Friday, December 12, 2014

DIY Lamp Made From Stacked Books

Many of us have great old hardcover books lying around that we've either read and didn't like, or never got around to. There are wonderful decorative projects you can do with old books, and you can even grab some really cheap books from the thrift store for creative projects.

Creating a lamp from stacked books is beautiful symbolism, for it is often a lamp that keeps us company while reading. Imaginative lamps light up a room in a different way, providing a spark for further creative ideas.

stack of booksHere’s how to make an eclectic styled lamp by using stacked books:

You will need:

·         7 or 8 old hardcover books
·         lamp kit from a hardware supply store
·         lamp shade, old or new
·         spray paint
·         drill
·         ½ inch drill bit
·         ¼ inch screws
·         2 inch screws
·         screwdriver and box cutter

1.    With your choice of spray paint colors, paint the lamp kit and fittings.
2.    Arrange your chosen stack of books the way you want them to look.
3.    After stacking the books, place the lamp kit’s thread rod next to the stack because you will need to make sure that at the top you have one inch of clearance.
4.    With your ½ inch drill bit, drill a hole about halfway through the center of the bottom book.
5.    Now open the bottom book, about halfway through, and with your box cutter, cut a channel for the electrical cord. Make sure that the channel is wide enough for the cord.
6.    Your lamp kit should contain a washer and lug nut. Attach the threaded rod to the bottom book into the drilled hole.
7.    Close the book and then tighten the top lock nut.
8.    Now slide the electrical wire through the threaded rod, leaving about 2 inches of wire at the top of the rod. You will be attaching the lamp parts to this exposed wiring.
9.    Using approximately 4-6 screws, 1 ¼ inches, drill the bottom book together to secure it.
10.  Drill a hole into the center of each of the remaining books using the ½ inch drill bit. Then slide the books, one at a time onto the threaded rod, using 4 two inch screws to attach each book to the one underneath it.
11.  Open the cover of the top book and secure it to the stack with four 2 inch screws.


Now you can assemble the parts of the lamp kit and attach the shade. You now have a creative and personal lamp to sit table side in the living area or family room, or in the bedroom for your nighttime reading. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

DIY Lampshade: Ombre hair Dye

Crazy hair colors are all the rage these days. It seems that many of us, no matter what age, are attempting to reclaim the days of our cool youth. Why not use it to add some pizzazz to your home as well. Lamp shades are the perfect DIY home accessories. They are simple to decorate and they are a perfect blank canvas for creative ideas. Using your leftover hair dye to create a bold and fun lampshade is a project that can spark your creative juices.

Here’s how it’s done:
Ombre Lamp Shade

1.    If you already have a lamp with a boring white shade, awesome. If not, they are cheap enough to purchase at your nearest superstore.

2.    Choose your hair dye color. Bright colors will work wonderfully for this project; but you can do an ombre type design with just about any shade.

3.    Gather your supplies. You will need a bucket or basin, plenty of newspaper to catch the mess, and some cloth rags.

4.    Fill the basin or bucket with a couple inches of warm water, then dip the lampshade into the water, rolling it in a circular motion to wet the entire shade.

5.    Scoop out a dollop of hair dye and add it to the water, preferably with a hair tinting brush. Make sure the dye product is well mixed, otherwise you will have to deal with lumps.

6.    You can test the color by dipping a piece of white fabric into the bucket before dying the lamp shade. The color can be adjusted by either adding more warm water to lighten it or more hair dye for a more intense color.

7.    Roll the bottom of your lampshade into the hair dye mixture. Allow the shade to soak up the dye for a few moments, then remove it and allow it to dry on the newspapers. Use the cloth rags to even it out or clean up any splatters.

Now, to achieve the ombre effect:

8.    Pour out some of the warm water and dye mixture, and then add more plain water until there are about 5 inches of liquid in the basin. Now roll your lampshade into the basin, which is now more deeply filled with water and dye, but lighter in hue.

9.    Remove the shade after thoroughly soaking in the dye mixture, and allow it to completely dry before placing it back onto the base of the lamp.


You will end up with a beautiful layered ombre dyed lamp shade. So if you’re a bit too mature for pink or blue hair, you can add the fun of wild colors to your home decor. 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Various Lamp Clusters Examined

Like lamps, lamp clusters come in all shapes and sizes. Their purpose is to wire more than one socket together in a fixture. The lead wires from a socket will meet at the cluster and get wired to the lamp cord. One thing every cluster needs is access to the cords. If your lamp has a cluster and you need to work on it, the cluster might open from a thread, a set screw, or a finial. Here are some common types of clusters.

These brass body clusters all have a threaded body. The cap unscrews from the base.





This large cluster has a hickey, threaded rod, and finial top to keep it closed.


Another example of a cluster with a hickey and finial top.




This early electric style cluster had many arms soldered to the cluster, but the bottom cap screws off.


Cluster with a set screw.




So when you get to a cluster and it has wires inside, there is a 99.999% chance it opens from the top.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Hemp String Pendant Lamps

These rustic looking hanging lamps have become very popular among the DIY community, so we are going to share with you the inside scoop on how to create these beautiful additions to your room’s d├ęcor.  
What You Will Need:
·         Bouncy Balls of varying sizes
·         Clear craft glue (1 bottle per ball)
·         Hemp string, 20lb. weight. (Amounts: 16” ball = 400 yards, 14”=300 yards, 9”=100 yards)
·         Trash bag or drop cloth
·         Permanent marker
·         Ball inflating needle
·         Light fixture and hardware
Step One:
Draw a circle on the ball using your marker. The circle represents the space that should have no string on it. The empty section will be fore putting together the light fixture and give you access to the light bulb.
Step Two:
Get out your trash bags/drop cloth; this will get messy!
Step Three:
The easiest way to go about this is to squeeze a quarter sized amount of glue onto your fingers (consider using some gloves for this part!) run the hemp string through the glue and them wrap it around the ball. The string should easily stick to the ball.
Step Four:
Keep gluing and wrapping. Try to do this as randomly as possible and avoid using criss cross patterns. The more densely its wrapped, the stronger it will be. Avoid wrapping the string over the circle area. If a certain area looks weak then you can add more glue to it.
Step Five:
Repeat these steps in order to create multiple lamps. Once finished with more than one lamp, let them site and dry for 48 hours.
Step Six:
Use the ball inflating needles to deflate it.
Step Seven:
Remove the deflated ball from the rest of the lamp.

Step Eight:
Follow the instructions that come in the manual for your light fixture. When installing the light strong, feed the wires through the circle hole of the lamp and up through the top so that the bulb can hang down in the center of the sphere.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Cleaning and Fixing a Crystal Table Lamp

Crystal is beautiful and makes a great material for lighting. For some reason (probably money) some crystals lamps were made with plastic necks. Necks are the pieces placed between the breaks. A break is a decorative part of the body of the lamp. This lamp is made up of base, neck, break, neck, break, neck, break, neck (from the bottom to the top). The old plastic necks have faded in color and look tarnished. Because they are plastic, there will be no polishing. We are going to replace them with brass necks. In addition to the necks, we will add a polarized lamp cord and a new threaded rod since the height of our lamp changed slightly with the new necks.


First we will need to disassemble the lamp. The socket shell is removed from the socket cap. The socket key is removed.



Cord slack is fed up the lamp body and the socket interior is removed from the cord.




The cord is pulled out of the lamp body.



With the cord out of the lamp, the socket cap is unscrewed from the threaded rod. The gallery and the shade ring are removed from the lamp.




The necks and breaks are removed from the lamp rod.



The parts are laid on the table in the order they belong on the lamp.


The breaks are washed with warm soapy water and some dish detergent. Since they are glass, they can be scrubbed. With all the parts ready and cleaned we begin to reassemble the lamp.

First we place a felt washer, flat washer and nut on the bottom of the new threaded rod.


The rod is then placed through the base of the lamp and put on the work table.



The new necks and clean breaks are placed back on the threaded rod in the order they belong.



The shade ring and gallery are placed back on the threaded rod. The socket cap is screwed back on the rod.




The lamp is placed on a level surface to make sure the shade ring and pieces are straight.


The shade ring needs some adjustment, so the socket cap is removed. The shade ring is adjusted by placing it on a level surface. With a screw driver the center washer is carefully bent back in place.




The shade ring and socket cap are re-installed and the lamp is tightened.



The new lamp cord is threaded through the lamp rod.



A UL knot is tied in the top of the cord it is attached to the socket interior. For polarity, the smooth wire goes to the brass screw and the ribbed wire goes on the nickel screw. The old socket insulator was worn and needed to be replaced.





The cord slack is pulled back through the lamp body so the socket interior is setting on the socket cap. The key is placed on the socket interior and the socket shell is snapped back in the socket cap. Tip: Galleries make the socket access a little challenging. It is always best to attach the key to the socket before snapping the shell into the cap so the key is in the correct position. 






The cord slack is tightened through the base. A few felt dots are added to the base of the lamp so the marble sits well on hard surfaces. 




A bulb is added and the lamp is tested. 


Crystal clear. Total Cost <$20  Total Time < 50 minutes