Do you want to decorate your interior with a particular object? An old object? A glass bottle? Yes, but you don't really know how! Why not turn it into a lamp base? You can in theory turn any object into a lamp. To personalize your home, a lamp made from an object that is dear to you will bring a special atmosphere to your decoration. You will be so proud of your designer lamp that you will brag about it to everyone. To your tools! Go back to your workshop, because it's time to bring this object back to life!
Part 1 of 3: Prepare
Step 1. Which can serve as a lamp base
The base of your lamp should be stable and heavy enough to stand upright. Calculate the center of gravity, taking into account that you will be adding the shade and the electrical system in height. If your foot is too fragile and unstable (like an empty bottle), consider filling the bottle with sand or gravel to make it heavier. Here is what you can use as a lamp base:
- a bottle of wine
- a piece of wood, a log
- a wooden bucket or barrel
- a toy or a character
- a hollow book
Step 2. Purchase an electrical kit
In your favorite DIY store, you will surely find a CE approved electrical kit, that is to say a complete kit labeled with CE standards. Of course, it is still possible to purchase the items separately. If this is your case, make sure that the different pieces fit together well. As for the wire with switch, take a number 18 cable, with a sheath in the color you want.
- If you'd rather buy the items separately, rather than an electric kit, no worries, here's just what to put on your shopping list:
- a lamp harp
- an electric wire with switch
- a socket (the body and the ring)
- a finial (decoration at the top of the lamp harp)
- your toolbox, with screws, bolts and washers
Step 3. Turn the object into a lamp base
Whatever object you want to use as a lamp base, you will have to transform it to pass the electric wire through its center. It's going to take a tube, a wire, and probably punch a hole, even if it's a glass bottle you've chosen. Make sure the hole you are drilling is large enough for the tube to pass.
If you decide to go with a lamp base made from a log, get a drill with a long bit to pierce the log
Step 4. The foot should be stable
It is possible that your kit includes a stabilizer to be placed under the lamp. Otherwise, find rubber pads to place under the lamp, which will allow the lamp to be raised slightly and therefore allow the wire to pass.
Part 2 of 3: making the lamp
Step 1. Pass the electric wire through the tube
Insert the wires through the tube in the center of the foot. There must be two wires stuck together. Pass the threads from the bottom to the top of the foot. Make them protrude about 7 to 10 cm from the end of the tube.
- Before threading the electric wire through the tube, put a piece of tape on the end to prevent the wire from getting stuck in the middle of the tube.
- Make sure that the wire does not rub too much at the entrance of the tube: this part can be sharp and the sheath could be damaged.
Step 2. Secure the tube to the top of the lamp base
Once the electric wire sufficiently out of the tube and passed through the base of the socket, screw a large nut on the end of the tube at the top of the lamp base to immobilize everything: wire, tube and base.
Step 3. There may be this flat ring in the kit
Put it at the end of the tube. Otherwise, put a nut or rubber ring.
Step 4. Then it's the turn of the harp
Place the harp and screw it on securely. The "arms" of the harp must end up in the air. This is the part that the lampshade will rest on.
Step 5. Secure the socket
It is now the turn of the plastic base (the part in which the electric core of the socket is inserted) to take place inside the harp. Pass the thread through it and tighten it firmly.
Step 6. Separate the two wires by slowly pulling on them
First you need to pull the thread so that it protrudes about 10 cm. Strip the two wires with your pliers or just a knife. Count about 2 or 3 cm without sheath.
Step 7. Make a knot in your two threads, in the shape of a pretzel, as shown in the illustration below
This will prevent the wires from moving and possibly slipping through the tube. Here is how to do it:
- Turn the left thread down and loop it, so that it points to the right and pass it in front of the sheath.
- And vice versa: turn the right thread down and make it make a loop, so that it points to the left and pass it behind the sheath.
- Put the right thread through the loop of the left thread.
- Pull the ends at the same time to tighten the knot.
Part 3 of 3: bringing the finishing touches
Step 1. Locate the two wires
Know how to recognize the neutral and the phase. Normally the neutral is double insulated. If you have any doubts, check the instructions for your electric kit.
The electric wires correspond to a color code: in France, the neutral conductor is blue, while the phase conductor is red or black. The earth conductor is yellow and green
Step 2. Connect the wires to the socket
Place the wires in the two terminals at the base of the core and wrap the wires clockwise around the screw. The neutral will go around the outer silver (or white) screw and phase around the gold (or black) screw. If you have any doubts, check the instructions for your electric kit. Screw with a flathead screwdriver.
Step 3. Assemble the socket by adding the core to the socket
Try to hide any threads that protrude into the tube to keep your work clean. Finally, add the body of the socket. You will tighten the assembly with the clamping ring, if you have one in your kit. Be careful, there is no clamping ring on E27 plastic sockets for example.
Step 4. Close the harp
Tighten the two arms of the harp and hook them up using the system provided for this purpose.
Step 5. Place the shade on the harp
Screw the shade securely.
Step 6. Put your bulb in the socket, screw in and plug in your lamp
- If you see the electric wire sticking out and interfering with the fitting of the socket or something else, unscrew the socket, insert more wire into the tube and reassemble the socket. It is important here to do the assembly correctly, so as not to have a short circuit. If the wires touch each other, there will be a short circuit, which is dangerous and may cause electric shock or fire.
- Conventional lamp bases are normally drilled in the center, from bottom to top, to allow the electric cable to pass. If it can be difficult for you to drill, you can imagine a foot made of 3 broom handles attached and fixed in a triangle shape, which will necessarily leave a space in the middle of the 3 handles, this is where the cable could pass. Also, if you don't like metal tube broom handles. That said, metal is dangerous because it conducts electricity, which makes your DIY much more perilous.
- If you do not want to drill a hole in your lamp base, know that there are sockets that let out the cable between the top of the foot and the socket. The cable will then be extremely visible, but this is still an option.
- Please note: lamps are electrical devices… so there are risks. If your connections are not properly made, you risk a short circuit, an electric shock and your project can catch fire. If you have no idea what you are doing, it might be better to build a lamp without electricity (only with the stand, tube, harp and shade) and ask someone who knows about electricity install the electrical system.
- Always unplug a lamp before touching electrical wires and do not plug it back in until you have finished your work.
- Make sure that the decorations and the shade are not too close to the bulb. Always provide a good space between the bulb and the shade to allow good air circulation and thus prevent the start of fires.