Graduation Ceremony
Lamps Class

Congratulations! You have graduated from beginner lamp making!! You now have the skills and tools you need to keep making the styles we covered AND to start exploring new lamp frontiers.

Selling Homemade Lamps

If you have hopes and dreams of eventually selling your homemade lamps, here is my take* on the low down.

While it's not illegal to sell a portable (swag pendant, table, or floor) lamp without having the assembly tested and certified by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory, it really gets down to liability, aka who's legally responsible if a lamp you make causes a fire.

If for example, you are making shades or lamp bases only and selling them with commercially pre-assembled and certified cord sets (with the socket, plug, and switch pre-wired) that the customers add to the shade/base themselves, the legal responsibility would fall on the certification lab and the manufacturer of the cord set if something were to happen (like a fire) and you should be free of liability.

If you are doing the assembly/wiring yourself for portable lamps, you can sell them legally without having them tested and certified, but I would consider following the steps outlined below to lower your liability risk:

  • Ask a business lawyer what type of business structure would protect you best from personal liability (LLC, S Corp, etc.) and make it so.
  • Get liability insurance. Really, do it.
  • Have a local UL certified lamp repair shop check out your parts and assembly to make sure that you are doing all you can to satisfy the safety requirements, making your risk as low as possible.
  • That same shop might be able to approve and add a UL listed sticker to a small batch of your lamps for a reasonable amount. (My local shop charges $75 for 12 lamps.) But remember that they are assuming some liability by doing that, so not all shops are willing to take on that risk.
  • Alternatively, you can buy a printed version of the UL 153: Portable Electric Luminaires standard, which outlines all the safety requirements and tests done on portable lamps, for about $900 here. This way you can make absolutely sure that you're following all the guidelines.
  • Make sure to specify to your customers that the lamps are for home use only. Anything sold that goes in a work environment is subject to OSHA standards, which are much more stringent. Read their Frequently Asked Questions for Product Manufacturers and Suppliers (at bottom of page) for more info.
  • Also consider adding a 'Terms & Condition of Purchase' section to your website (and maybe even your sales tags) that makes it clear that the customer assumes responsibility for determining if the lamp is safe for their intended use of it. Farmstead Iron Works does a great job of wording this. See their terms and conditions for this product.

*This is not legal advice, just my own thoughts on this topic. Be sure to do your own research and move forward with what you think will be best for you.

Make a Lamp Instructable!

I hope you've enjoyed this class and that you will continue to keep illuminating the world with your creations.

If you do come up with a new shade or lamp idea that you'd like to share, I encourage you to make an instructable so that everyone can benefit from your smart pants and creative spirit! To create an instructable, click here and to see if your instructable qualifies for any of our awesome contests (with awesome prizes), click here.

Class Feedback

Please let me know what you thought of this class by sending me a message via my Instructables member profile page. If you have any suggestions on ways I can improve it, I want to hear about them!

Thanks again and happy making!



Share a photo of your finished project with the class!

Nice work! You've completed the class project