Lamps can be pretty darn expensive so I wanted to give DIY lamps a try for my guest bedroom to keep the costs down. It turns out that it is extremely easy to transform a vase into a lamp. Even for someone like me that has no concept of electricity or experience wiring anything. If you have a vase and lamp shade you can purchase a few additional items from your local hardware store and turn that vase into a DIY lamp with ease. Here is a complete tutorial of how I made these cute little lamps and links to the materials and tools that I used.
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Vase (I got mine at Big Lots on clearance for $8 each!)
Block of wood (or large washer)
Drill press or drill
Directions – How to turn a vase into a DIY lamp
Step 1 – Drill a hole for the cord
First mark where you want your cord to feed through the vase. If there are little feet on your vase you may be able to feed the cord through the bottom of it but if it’s flush like mine you’ll need to feed it through the back of the vase.
Step 2 – Make a cap for the top of the vase
You’ll need to cap the top of the vase to attach the lamp components. The top of my vases were roughly 2-1/4″ in diameter so I went with a scrap piece of 1/2″ oak that I cut to 2.5″ using my Hole saw and drill press. If you want a metal top cap you may be able to find a washer that covers the top of the vase but that will depend on the diameter of the vase opening.
If you’re not familiar with a hole saw, this is what it looks like. You can attach it to a handheld drill or a drill press to cut a hole into your wood block. Note that the hole saw will only cut to a certain depth so make sure that your piece of wood is thin enough. For example, mine can cut up to 1″ thick material.
I have a drill press but a standard hand drill would work just fine too.
I should have cut the center hole to the correct diameter to feed the lamp pipe through first but I didn’t think about that.
Luckily I was able to clamp the small wood piece down and drill a 3/8″ diameter hole into the center that was large enough to fit the lamp pipe through.
The wood top cap fits the top of my vase perfectly!
Step 3 – Attach components to the lamp pipe
Next, you’ll want to attach the lamp kit components to the wood block. All of the components thread onto the lamp pipe (except the wood block which slides over). In the photo below you can see the components that are above the block. These all came with a lamp kit and will be visible above the vase.
The lamp kit that I bought at Home Depot came with a very short lamp pipe so I had to buy a longer lamp pipe and cut it to size using my hand saw.
On the underside of the wood block you’ll need a washer and locknut to hold it in place. My lamp kit did not come with these items so I purchased them separately. That said, the Lamp Kit that I linked in this post appears to have these pieces. I also has a longer lamp pipe. I wish I would have just bought it from Amazon to begin with.
Step 4- Feed the cord through the vase and lamp pipe
Feed the cord through the vase and lamp pipe as shown below.
The two wires should stick out from the top of the socket base as shown below.
Step 5 – Wire the lamp
This is where I was intimidated but it’s actually very easy. Follow the direction on your lamp kit and you’ll be fine. First make an underwriters knot as shown below.
Then, attach the neutral wire to the brass screw and the other wire to the silver screw. You can identify the neutral wire by looking for ribbing on the white insulation. The neutral side of the cord will have ribbing whereas the other side will not.
I totally forgot to take a photo of the wires connected so I apologize for that. If you’re not sure how to connect them to the screws, this article from The Spruce should clear things up. You essentially loosen the screw, wrap the wire around the base and then tighten it back up.
Step 6 -Place socket shell back on socket base and test the lamp
Before you super glue the wood cap onto the vase I would recommend plugging in the lamp and testing it to make sure it works.
Step 8 – Super glue the top cap to the vase
Nothing fancy here, I just used some gel super glue on the rim of the vase and held the wood cap in place for a few seconds while it set.
Step 9 – Add the lamp shade
I scored these lamp shades on clearance at Lowes years ago for 11 cents each. I’m fairly certain that they were mispriced because now they sell the same ones for $14 each.
I’m fully aware that the art above the bed is off center. The bed used to be pushed further to the right when there were bigger nightstands in the room. I’m debating on whether or not I want to keep them so in order to avoid putting unnecessary holes in my wall I’m waiting. Am I the only one that is this indecisive when it comes to wall art? Let me know in the comments if you like them or if you’d replace them with something else.
I hope that this tutorial is helpful. I can tell you that I’ll probably never buy a lamp again after realizing that I can get a vase on clearance and make one for under $20. I’m so happy to have matching lamps in my guest room. Now I just need some guests so that someone can enjoy them! 😉
If you’re interested in any of the other DIY projects in this room, here are projects that are featured in the photos.
Thanks for stopping by!