end of the wire from your lamp kit through the hole and out through the top of the vase.

  6. 6

    Drill a hole through the exact centre of the wood cap. Use a tape measure to find the centre, measuring from opposite sides.

  7. 7

    Apply a line of wood glue along the top of the vase.

  8. 8

    Slide the wire through the hole in the centre of the cap.

  9. 9

    Center the cap over the top of the vase and press down firmly.

  10. 10

    Turn the vase upside down and apply a line of wood glue to the bottom of the vase.

  11. 11

    Center the wood base on the bottom of the vase.

  12. 12

    Turn the vase back over and place a heavy book on top of it to add pressure. Let this sit for around 20 minutes to cure the glue.

  13. 13

    Remove the book from the top of the vase. Check to ensure that the wood glue is holding the cap on. If it is, slide the pole over the wire and down inside the vase. Before you let go of the pole, be sure that it is going to protrude out the top of the vase so that you can install the light on top. Mark the pole 1 inch above the vase. If you need to cut the pole to make it shorter, remove it from the wire. Cut the pole, then place it back on the wire and back inside the vase.

  14. 14

    Connect the light socket to the end of the wire. Depending on the type of kit you purchased, this can be as simple as opening the light socket and wrapping the two ends of the wire around a post on the inside. Close the light socket back up.

  15. 15

    Pull the wire through the vase. Do not pull the wire tight. You only need to remove the slack from the top of the vase. As you are pulling the wire through, you need to place the light socket on top of the pole. There should be a screw to connect the light socket to the pole. Install that now.

  16. 16

    Wrap a roll of putty around the wire at the base of the lamp. Fill in the hole you drilled with putty. This will close off the gap and help keep the wire in place. Allow the putty to dry completely.

  17. 17

    Paint the putty to match the colour of your vase.

  18. 18

    Install a light bulb and add a lamp shade.

Tips and warnings

  • It is possible to drill a hole in the vase with out the clamp, but it will be difficult to keep the vase from rolling, which can cause you to break or scratch the vase or even hurt yourself. Be extremely careful if you opt for this method.

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