Introduction: Restoring an Old Lamp

About: I'm an Electronics Engineer who likes to make Doze Lamps, Lumen Powered Thingamajigs, Almighty Brainy Buttons, Tweeting Weather Stations and share them on Instructables.


  1. Restoring Old Lamp.
  2. Restored Lamp.

The table lamp has a corner on every maker,tinkerer and DIYer's worktable. It is one of the most underated tool, but is still very important as it lights up the entire work area. Some of these lamps may be new, but others could be old. These old lamps can sometimes be rusty, dirty, paint peeling off, etc. But once restored & repainted, these old lamps turn into classic antique or cool modern lamps depending on how you decide to restore them.

In this instructable I will teach you how to restore an Old Lamp. The one I will be restoring is roughly 18-20 years, made of Iron (Fe) and also has springs (in order to adjust the height/length of the lamp).

Step 1: Things You Will Need


  1. Spray Paint.
  2. WD-40.
  3. Oil.
  4. Sand Paper.
  5. Dish Cleaning Sponge.
  6. Screwdriver.
  7. Wire Cutter/ Sleever.
  8. Metal File.


  1. Spray Paint (You can choose the Colour).
  2. WD-40 or any other rust penetrating oil.
  3. Oil
  4. Sand Paper.
  5. Dish Cleaning Sponge. (It should be quite rough).
  6. 3 Pin 5A plug.
  7. Mask.
  8. Electrical Tape.


  1. Screwdriver
  2. Wire Cutter/ Sleever.
  3. Metal File.

Step 2: The Old Lamp - Unplug & Remove the Bulb


  1. Old lamp with bulb.
  2. Removing bulb from socket.
  3. Bulb removed from socket.
  4. Rusty Old Lamp.
  5. Rusty Old Lamp.
  6. Rusty Old Lamp.
  7. Rusty Old Lamp.

So as described before the old Lamp was rusted. Since it was white in colour it has now turned off-white due to dust and dirt. All the joints and moving parts are either jammed or really sluggish. The plug too has got really old and doesnt fit into the socket with ease.

The first thing you must do is to unplug the lamp plug from the socket. Also remove the bulb from the bulb socket. This will ensure you do not break the bulb while restoring the lamp.

Step 3: Removing Rust

  1. Rust.
  2. Rust.
  3. Rubbing surface with rough sponge.
  4. Scraping the metal surface with emery paper.
  5. Surface after scraping.
  6. Filing the metal surface.
  7. Filing the metal surface.
  8. Removing Rusty Spring.
  9. Rusty Spring removed inorder to paint separately.

What is Rust?

Rust is basically the product formed by the reaction between a metal and oxygen in the air. If you have a Iron Lamp, the oxygen in the air reacts with the iron to form iron oxide OR rust. This process is called corrosion. Rust can spread rapidly. It also damages the surface and the structure of the metal.

How to remove Rust?

Start by identifying the rusted areas on the surface. Spray some WD-40 on it. Then rub the rusty surface with a rough sponge. The rust will gradually get removed. But its not done yet. The rust could still be under the paint. Hence you must start to scrape the paint of with emery or sand paper. Once the surface of the metal is visible gently take remove any remaining rust with a metal file.

The rust should be removed by now.

Note: Take out any removable parts and paint them separately so that they dont cause any obstruction while painting. E.g: Springs.

Step 4: Priming and Painting.


  1. Scraping Paint Surface.
  2. Sprayer of Spray Can.
  3. Spraying Paint directly on Lamp.
  4. Spraying Paint directly on Lamp.
  5. Lamp covered in Spray Paint.
  6. Spring painted separately.

This is the crucial part. If you dont prime and paint the metal surface fast, it will start to corrode once again. Sometimes priming isn't really necessary on areas which are not rusted and still have the paint stuck to the metal firmly. In this type of case you can scrape the painted surface and then directly start painting on top of it. Priming does give a better finish and also adds that extra layer of protection from corrosion.

While priming paint two layers of primer with an interval of 10 minutes between each layer. Once fully primed, sand it with some emery paper to make the surface really smooth. This will give it that beautiful smooth finish.

Choose some really cool colour combinations for your lamp. You can also choose a solid colour. Or even metallic. Or Fluoroscent. Or Glow in the Dark. Choose a colour that best suits you and dont be afraid of experimenting with various colour combinations.

Step 5: Lubricating & Oiling

IMAGES: Lubricating all moving parts and joints.

The job is not done yet. Lubricating all the joints and moving parts is another crucial part in restoring your lamp. Any Spring, Screw, Bolt should be lubricated. Also any moving or adjustable part should be lubricated too. This will ensure these moving parts dont get stuck or sluggish. Once lubricated they will move swiftly, smoothly and give you no trouble.

Tip: Don't over do it by adding to much of oil. This could cause the oil to fall of the desired area or moving part.

Step 6: Wiring


  1. Old 2 Pin Plug.
  2. New 3 Pin Plug.
  3. New Plug Connections.

Change the wire if its really old. Make sure the new wire does not have any cuts and does not short. Attatch a New plug if necessary. Make sure you connect the LIVE & NEUTRAL properly and securely. You can choose to GROUND the lamp if necessary.

Now all thats left is choosing the right bulb in terms of wattage and colour. For a desk or table lamp, a standard 11W CFL bulb will do just fine. The colour can be choosen according to the paint.

Step 7: Restoration Complete

  1. Restored Lamp.
  2. Restored Lamp.
  3. Restored Lamp.
  4. Restored Lamp.
  5. Well Lit work table.

Once completed the Restored Lamp will look as Good as New. Share your Restored Old Lamp ideas and colour combinations in the comments section below. If you like this instructable feel free too 'Favourite' & 'Vote' for this Instructable. Also 'Follow' me on Instructables so that you can get instant updates to any of my present and future instructables.

Step 8: Safety & Warning


  1. While restoring the lamp make sure it is not plugged into a AC Mains power supply.
  2. Make sure you have removed the bulb before restoring.
  3. While painting always wear a mask.
  4. Use Electrical tape for any wire joints if necessary.
  5. While spray painting aim the sprayer away from your body at all times.
  6. While spraying WD-40 or any rust penentrating oil aim the sprayer away from your body at all times.


  1. If you do not know how to re-wire the lamp, consult a certified electrician.
  2. 220-240V AC is dangerous. Do not touch a Live wire. You can get electrocuted.
  3. WD- 40 and Spray Paints are extremely flammable (Propane).
  4. Keep the WD-40 & Spray Paint away from Heat, Sparks, Open flame, etc.
  5. WD-40 & Spray Paint can be Harmful if swallowed.
  6. Do not puncture or incinerate the WD-40 and Spray Paint Cans.

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