This was one of the most fun parts of redecorating our bedroom -- mostly because it's deceptively easy. (I may or may not have started referring to myself as an electrician after wiring these lamps.)
Kristie and I both love the look of industrial vintage lamps like this and this. But the price tag made it tough, especially since we wanted two (one for each side of the bed). So after shopping around quite a bit, we realized it would probably be cheaper to just make them ourselves. We were inspired by tutorials from Storefront Life for the wall bracket and the Vow for the cord-wrapping, and I'm crazy about how they came together.
So here's what we did. There are a ton of pictures because I want to make sure everything is explained as well as it possibly can be. I never would've been able to tackle the lamp-wiring part without the help of Home Depot employee Matt who broke it all down for me very patiently. I'm no Matt, but hopefully this tutorial will be helpful if you're working on a similar project.
Kristie made the brackets from scratch, but you can order them online from Ikea pretty cheaply -- it was the cost of shipping, however, that sent us searching for a DIY option. I've included brief instructions for assembling our homemade bracket at the bottom of this post.
These instructions are to make one lamp. If you want to make two, you will need to buy two lamp kits and two bulbs.
You will need:
- Make-A-Lamp Kit, $11, Home Depot
- Craft jute, $2, JoAnn Fabrics
- Multi-purpose glue
- Pliers/wire strippers
- Bag clip
- Vintage-style lightbulb, Home Depot, $10 (not pictured)
This is what comes in the Make-A-Lamp Kit. I crossed off all the things I didn't use for this project.
First, make sure your cord is not plugged in. Seriously. It's worth checking.
Thread the cord through the socket cap (pictured below) so that the narrow end of the cap faces the plug, and your wires are emerging from the wide end.
The wires correspond to two different screws (one silver, one gold, called "terminal screws") on the socket interior, and you can remember which goes with which by their plastic casing. The casing with the ridges will attach to the silver screw, and the casing that's smoother will attach to the gold.
Clip off the copper tips from the ends of both wires. I pulled them apart gently to help them separate a little more. That way I had more space to work with.
Then I carefully removed some more of the plastic casing from each wire to expose more of the wire. This will make it easier to wrap around the screw later. (Don't despair if you accidentally snip the wire off along with the casing. Just separate the wires a little more, and start again. Make sure both wires end up the same length and exposed the same amount.)
Twist the wires tighter in the direction they were already going.
Now is the time to make an underwriter's knot if you're into that kind of thing (I didn't do this, mainly because I hadn't heard of it yet, but I think skipping it is okay for this project).
Next, loosen both terminal screws from the socket interior using your screwdriver.
Hook the wires around each screw (make sure they're corresponding correctly, ridges to the silver screw, smooth to gold) in a clockwise direction, and tighten with the screwdriver.
Now is a good opportunity to test and make sure you've wired everything correctly. Screw in a lightbulb, plug in the cord, and flip the switch! If everything works, turn it off, remove the lightbulb, unplug the cord, and proceed to the next step.
If the light doesn't turn on, remove the lightbulb, unplug the cord, and check to make sure your wires are corresponding to the screws correctly (see above). Correct if necessary and test again.
If everything works, slide the socket shell over the interior.
Slide the socket cap down over the interior and shell and click it into place.
Now for the jute wrapping! This took about two episodes of "Big Love" when done all at once, but it's an easy project to pause and pick up again as needed.
Tie a knot in the jute close to the socket.
I kept the rest of the cord wrapped up with its twist-tie during this process, letting it out as needed; this made the wrapping much easier and faster.
Dab a tiny bit of glue and start wrapping.
I pushed the jute down every few rounds to make sure it was tight and that no cord was visible.
Every few inches, add another dab of glue and keep wrapping. If you need to take a break, use the bag clip to hold the jute in place.
When you're finished, cut the jute, leaving a tail of a few inches. Tie another knot, add a dab of glue, and wrap the tail, making sure all of it is secured with the glue.
Clip it for a little while until the glue has completely dried.
Kristie fashioned our brackets out of wood from Home Depot, which cost about $10 for enough to make two brackets. It was two inches thick, and she pieced together three pieces (one 11" and two 10") to form the bracket. She carved a notch into the end to hold the cord in place, and painted the whole thing white. We then screwed them directly into the wall.
Decide the height you'd like for your lamp, and fit it into the notch. Then coil the cord around, and plug it in.
You have full permission to now yell (as we did), "Let there be light!"