Our newest hobby is making lights. There is an electric store near us that sells plugs and the base for the bulb and wire. We had them make the first string of lights to our specifications from a little sketch. The next time, we thought we were buying a string of lights but when we went back to the store to pick them up, all of the pieces were in the bag, un-assembled. As I tried to explain, “we’d like them put together, please,” my boyfriend said, “ok, thank you!” He saw a project in the bag of parts and figured out how it all works. Thanks, youtube. He made the next string of lights that we hung from our ceiling with lanterns. He taught me the basics.
I made a lamp out of a wine bottle. First, we had to get a glass bit for the drill. I made the hole about an inch above the base of the bottle. The wire will thread through this.
I poured paint into my bottle and swirled it around to cover all of the surfaces inside (I used tape to cover the hole for the wire, but it would probably be smarter to do the paint before drilling). When I poured the paint in, it went to the bottom so I had to turn the bottle upside down and spin the bottle so the paint covered all of the surfaces as it came back. I let excess paint spill out into a trash can as the bottle dried upside down.
When the bottle was dry, I used a gold pen to draw flowers inspired by Turkish tiles.
Next comes the part that seems hard: putting together the electric parts! The first step is to split and strip the wire. This requires a wire cutting tool. The holes above the blades are for stripping (pulling off the plastic casing around the wires).
Then I unscrewed the plug. Inside, there are 2 screws. They need to be loosened (or removed) so one side of the wire can wrap around each one. I found it helpful to bend the wire into a small circle that the screw could fit through then thread them together and screw it all back in. Once the wire is wrapped, the screws can be tightened and the plug can be screwed back together.
Then the wire must go through the bottle. This order is important. If you do the bulb base before the plug, you will have to thread the wire through the hole you drilled and it is much easier to push it out through the top of the bottle (trust me).
The base for the light bulb is 2 pieces. The first piece (the plastic ring) needs to be strung onto the wire before connecting the 2 sides of the wire to the 2 screws inside (loosen and wrap the wire then tighten again, just like the other side). Then I screwed the two parts of the bulb base together before adding the bulb. Ta-da!
If you try this, you may want to superglue the base to the top of the lamp.
[Side-note: If you want to make a string of lights, it’s a similar process. The start with the plug is the same. Then when you add the first bulb, you can string a second wire in with the original wire into the screws of the bulb base. All of the wires are marked- one side is black and one side is grey. Just be sure to attach the wires with the same colors to the same screw on each bulb.]
The next step is making a lamp shade. We made an upside down lamp-shade-shaped wire attachment with the small side of the wire shape under the bulb and the big side up for the actual shade to sit on. Then we cut the shade out of some large white drawing paper. This paper lets a good amount of light through for reading. We just set the shade on top of the wire. That way if the bulb ever goes out, we can take the shade back off to change the bulb. I’m pretty pleased with my lamp! Next step? Make another one for a friend. I am tempted to wrap the bottle in twine or try out another medium for the shade. Decorating my next lamp(s) will be lots of fun! If you make one too, send a photo!