Introduction: Black Iron Pipe Lamp

For a project, I was challenged with creating something using only readily available materials and supplies. Since the lock down has shut down a lot of the non-essential stores in my town, I turned to Home Depot and found the inspiration to make a pipe lamp. Pipe lamps are stylishly industrial and surprisingly expensive, so I decided to make my own version out of things that can easily be found at your local hardware store.


Pipe lamps tend to vary widely in size and shape, so there's no definitive list of parts that you'll need. This is what I used, but feel free to change it up! I stuck with a 1/2 inch diameter for all of my pipes and fittings.

Six-way black iron cross (1/2 inch diameter) x2

Black iron floor flange (1/2in) x2

Black iron tee (1/2 in) x1

Black iron elbow 90 degree (1/2in) x1

1/2x4in pipe (nipple fitting) x1

1/2x6in pipe (nipple fitting) x2

1/2x3in pipe (nipple fitting) x1

1/2x3.5in pipe (nipple fitting) x2

Build-your-own-lamp kit x1

Ecosmart soft white 40 watt classic glass bulbs x1 box

Flathead screwdriver

Needle nose pliers

Once you've picked up those supplies, it's time to play around with some pipes.

Step 1: Building the Lamp's Body

There aren't really any rules to building your lamp's body. It's more of something to have fun with and see what you like. I do have a few general tips though:

I recommend using a pair of gardening gloves while screwing the pipes and fittings in. The pipes can be a bit greasy, and the gloves help give you a bit more grip.

Be sure to screw the pipes in tight, but not so tight that you can't turn them. The beauty of a homemade pipe lamp is that you're able to change out parts as you see fit, so make sure that you're still able to remove the fittings without much trouble.

Step 2: Adding the Lamp's Guts

Now we come to the most difficult part of this project, and even then this is still super simple. Because I have an aversion to drilling, I fed the wires through the back of the topmost six-way cross fitting.

Feed your wires through the lamp's body before threading them through the bulb's bottom socket.

Once you've done that, tie the ends of the wire into what's called an "underwriter's knot". Here you can find a link to a video that I found very helpful.

Then take the needle nose pliers and fold the ends of the wires into little hooks.

Now hook the wire ends into the socket's terminals. The "neutral" wire should have ridges on it, while the "hot" wire is smooth. You should observe that there are two different screws on the sides of the socket, a brass screw and a silver screw. The neutral wire connects to the silver screw and the hot wire connects to the brass screw.

Tighten those screws with a flat head screwdriver so the wires don't flip out.

Slip the cover back over the top of the socket and make sure it's in there snugly.

Step 3: Let There Be Light

For the final step, screw in the light bulb. Plug your new lamp in and bask in the glow of your success.

Final note: I know the bulb socket is a little wobbly on the top of the lamp, and I still haven't figured out how to make it stop wobbling. Just a small issue I encountered. I'm sure y'all can come up with some creative solutions to this!

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