Introduction: Retro Mason Jar Nightstand Lamp

This is one beautiful piece that will look great in your home. Moreover, its super easy to build and you can buy almost all the parts at your local thrift shop and home improvement store!


  • Old Lamp
  • Large Wide Mouth Mason Jar With Lid
  • Retro Style Light Bulb
  • (3x) 5" x 3/4" Metal Pipe Pre-Threaded
  • (2x) 45 Degree Metal Angle Pieces 3/4"
  • (1x) 90 Degree Metal Angle Piece 3/4"
  • Scrap Piece of 2x8 Board around 12" long
  • Switch
  • Stain
  • Spray Paint


  • Scissors
  • Soldering Iron
  • Drill With Bits
  • Handsaw or Tablesaw
  • Chisel
  • Wire Strippers

Step 1: Take Apart the Lamp



With the Lamp I used, I cut the wire at both sides of the pre-existing switch since I will be adding my own Switch. Next I unscrewed all the parts holding my lamp together in order to leave just the head (where you screw in the light bulb) and the cable attached to it. It will vary from every lamp stand so make sure to preserve the head of the light as well as the cable coming from it, and you should be good to go.

Step 2: Assemble the Metal Frame

Grab the: (3x) 5" x 3/4" metal tubes that are pre-threaded and attach them together using the (2x) 45 degree angles and the one 90 degree angle on the end (See picture above).

Step 3: Build the Bulb Cover

Using the lid of the Mason jar, we cut a hole in the middle of it. Make sure it is the same size as the head of the lamp where you put the light bulb in (See picture above). The metal plate on the top of the jar is thin enough to cut with scissors, just make sure that there are some little pre drilled holes that way you have a starting point for when you cut. After cutting out the hole, place the head of the lamp in the hole and either glue it in place or tighten with the nut. Some lamps will have a nut while others won't. If yours doesn't have a nut then glue it into the inside of the lamp, that way the glue will be hidden. Make sure to spray paint it if you would like to before gluing it in. Otherwise good luck getting it out!

Step 4: Cutting and Forming the Base

For the Base of the Lamp, I used a 2x8 Board scrap. You can find these for free in trashes of worksites or other places like that. Take it home and cut it to size. It is easier to do with a table saw but it is possible to be done with a handsaw. I cut mine into a piece that was 12" x 6.5" and kept the stock thickness the same. Using my table saw, I also cut bevels into the sides of the base to make it more visually appealing.

The Next part of this step involves cutting the hole for the switch, and the hole for the metal frame to fit into.

First I put a 1" Drill bit on the end of the drill and made a hole at about a 30 degree angle. Doing so would give me the desired look from the lamp stand. Afterwards, drill a 1/4" hole coming through the back into the bottom of the bigger hole. After this I stated to mark and cut out the hole for the switch. If you take your time, it is possible to do this without drilling a hole through the whole piece. Lastly, drill a hole from both sides that way you can run your cables from the power socket and the bulb into the compartment for the switch (See picture above).

Step 5: Painting and Staining

This step is purely subjective. What that means is that you can paint or stain it however you like. I am going to be both painting the metal and staining the wood. I will also put a finish coat over the wood and show you exactly how I do both methods.

Staining the wood:

To Stain the wood all you have to do is get your desired color and grab an old t-shirt or rag. It is important to make sure the surface has been sanded smooth because splintered or rough wood may rip the rag. After you surface is clear of dust and is smooth, soak the rag in the stain. Slather it all over the wood allowing it to soak in. The longer it soaks, the darker it gets (THIS IS IMPORTANT). Once you get to your desired color, let it dry overnight.

Painting the Metal:

Get some sprint paint which says paint and primer in one. Make sure it also says its made for metal too. Usually most spray paints work well with metal. Next, make sure that the surface is smooth and clean to ensure good paint adhesion. Afterwards, hang the pieces up using a thin string and spray paint fast thin coats making sure to move quickly. Let it dry over night. ***DON'T FORGET TO SPRAY PAINT THE LID OF THE MASON JAR AS WELL BEFORE GLUEING IT ONTO THE LAMP HEAD***


For the finish protective coat, I will be using a simple wax. The wax doesn't protect as well as other finishes but what it does give you is a fast drying time as well as a pretty Matte finish. It helps the piece look better and makes it easier to refinish if needed in the future. To apply the wax simply rub it on with a rag. Make sure to rub back and forth to create friction. What this will do is heat up the wax and cause it to penetrate better into the pours of the wood.

Step 6: Soldering

For this step, we are going to be soldering and placing all the components into the wood piece as well as testing it. Make sure to test fit the switch and the metal frame in the wood base before continuing with this step. Next what we are going to do is pull the wires through their respective holes and give us some extra wire out the switch hole. Then strip the ends of the wires to expose the copper inside. Solder the negative terminals together and the positive terminals to each leg of the switch. Make sure you wired it up positive to positive and negative to negative otherwise you might destroy the inside of the lightbulb. Next plug it in and test to see if it works. PLEASE BE CAREFUL. If everything is working and the light turns on once the switch is pressed, then you are good to go onto the next part of this step. UNPLUG THE LAMP!

You can use heat shrink or hot glue to cover and protect the ends of the soldered wires on the switch. Once covered, push the switch in place using a dab of hot glue on the inside of the switch to help secure it in place. Place more hot glue where the wires go into the switch to help secure it even more.

Step 7: Epoxy and Final Touches

To secure the metal frame to the wooden base, we are going to be mixing together two part epoxy and rubbing some on the inside of the hole. Once we push the metal frame into the hole it will harden and not move so make sure to double check that the switch and lightbulb still work as intended.

You can put epoxy the lightbulb head as well if you don't like the way it hangs. Doing so will prevent the light head from swinging. Personally I like the way it swings so I won't be securing it with epoxy. Wait 24 hours until fully hardened.

And you're done! Plug it all it and look at the beautiful lamp you have made!

Make sure to like this instructable and check out the video above if you have any other questions on how to assemble the light!

Step 8: Final Words

This is a very simple and fun build to make. It is important to remember to UNPLUG the light when ever you are working with the wires. This will help keep you and others safe. I hope you enjoy building this project just as much as I did!

Mason Jar Speed Challenge

Participated in the
Mason Jar Speed Challenge