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Galvanized pipe and glass insulator wall sconce

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With some 1/2" galvanized pipe, some connectors, glass telephone insulators, and some time you can create a unique wall sconce for your home. My wife found examples of these in Pinterest and Etsy and wanted to have them for our new house, so we decided to try making our own. You can keep track of other projects at our house blog, OnceUponAnAcre.blogspot.com. Here's how we put the wall sconces together.
 
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Step 1: Materials needed

Picture of Materials needed
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Most good hardware stores should have galvanized pipe and pipe connectors available in 1/2" sizes near the gas or electrical conduit sections. Look for the electrical components in the lighting section, usually in a back corner where replacement sockets are stocked.

For the main housing you'll need:
 * 1 x t-connector. There are several sizes available, make sure you get one with 1/2" connections on all three ends.
 * 1 x 1/2" end cap
 * 1 x reducer or coupler that goes from 1/2" to 1/4" threads
 * 1 x 1/2" short threaded coupler. This is basically a really short pipe that's threaded the entire length.
 * 1 x 1/2" floor flange.

NOTE: See step nine for an alternate list of galvanized parts if you want to hard-wire this sconce into a standard wall receptacle.

For the electrical connections you'll need:
 * A candelabra base keyless socket. There are many types out there, but the ones at my hardware store were adjustable keyless sockets that you can extend to various lengths.
 * Some two-strand electrical cable. Or, if you want to use this as a lamp rather than wiring it up to a wall switch, you can get an extension cable and add an in-line switch pretty easily. Or find an old lamp from good will and use the cable from it. Just make sure it's still in good condition without any frays or breaks in the insulation.
 * A candelabra bulb. These are the lights typically found in nightlights.

Other items:
 * 1/4" threaded "steel nipples".
Note, you will normally find lengths of threaded brass tubes in what's labeled 1/8" IP or IPA. In order to connect to the 1/2" to 1/4" galvanized adapter, you need the 1/4" IP sections. They're just slightly larger with wider-spaced threads.
 * A hacksaw (to cut the threaded pipe and candelabra sections)
 * J-B Weld, either Kwik or normal version, depending on how much time you want to wait for it to set.
 * Clay, play-doh, plumber's putty, or something else similar. This is used in a later step to create a "water dam" for drilling.
 * 1/2" diamond hole saw, preferably a "core" version that drills out a plug of glass. I picked up a two-pack of 1/2" and 1" size bits from Amazon, but there are various types for various prices on the internet or in your local hardware store. 
 * Water. Easy enough to come by, hopefully.
 * A drill press. You could potentially work with a hand drill, but I wouldn't recommend it just for ease of use and accuracy.
 * Rubber washers, or felt, or some kind of foam sheet, or cork.

Heraldo1 year ago
Really great Instructable with well written how-to"s and clear photos. I was a Lineman for over-land construction of Cable TV transmission lines for several years in the 70's and have tons of "found" insulators (and other stuff) that I have used over the years for different projects. Never thought of this one before and I will give it a try! Thanks!
This glass-drilling step was the step I needed. Thanks!
anyheck1 year ago
Ribbed and Silver are Neutral
Smooth and Brass are Hot
spradlinb (author) 1 year ago
Our house is under construction at the moment, so we won't have the sconces in for a final photo until a month or so down the road. I'll definitely update the instructable with the final pics once that happens, though!
Often, you can get glass insulators for sub $5 at yard sales and flea markets. This is a great post. Thanks!
Thanks for the great idea. I've been selling Landscape fixtures using the insulators awhile now but never thought of a wall sconce. My wife would restrict them to my old electrical apparatus room which in Savannah,Ga. includes tons of Insulators of all colors & brands.
Drilling glass requires making sacrifices on occasion, be prepared to destroy something that had become very special too you!
Good Job & idea
Wow VERY cool...!!! Great post....!!!
sdgenxr1 year ago
Love it! I've been looking for the light bits here and there, but now I know exactly what to look for. My goal is to make a table lamp like these: http://www.pearedcreation.com/product-category/creations-2/
Now I just need to find switches that look like valves.
Do you have a picture of these in use you could post? Would love to see them lit up.
spradlinb (author) 1 year ago
The glass insulators were purchased on eBay. My wife found four of them with slight chips for around $15. The total cost per light is somewhere around $30-$35.
These are cool. Couple questions:
1. Where did you find the glass insulators?
2. About how much did the plumbing/electrical cost per lamp?
holidayv1 year ago
these look awesome! Thanks!