10 Tips to Make a Lamp out of Anything

I was at the Torrance Habitat for Humanity ReStore to lead a DIY workshop on how to epicycle anything into quirky, funky or even traditional looking lighting, and everything I made was a find from that store. When you come across a cool, interesting, funky or mysterious item you want to upcycle, one option that applies to anything you find is to turn it into a lamp. As a bonus, lamps are actually useful and there’s usually space for one more. All you need are a few simple skills and materials, and a little imagination.

  • There are “Lamp Making Kits” at stores like Home Depot that come with a cord, a socket with a switch and a harp for a shade

lamp kit

  • Each of these things can be purchased separately so you can personalize what you want
  • You also need some threaded lamp pipe. Get assorted lengths, or long ones and cut them to size

Lamp pipe

  • Lamp pipes can be attached to each other with couplings to make very long or tall lamps
  • There are all kinds of switches you can wire into a lamp cord. Some are in the lamp section, some are in the electrical department
  • To drill a hole for a standard lamp pipe, use a 3/8-inch bit
  • To drill a hole for the cord, use a 1/4-inch bit
  • You can drill a hole in anything, but you have to have the right bit and sometimes patience

lamp drill

  • Just any old thing with a light bulb sticking out of it is a lamp, but it’s not a good lamp

You can make a lamp out of anything

  • Look for items that will be enhanced by being illuminated this including: vases, tools, electronics, furniture, books, trophies, plants and trees, fence posts, unidentifiable bric-a-brac and anything else you can think of.

Lamp after

Watch the video for more.

Shovel Lamp