Intro: Neovictorian Lamps
These are some lamps I made to give to my wife's family for the 2016 holidays. They are designed to fit in with a steampunk or neovictorian theme. The center lamp in the first picture went to my wife's mother, and the matching pair are now at home on my wife's aunt's piano. I've made several similar lamps in the past. These were much simpler than some of the others like the fiber optic squid lamp in my other instructable. I took some pictures to document the process of making the matched pair.
Step 1: Gather Materials and Tools
Here are some of the tools I found helpful:
Pliers/wire cutters -- useful for the wiring and bending wire for the cages
Torch -- propane torch pictured, a small butane torch is also sometimes helpful
Solder and flux -- I used the kind used for plumbing
Drill and bits
Sandpaper and fine steel wool
Brass candlesticks -- The lamps are actually old candlesticks flipped upside down and soldered to the bottom sections of some other candlesticks
Copper wire and pipe -- Thick wire forms the "cages", pipe was chosen to fit the candelabra lightbulb sockets
Glass -- I believe these are just drinking glasses from a thrift store. I chose them for their deep green color.
Wiring, etc. -- I sacrificed a couple of really cheap electric candles from a thrift store for their cords, switches, and sockets.
Leather -- This makes the bottom of the lamp soft, so it doesn't scratch the surface it is placed on. I got mine from an old leather jacket.
Light bulbs -- I got some cool Edison-style bulbs from ebay. An example listing can be seen here.
Step 2: Some Assembly Required
So the first series of images shows how the parts were assembled. I soldered them together in roughly this order. First I heated the parts with the torch to burn off the clear laquer that coats most of the brass used for decorative items. Then I just coated the joints I wanted to solder with some flux, heated them with the torch, and touched the solder to the joint and allowed it to flow. I found a dremel useful in cleaning up some of my messy joints. The dremel was also how I cut notches to help attach the cages. Another option would have been using needle files, like I did to make notches for the cords. I did all the soldering before travelling to visit my wife's family, then finished the lamps up there. It was easier to bring some files than a dremel.
Step 3: Cover the Cord
The cords I found for the matching pair of lamps were white. Totally not vintage-looking. Cords are ugly anyway. When possible, I think it's nice to cover them with something like a brown shoelace for a more antique look. I didn't have a shoelace that fit these cords, so I covered part of them with green yarn instead. I split the yarn into two strands instead of four, then repeated the stitch shown above over and over to cover the cord. For this stitch, one of the strands was kept on the "top" side of the cord, and the other was kept on the "bottom" side. There are many better ways to do it I'm sure, but this works well with the flatness of the cord.
Step 4: Make Your Mark
I like to etch my signature into my lamps. I melt some wax onto the brass, carve my name in it, then put some drops of testing acid on the exposed lines. I move the drops of acid around until the whole signature is etched well enough. I found the platinum testing acid on ebay.
Step 5: Wiring
The wiring for these lamps is very simple. Wire is threaded through a center hole. Since I was travelling, I didn't solder the connections, but joined them by hand and covered them with electrical tape. Some hot glue secures the cord to the bottom of the lamp to keep it from pulling out.
Step 6: Cover Your Bases
No one wants to put a rough scratchy piece of brass on their nice piano. Some leather from an old jacket makes a nice soft base. I used super glue to attach it to the lamp, then trimmed the excess with a razor blade.
Step 7: Done!
Well that's it! The lamps aren't perfect, and they're not quite identical, but if they're placed far enough apart they look decent.