This was intended to be my entry for the weekly switch challenge but it took 3 weeks for the switch i ordered on Amazon to be delivered so I missed the deadline but thought I'd go ahead and post this anyway.

Last summer I bought a chrome metal lamp at a garage sale for 5 bucks.    I really liked the chrome.   It worked fine for a while but after a few months the push button switch died.   Rather than simply replace the switch, which had already been done at least once, I thought this would be the perfect lamp for a touch switch.   with a touch switch you simply touch any metal on the lamp and it'll turn on/ off as well as dim.  since every bit of this lamp is metal, it's a perfect choice.  there are several types of touch switches available.  there is one that you plug into the wall and then plug the lamp into it.   This lamp doesn't have a threaded rod down the middle so the socket wiring is isolated from the body so i wasn't sure if that would work.   There is also a touch sensor socket that you screw in and then screw your bulb into that.   This lamp has the socket recessed in to the base so the screw in socket wouldn't work.  I went with the hard wired switch replacement.

To spice up the lamp I painted the base and the underside of the metal lamp shade.  I'm reasonable certain that the paint shouldn't interfere with the touch sensor but I'm typing this before it's complete so fingers crossed......

Step 1: Supplies / Tools

here's a simple supply list.  this may vary depending on your particular lamp.

Supply List
Touch switch
electrical tape
wire nuts
double stick foam tape

Wire cutter
wire stripper
screw driver (if you need to replace the existing socket)

additional supplies that may be required:
replacement socket
18 gauge wire if lamp wiring is bad
replacement felt for underside of lamp base
sacrificial extension cord to use if you need to replace the main power cord.

Before you purchase your switch, check what the electrical load will be so you can get the right sized switch.  Some lamps may have a 300 watt halogen bulb or may have multiple bulbs.  If you have a lamp with 3 sockets, each at 100 watts then that's 300 watts total load. Even if your only going to use 60's, you need to size the switch to handle the maximum.  My lamp has a single socket with a maximum rating of 100 watts.   The switch is rated for 200 watts and I don't go any higher than 60 so this will work fine.  Hopefully in the future I'll swap the incandescent for an LED bulb but currently quality dimmable LED bulbs are out of my price range. 

My local big box store didn't have any of these switch's so I ordered it from Amazon. 

This lamp has a shallow base so I initially thought that I'd have to build a base plate to give enough room for the switch, but I was happily surprised that it fit. 

About This Instructable


111 favorites


Bio: I'm an architect by day. I love doing projects by night, both on my own and with my kids
More by dimtick: Lamp Project.  Adding new life with internal night light and painted shade Pocket Size Accordion Notebook with Business Card Holder Simple Stunt Kite Control Bar
Add instructable to: