Published in the Spring 2006 issue • DIY
Homemade lamps are a cheap way to personalize any space and add colour to rooms that are only temporary quarters or that you aren’t allowed to paint. My mother taught me this technique when I was an impoverished student. I can afford to buy lamps now, but I still find it more satisfying to make them. Although it’s easy to do, wiring a lamp will make you feel impressively handy. And lamps make good gifts!
WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
Everything should be available at your local hardware store or home building centre (and some dollar stores).
- A pull-chain light socket.
- A light bulb
- A long extension cord. The thinner the better.
- Wire strippers, screwdriver, ruler and box cutter/utility knife.
- A lampshade. Designed to cover a bare hanging light bulb, Japanese paper shades are the simplest option and can be found in any Chinatown. Alternately, inexpensive regular shades can be purchased at garage sales, thrift shops and dollar stores but may take more creativity to attach. You can also make your own shade or re-cover an ugly one.
- Insulated staples and a hammer. For hanging your light.
- A piece of string or ribbon.
Ensure nothing flammable (like the shade) touches the light bulb or socket. Keep the light unplugged until the project is complete and turn out the light when you leave the room. Do not cross the wires (explained below).