Plumber's Lace-curtain Luminaire




What's in a name? Well I could have just called this project "desk lamp," but "Steampunk Plumber's Luminaire" has a much classier ring to it! "Steampunk" because of the design, "Plumber's" in tribute to the plumber who gave me the handle I used for the switch, and "Luminaire" because, weel, it kinda means "desk lamp.";-)

This project was born out of the union of two lamps salvaged from the streets of New York; a pretty generic looking desk lamp and a slightly fancier looking brass finished end table lamp.

Here's how I took two perfectly good, and perfectly boring lamps, and turned them into a luminescent, fully functional work of art.

• Pliers
• Power drill and bits
• Buffer adapter
• Copper spray paint
• Masking tape

• Boring desk lamp
• Fancy end table lamp
• Water pipe handle
• Lace curtain

Step 1: Disassemble Lamps

If I need to tell you to unplug the lamps stop reading this now and move on to another Instructable!;-) Most lamps can be pretty easily disassembled with a pliers, a wire cutter and sometimes a screw driver.

Step 2: Select Parts for New Lamp

Once you've got all your parts, choose the ones you plan to use for your new lamp. What made me decide to make this lamp is that I really liked the brass base, but didn't particularly like the rest of the lamp.  Plus I really wanted to make a lamp that tunred on and off with plumbing pipe handle.

Step 3: Drill Hole in a Base

I thought this base was solid brass which is why I wanted to use it, but I'm kind of glad it wasn't, becuase I'm sure it would have been much harder to drill through. I was amazed at how easy it was to drill holes through this faux-brass base with a cordless power drill and regular old wood drill bit!

The original base only had one hole in the center, and for my design, I needed one hole for the lamp arm, and one for the switch.

Step 4: Polish Base

This base needed a bit of polishing, so I used a polish adapter and some polishing cream, which worked nicely.

Step 5: "What? the Curtains!?"

I decided to try a new technique with this build, and I have to say I'm pleased with the result. The original black lampshade was was just too boring, and I didn't want to go with a solid color paint.

So to give the shade some added flare, I cut a small section of lace from a curtain, and stitched it to the lampshade, with a bit of masking tape to hold it in place. (If you are trimming your mother-in law's curtains, don't let her catch you;-)

With the shade covered with the lace, spray on a coat of copper metallic paint.. Let dry and then remove the lace and tape.

Step 6: Rewire Lamp

Once your paint dries, rewire the lamp. (Hopefully you where paying attention when you took the lamps apart, and can reverse the process;-)

Step 7: Attach Knob to Switch

This handle was designed as a plumbing fixture and not an electrical fixture, so attaching the handle to the lamp switch is literally a case of putting a round peg into a square hole. To achieve this, I cut a nail, and slid it into the switch, so that the square hole in the handle would turn the switch. Then add some epoxy and top off with a brass thumbtack or upholstery nail head.

Step 8: Finished

Here are a few shots of the finished product. I had a lot of fun making this lamp, and I hope my wife will et years of enjoyment looking at it. ~And I hope my mother-in-law doesn't find out I trimmed her curtains;-)

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    8 Discussions

    Winged FistFlishS

    Reply 3 years ago

    Thanks FlishS! When you do make one, please post a photo here in the comments… Look forward to seeing what you come up with!

    Winged FistSIRJAMES09

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks Sir James! The painting was actually the easiest part of this build... If you can use a scissors and press the nozzle on a spray can, you too can probably create this effect;-)


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Very nice. painting through the curtain for its pattern without getting it smudged is an art. Normally its color border will get a little feather & blending. Again, nice work!


    6 years ago on Introduction

    The dark of winter must be getting to you, I love all the lamps you are creating.