DIY: Table Lamps

Written by megan shoop
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DIY: Table Lamps
Create your own table lamp with ordinary light bulbs and simple tools. (lamp image by timur1970 from

If you're tired of buying retail table lamps, consider making your own. The parts for a table lamp won't bust your wallet, and you can recycle or repurpose household items or hardware leftover from other projects to make funky and original table lamps. With some ingenuity, an everyday item could become a creative lighting source for your home.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • 1 foot long, 1 inch thick copper tubing
  • Copper pipe flange
  • Light socket extension cord
  • Pipe cutters
  • Light bulb
  • Hot glue

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  1. 1

    Screw the 1 foot long piece of copper tubing into the copper pipe flange. These flanges are flat, heavy and circular and have a hole for screwing in pipe in the centre. They're usually used for connecting pipe to flat surfaces. Make sure the copper pipe fits snugly in the flange---pick up the assembly by the pipe and shake it vigorously. It shouldn't jiggle or make noise. You can pick up copper tubing and flanges at your local hardware store.

  2. 2

    Slip the plug end of your light socket cord into the top of the pipe. Slide it down through the pipe and out through the bottom of the flange. When you sit the assembly down, it will tilt to the side because of the cord. Locate one of the screw holes in your flange---cut away the edge of the flange with your pipe cutters, creating a curve that includes one of the screw holes. The wire should fit in this curve and allow the assembly to sit flat.

  3. 3

    Push the light socket at the top of the copper pipe firmly into the pipe---about ½-inch of the socket should be visible above the edge of the copper pipe. Remove the socket from the pipe, run a bead of glue around the inside edge of the pipe and reseat the socket in the pipe. The glue should set in an hour.

  4. 4

    Screw your light bulb into the light socket and plug in your lamp. If you like this industrial look, enhance it by using a small globe light bulb, a chandelier flicker bulb or an unfrosted light bulb so you can see the filaments.

Tips and warnings

  • Versions of this project include salad bowls or vases with holes drilled into the bottom. Hang the socket upside down and you have overhead lighting.
  • Drill a hole in the side of a ceramic coffee mug for the socket wire and you have a whimsical desk lamp.
  • Slip the socket cord down through a gutted and drilled kerosene lamp, terra cotta pot with holes drilled into the sides, or tin can with hole-punch designs. You can also use Bunsen burner stands and enclosed incense holders to hold your light bulbs.

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