DIY Lighting Project: How To Make a Swing Arm Wall Sconce

updated Dec 19, 2019
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(Image credit: Dabney Frake)

I’m a big fan of DIY lighting projects— once you get the basics down, an entire world of lamps, sconces and pendants open up to you. Here’s everything you need to make this industrial-style swing arm wall sconce. A pair would look really nice on either side of your bed, wouldn’t it?

For this project, I purchased all supplies from Grand Brass. They are located in New York, but you can do all your shopping online, and even have a tech help line in case you’re not sure of what you need, or how to proceed. I included all parts numbers here for easy shopping. If you don’t want a special sconce color (to then paint), order the same parts but in your desired finish. For one lamp, I spent about $65, including shipping.

What You Need

Materials (for one lamp)

  • A. Parabolic metal shade (SHPBST)
  • B. Brass Keyless Socket (SO9347CB)
  • C. 1/8 IPS adjustable brass swivel (SV140NP)
  • D. 1/8 IPS 12″ brass pipe stem x 2 (PIBR12-0X8)
  • E. 1/8 IPS nickel plated swivel X 2 (SV516NP)
  • F. Canopy kit (CA04)
  • G. Steel washers x3 (WA1-1/4X8)
  • H. Hex Head Nipple (NIH900)
  • I. Black and white wire X 4ft. each (WI18AWMW and WI18AWMBL)
  • J. Ground Strap with 1/8 IPS lug (WIGS1/8)
  • Primer (or spray paint with primer)
  • Spray paint (optional)
  • Painters Tape


  • Phillips head screwdriver
  • Flat head screwdriver


(Image credit: Dabney Frake)

1. Before you get started, give your pipes and shades a good bath. They come from the factory with a good bit of oil on them. If you paint them (as I do in this project) you’ll want them to be free and clear of grease. This includes fingerprints, so do your best not to touch them once they’re clean.

(Image credit: Dabney Frake)

2. Once all of your parts are clean, tape off any areas that you don’t want painted — including the threads on the pipes— so there’s no paint build up to prevent them from screwing in nicely. This means taking your socket apart, and spray painting each of the individual parts.

(Image credit: Dabney Frake)

3. Lightly cover all the parts with primer (so there are no drips), then several coats of paint. Let them dry completely before moving on, as you’ll be all over this lamp’s business while you assemble and install it. You don’t want to ruin your new paint job.

(Image credit: Dabney Frake)

4. Assemble the lamp using the chart above, starting at the bottom, and threading your wire through as you go. Pause before you add the socket. To enlarge the chart, click here. Bending the swivels makes it easier for the wire to pass through.

Tip: The number of washers you use behind the canopy may vary. Too many and you won’t be able to screw in the hex nipple all the way, and too few will cause everything to spin around willy-nilly.

5. When everything is together, start threading your socket parts, one by one, onto the wire, in the right order. Wire the socket before you put it back together. If you don’t know how to do this, see our earlier post on how to make a lamp out of anything or this video on how to install a dimmer switch in a lamp.

6. Screw your socket into the metal shade, and you’re ready to install.

DON’T FORGET TO TURN OFF THE BREAKER BEFORE YOU REMOVE OR INSTALL ANY LIGHTING. If you don’t feel comfortable, ask someone to help you who knows what they are doing.

7. Wire the sconce to the electrical box on the wall. If you don’t know how to remove an existing sconce, or how to install your new one, see our earlier posts.

Tip: It helps to have someone hold the sconce for you while you do the necessary wiring. These buggers get a little heavy.

(Image credit: Dabney Frake)

8. If your electrical box is metal, screw the copper ground wire coming out of the box into the cross bar (there’s a little screw for this purpose). If your electrical box is plastic, attach the copper strap (WIGS1/8) to the hex nut on the back of the canopy, then attach it to the ground wire coming out of your electrical box.

9. When everything is wired properly, attach the canopy to the wall using the cross bar and screws that come with the kit.

(Image credit: Dabney Frake)

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