Introduction: Three Upcycled Lamps

This instructable is a continuation of a previous project where I upcycled an old wooden table leg into a pepper mill (check it out). I had a couple of pieces left over and they felt 'lampish' so I decided to to make some lamps. First I brought over these old Ikea-looking ceiling lights I spotted in an abandoned container near my house. After cleaning them up a little and taking them apart to see how their connected I design three different lamps. Of course it took some tinkering and playing around but I will only cover the final products here.

All the materials I used were upcycled, from the wooden leg and the lights to the mirror ornaments I made into legs for one of the lamps. The only power tool I used was a drill with a variety of bits including multiple extensions for the deep drill on the torch lamp. In addition I used the following:

-nuts, bolts and screws

-wire cutter and stripper


-wood chisel

-light switches and plugs (new or reused)

-saw (if you need one)

Step 1: Safety and Wiring


Messing with electricity is dangerous! Make sure to check all your wires and connector for exposed metal before plugging your lamps in.

Unplug the lamp from the socket when doing any work on it.


The light housing will have two wire coming out of it: a 'live' and 'neutral' wire (brown and blue accordingly). Make sure to connect the same colors to one another while wiring and not cross them, it may still work but it is less safe. A third wire might be seen, the 'ground' or 'earth', colored yellow with green. The ground is only necessary if you are using metal as part of your lamps body, in which case the ground should be well secured to said metal part.

To add a simple lamp switch (most lamp switches and dimmers will be like this) start by stripping the outer layer of your wire careful not to cut the insulation of the wires inside. The length you want to expose is slightly less than the length of you switch. The only wire you will cut is the neutral (blue), cut it in the middle and expose the tips. wind the exposed wires up and secure them to both sides of the switch. Tuck the other wires away and close the switch up.

Last part is the plug. Strip and connect the wires according to the diagram on your plug, the ground will always be the middle one if you used one.

Step 2: First Lamp - Hourglass

The first lamp was the simplest. I liked the way two of these domes fit one on top of the other in an hourglass shape so all I really had to do was connect them somehow.

First I drilled two holes on the top of one dome .I then used those holes to mark ad drill holes in the second dome. Once the holes were aligned I secured them domes to one another with two bolts and nuts.

After the lamp felt sturdy I rerouted both wires to one side and connected them together in one connector which in turn connected to the switch and plug.

As a last touch I drill a small hole at the bottom for the wire so that the lamp isn't lopsided. start with a 2 mm hole and work your way to you wires diameter.

Step 3: Second Lamp - Mushroom

The short end of the leg didn't leave me much to work with, after a bit of playing around I figure out what to do with it. First I had to clear room for the housing, I marked the size of the hole I needed and got to work.

First I drilled a bunch of 4 mm holes, then proceeded to expand them to 7 and 10 mm holes until most of them met. Using a chisel I took out most of the insides that have been broken down. I then marked my circle with the chisel not too deep, just enough to leave a mark. Now it was slow and careful work to chisel out my hole chip by chip until the housing fit nicely.Once the housing fit I drilled another hole for the wire to come out the side.

Installing the mushroom looking dome was complicated, it took a few attempts to figure out how to hold it sturdy at a reasonable height. I came across these bamboo skewers in my workshop, they were pretty strong and a bit bendy which was perfect. The skewers also fit perfectly inside the plastic part that use to hold the housing, said part attaches directly to the dome. Using a random piece of wood that fit I fastened the skewers together near the top, leaving enough to stick in the plastic. Make sure to secure at two levels so the dome cant swivel and to drill holes before inserting the screw. Finally I secured the skewers to the wooden base at two levels (good thing it was bendy) and added the switch and plug.

Step 4: Third Lamp - Torch

The last lamp was a little tricky. I wanted to get the wire all the way through to the bottom but didn't have a long enough drill bit. On top of that, I wanted to repeat the same process as the last lamp (chisel a big hole), but the diameter at the top of my wood was barely wider than the housing's.

The first problem I solved with these drilling extensions. I drilled a 10 mm as perpendicular and deep as I could in the center (see method of finding the center in another instructable of mine). Then I used an 8 mm drill bit with a hexagon end with an increasing amount of extenders. The process was slow since the sawdust has no place to exit and I had to keep pulling the drill out to clear it. After working slowly from both ends I finally got a path for the wire through the wood. I drilled an additional hole for the wire to come out the side.

Chiseling the hole at the top was even harder, my first attempt broke of the rim and cut my hand in process. The idea was to repeat the steps I took in the mushroom lamp, but now the stakes were higher. After shortening the wood to remove the broken piece I took another go at it, much more slowly and carefully. The wood still chipped a little but I kept the pieces that broke off and the glued back together seamlessly.

With the success of overcoming my challenges all I had left was to add something at the base of the wood to stabilize it. I used two tin ornaments that were on this mirror I found when I moved in. After examining my different options I decided to bend two of them in a 90 degree angle and attach one on each side. It's not super sturdy because the tin is flexible, but it does the job. Finally I attached a switch an plug and was done.

Trash to Treasure Contest

Participated in the
Trash to Treasure Contest