How to Make Your Own Lamp Out of Antique Bowls & Cups

Written by christine bartsch Google
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How to Make Your Own Lamp Out of Antique Bowls & Cups
Turn antique teacups into attractive lamp bases. (floral teacup image by dwags from

Lamp bases can be fabricated from almost any object, including antique bowls and cups. Creating a lamp from scratch can seem like an intimidating project due to the dangers of working with electricity. However, lamp kits come with simple instructions that, when followed precisely, reduce the risk level to no greater than plugging in or turning on a factory-made lamp.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Electric drill and 5/8-inch glass & tile drill bit
  • 1 roll of duct tape
  • Pliers
  • 1 interior-threaded aluminium tubing with a 5/8 inch diameter
  • 1 pipe nipple with exterior threading at both ends with a fitting determined by the thickness of the bowl base you select
  • 1 washer
  • 1 nut
  • 1 large antique bowl
  • 2 antique teacups
  • 1 teacup saucer
  • 1 tube of heavy-duty construction adhesive (such as Liquid Nails)
  • Caulking gun
  • Wet rag
  • Lamp kit
  • Light bulb
  • Lamp shade

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  1. 1

    Attach pieces of duct tape to the centre bowl's bottom; one piece inside and one piece outside. Attach two pieces of duct tape to the interior and exterior of all four teacup bottoms and the centre top and bottom of the teacup saucer.

  2. 2

    Drill a 5/8-inch hole through the taped centre of each vessel's bottom. Remove the tape once the holes are drilled.

  3. 3

    Insert the pipe nipple through the hole in the centre of the bowl. Fit the over threaded end extruding into the interior of the upside down bowl and fasten in place with the bolt.

  4. 4

    Turn the antique bowl upside down to create the lamp base; the second threaded end of the pipe nipple will be poking through the bottom centre of the upside down bowl. Fasten the aluminium tubing to the bowl by screwing it onto the extruding threaded nipple end.

  5. 5

    Alternately tighten your nut and your tubing with the pliers until both are securely fastened together. Do not over-tighten or the bowl may crack.

  6. 6

    Run a bead of the construction adhesive around the lip of the bowl's base. Slide the teacup saucer over the aluminium tubing, settling it into the adhesive bead with a twisting motion. Wipe away any excess adhesive that squeezes out with the wet rag immediately, while the adhesive is still wet.

  7. 7

    Run another thin bead of adhesive around the centre of the teacup saucer. Slide the first teacup right-side-up over the aluminium tubing and settle it into the adhesive bead. Wipe away any visible adhesive with the wet rag.

  8. 8

    Run a thin bead of adhesive around the brim of the right-side-up teacup. Slide the second teacup upside-down over the aluminium tubing, twisting it down into the adhesive bead. Clean away any excess adhesive with the wet rag.

  9. 9

    Thread the electric cord from the lamp kit through the aluminium tubing. Attach the plug and socket to each end of the cord as per the instructions in the lamp kit. Insert the light bulb, put the lamp shade in place and plug the lamp in.

Tips and warnings

  • Take the bowls and teacups to an antiques dealer to ensure they are of minimal value before drilling any holes.
  • Building with electricity is dangerous, so be sure to follow the lamp kit instructions carefully.
  • Check every connection before plugging the lamp in.

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