Stylish and Practical Lamp

About: Hi! I'm Star Simpson! I'm a real me! See more at []. photo by [ Jeff Lieberman] ( stasterisk - my name is Star, and when I was 13 I ...

Here's how to make a stylish and practical room light!

Problem:  The overhead light in my dorm room is too dim and useless.

Solution:  Replace it with something more functional, and of my own design!

Step 1: Make the Lamp

To make the lamp, I scavenged a 120V computer cord, a socket from a broken lamp someone else was throwing away, and a tupperware pitcher.  And I bought a fullspectrum 60W CFL for the bulb.

After slicing both ends off the 120V cord, I trimmed ground (green) so it's hidden by the insulating sheath, and used wire nuts to connect the hot and return lines (white and black) to the Edison socket.

Then, I bandsawed the handle and spout off the pitcher, and drilled holes in the bottom -- one central hole for the cord, and five in a pattern around it, for heat dissipation.

Next, I threaded the cable through the central hole, and used silicone sealant to glue it in place.

Step 2: Install the Lamp

Take down your old, dissatisfactory dorm-issue light that doesn't do much of anything.  I wish I had photos of it, but I was too eager to get rid of it to do any documentation.

You'll want to make sure there's no electricity going to it, so shut off your breakers.  I don't have access to the breakers, so I turned off the room light switch, and taped it down while I was working.  That way I wouldn't forget and accidentally short something, or get eit'd by an erstwhile suitemate.

It's probably installed with wire nuts, so unscrew those.

Then, take the unterminated end of the lamp you made, strip and expose the appropriate wires (white and black), and connect them where the old one was!

Step 3: New Lamp Genius

Now, this lamp has a really fantastic long cord.  This means I can take the lamp and run it directly over anywhere in my room -- my desk, my workbench, my hammock.  I came up with this nifty way to attach it to the ceiling, anywhere I want it

If I were to do it again, I would have run out for some industrial velcro, but I like well how this works:

In this version, I made a very small hole in the ceiling, and repurposed a bobby pin to use as a cotter pin. The pin goes around the cord, flexes, and crosses.  This way, it stays in the hole in the ceiling without falling down!

Participated in the
Light Up the Night! Contest



    • Games Contest

      Games Contest
    • Paint Challenge

      Paint Challenge
    • Barbecue Challenge

      Barbecue Challenge

    10 Discussions


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Cool, i like how you attach the light to the ceiling, very clever :)
    Also awesome hammock !
    Mind me asking what you are studying atm ?

    2 replies

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks!  If it's not clear from my workbench, I do electrical engineering with a sprinkling of computer science


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Awww... you should have left the handle on.

    Perhaps you should cover up the exposed wiring with something. The pitcher's lid? A serving tray? That frisbee in that picture?

    2 replies

    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Heh, perhaps -- it would have hung sideways, though.

    I'd like to!  I'll get my blue paint back out, at very least -- but that frisbee is a tool!  I use it as the perfect shallow and nonreactive dish for soaking my board etches in :)


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    Hmm,  a slight repositioning of the hole for the cord would have redistributed the weight.   Still this gives me a lot of ideas (we have such goofy light fixtures in the old apt. where I live).  Thanks.


    9 years ago on Introduction

    Love the simpleness of it - I REALLY like reflected light, but that wouldn't work so well with a blue ceiling.  'up-aiming' lights are so much less harsh.

    Thats quite an amazing idea!

    Really simple instuctable which makes this much
    idiot proof. Unfortunately, i cannot do this instructable
    because there is  no ceiling light fixture  in my room,
    only a bunch of desk lamps surrounding me at this
    desk which is much too crowded already. :P


    1 reply


    You can always make do if you want to, e.g. by running a cable from an outlet, to the ceiling.  Alternatively, there are many ways to make creative and stylish desk and floor lamps!