Introduction: Pipe Lamp

Picture of Pipe Lamp

A few weeks ago on Boing Boing, they showed off some pipe lamps being sold on etsy. At 200 bucks each i figured i could make my own for a fraction of the cost and have fun doing so.

These lamps are functional and cheap! it cost 30 bucks to make one lamp.

GENERAL WARNING: Although this project involves very little steps it does involve AC power. Please use caution when doing projects using AC outlet power. If you are not comfortable with simple wire soldering and heat shrinking, please use caution with this project.

Step 1: Supplies

Picture of Supplies

For this instructable you will need the following, note that the pipe choices can vary depending on what kind of lamp you want.

Various sizes of galvanized pipe to build your lamp base. (i used 1/2")
1 candelabra style bulb fixture (i chose this one for it's small size)
1 candelabra bulb
AC plug with in-line roll switch
Heat shrink

tools needed:
Soldering iron

Step 2: Bulid the Lamp Base

Picture of Bulid the Lamp Base

first you want to build the lamp base and see what the final product will look like. Once you have something you like you can tighten the pipes together.

Step 3: Wire the Socket

Picture of Wire the Socket

Next fit the bulb socket into the end where you want the light to shine from. Next solder the ac plug to the socket wiring.

Heat shrink your wires afterwards for safety.

Step 4: Put the Bulb In

Picture of Put the Bulb In

Lastly install the bulb and turn it on! The first time i turned it on i was sure to have a circuit breaker attached so i could avoid any problems if i did something wrong, but i didn't need it.

If you have ideas for cool and interesting lamps post them in the comments below.


sheba29657 (author)2017-11-12

Hi Big Jack, Thanks so much for the info on the pipe lamp, you did a great job and I will make some myself. Shirley Worden

dhreidy (author)2016-06-22

Is it necessary to solder the socket?

Big.Jack.Jazz made it! (author)2015-09-01

A nice steampunk-eye-candy for a bed room!

I used some tape to fill difference between the socket and the pipe (that's an adaptor from 1/2" to 3/4" pipes).

Next step, maybe, fix it to a wall...

Andreas2307 (author)2011-10-19

Here is my Version. I used a 12v AC Adapter and a Halogen Bulb.

videoyani. (author)Andreas23072015-07-14

Its very funny, i make a very similar design (Parallel universe) . Me
too used a socket for led, but a have a problem because my lamp
overheats. I will try with a Halogen Bulb.

NorEaster (author)Andreas23072015-04-29

Johnny Number 5 !

terrapol (author)Andreas23072012-10-18


JulienLachance made it! (author)2015-06-16

hi! I loved your instructable and I tried it, but a little bit different. Thank you for sharing your experience, it's a really nice project!

McGee 2021 made it! (author)2014-12-05

very easy to do and a fun project.

NorEaster (author)McGee 20212015-04-29

Awesome, I wanted to do a floor lamp version myself but still haven't figured out how the power switch part would work/be positioned.

Is there some spacer or piece that allows a gap for access to the little clicker switch?

mykiscool (author)2013-12-24

What are those round pipe holder bracket things called? I tried looking up pipe bracket, pipe mount, and pipe holder and couldn't find them.

jackbomber (author)mykiscool2014-04-29

Pipe "Flanges" is what I think you mean.

Adambowker98 (author)2012-12-26

How did you mount the light socket in the pipe?

BTW, great job! It looks really nice.

BrianJewett (author)2011-05-21

There's no need to stuff a plastic socket into a pipe fitting. Standard lamp pipe is 1/8" and 1/4" npt. It mates perfectly well with pipe fittings of the same size. I just use a reducer and connect a proper lamp socket.

For those who haven't discovered it yet, has the best selection of lamp parts in the universe and great pricing as well. It also has groundable sockets.

I also agree that this thing really needs at least a grommet or preferably a strain relief at the bottom. Unless it NEVER moves, this has probably cut through the insulation by now.

cyclopsed (author)BrianJewett2012-09-17

Thanks for the tip on that website- It's awesome!

arsenaltoyz (author)2012-09-11

it is pretty cool....i think it would look equally as good with painted pvc

onrust (author)2012-08-26

This is cool as heck!

SIRJAMES09 (author)2012-08-24

I love this idea!!!

to personalize it for myself. I would have a flexible shaft on it....but I love the idea!!
TY for sharing. 8)

faitheternal (author)2012-04-12

How did you secure the light socket inside the pipe? I've been trying to figure out how the maker of Kozo Lamps did it, and I can't figure it out! Any ideas?

SIRJAMES09 (author)2011-12-21

Q for whoever wishes to answer.

is it NOT a good idea to use schedule 40 pipe for a lamp?
Schedule 40 pipe is that white thick walled plumbing pipe used for water
lines usually.

I'm just wondering if the lamp would get too hot for that,..

Or if it would not be stable enough(IE: be susceptible to tipping over too easily & causing problems that way)?

jiajunwang (author)2010-08-31

it looks nice, but wouldn't it be dangerous to use non-coated metal directly on electrical stuff?

SIRJAMES09 (author)jiajunwang2011-12-21

it would only be dangerous IF, if the insulation around the wire was penetrated exposing the bare wires....THEN, the whole lamp has the potential of being electrified.. Beyond that, I do not see how it it possible.

As long as the insulation covering the wires themselves is ok, you'll be fine

joerice01 (author)jiajunwang2010-08-31

Also i don't see why he needs to join two cables. Couldn't you just run the flex right to the top of the pipe and connect it to the lamp connector

static (author)joerice012010-09-06

Appears to me that a small base lamp was the choice, and a small base lamp holder with the wires factory attached was used. With no way of attaching user provided lamp cord directly to socket terminals.

joerice01 (author)static2010-09-07

Ahh i see. Good to see people recycling. haha

joerice01 (author)jiajunwang2010-08-31

Using double insulating would help with the safety. Also connecting the exposed metal to ground if available in your country.

it_dont_work (author)jiajunwang2010-08-31

if your worried that heat shrink isnt enough. you could use some polly pipe as a sleave through the metal piping. but the heat shrink should be perfectly safe if it isnt cheap suff.

bombmaker2 (author)jiajunwang2010-08-31

That's why he heat shrunk all the connections, but I agree, it is kinda risky.

digitlacid (author)2010-09-19

Thanks for the great instructable, it was inspiring! Here is my take on the idea. . .
By the way, if you want cheap "old-timey" bulbs, go to I got my 30w Radio bulb for $1.71 as opposed to $10+ elsewhere.

Andreas2307 (author)digitlacid2011-10-19

Like your T Piece switch, might just "steel" the idea! Yeah I'm lame like that!

rbrix (author)digitlacid2011-07-22

what kinda switch are you using ? homemade?

digitlacid (author)rbrix2011-07-22

No, it's just a standard in-line switch that you can buy pretty much anywhere they sell lamp parts. Here is one online for a couple of bucks:

rbrix (author)digitlacid2011-07-22

ahh, I think I mistoke the wire exit for the switch

digitlacid (author)rbrix2011-07-22

Ahhh. The wire exit IS homemade. The hole from the plumbing pipe was too big in my opinion, so I superglue'd a skateboard bearing to the pipe, then a bearing spacer to the bearing to step the opening down to just larger than the circumference of the wire. This has the added benefit of reducing friction if you move the wire, as the inside of the bearing spins with it :) I hope that answers your question

PublicArt (author)digitlacid2010-10-17

I love your setup!

digitlacid (author)PublicArt2011-07-22

Hey! Thanks very much!

Andreus Felipen (author)2011-07-06

This instructable should be featured

rachelmaryb (author)2011-02-13

I am not going to mention which body part this looks like, I am not going to mention which body part this looks like, I am not going to mention which body part this looks like. Dang it! I just did!

cyborn95 (author)rachelmaryb2011-03-26


dwendell (author)2010-09-02

Just a thought. If you wanted a more "upscale" look for the finished product, a plumbing supply store would probably have all the same parts in brass pipe, which you could polish up and then spray with lacquer to preserve the finish.

kuptis (author)dwendell2010-10-18

Copper would look really nice.

neonrocks (author)2010-09-10

this looks like an awkward body part. I was thinking of building it but then i thought to myself, "how many people are going to think this is some kind of innuendo?"

Carleyy (author)2010-09-07

looks great!

mckeephoto (author)2010-09-05

This was wonderful. It is also the inspiration for my pipe wall lamps. Thank you for posting it! Here is my version if you are interested

edoucette32 (author)2010-09-04

I totally agree with Mikerm19... I lose count looking around my house at all the metal devices that are NOT grounded! BUT, having said that I also agree that if you build this you should try to incorporate some kind of strain relief into it to minimize the chance of cord damage. Other than that, I love this project and will be looking to build my own version in the not to distant future!

laci37 (author)2010-09-02

You must connect all metal parts to ground! like this the lamp is quite dangerous.

fly_boy_bc (author)laci372010-09-02

Frankly as-is this thing is a death trap. And illegal in most places. 2 key concepts: GROUND the chassis! Google the term "strain relief"

jerhpk (author)fly_boy_bc2010-09-03

as long as the wiring is insulated, and properly soldered / wrapped, and as long as the bulb fixture is properly insulated, current *should not* get transferred to the base. Keeping the base insulated from the building will also prevent destruction of property. The best bet on wiring is to run a three wire setup (third wire being *duh* ground), second best should be polarized - for those in AC communities. I should mention: I'm not an electrician, but I've absorbed some voltage over the years.

fly_boy_bc (author)jerhpk2010-09-03

Jerhpk. What you are saying is absolutly INCORRECT! Yes if the wiring is properly insulated and properly soldered/shrink wrapped etc. you will not get a shock.....TODAY! But in a few years time with a metal cabinet (like water pipes) the insulation WILL wear out SOMEWHERE and this item WILL be DEADLY. There is a reason this person would be subject to arrest if he sold these in this condition. I have been involved in the manufacture of A/C powered devices all of my career (30+years) and have seen the most robust insulation fail in an amazingly short time due to environment. In a highly ozinated environment this lamp would become a deadly killing machine in a matter of weeks.

Bernie_R (author)2010-09-03

Bernie Says: Being a metal construction it shouls have a three pin plug and an earth conection. Regarding the soldering, I also solder everything but that is the difference between Electrical "Gurus" and Electronic "Gurus". However, it would pay to check the solder connections to make sure there are no spikes and put insulation or rubber tape around the joint before the heatshrink.

About This Instructable




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