A pair of matching lamps can be a large investment, and it's not always easy to find exactly what you're looking for. A cheaper alternative is to roll up your sleeves, pull out the power drill, and make your own perfect pair by using twin vases and lamp kits. You may be surprised at how straightforward the process is - and, of course, this tutorial works for anyone who has a solo vase they'd love to upgrade, too!
I found these two vessels during a mega-sale at Hobby Lobby and really liked the finish and the shape. I purchased the pair for under $40, picked up two lamp kits and a few additional accessories from Menard's, and headed home.
What You Need
- 2 matching vases
- 2 lamp kits
- 2 1/8" steel nipples
- 2 matching lamp shades
- Lamp base (optional)
- Vase cap (optional)
- Drill and drill bits
- Flathead screwdriver
- Measuring tape
- Pencil or marker
1. Decide which end is up and attach a lamp base if needed. I really liked these vases upside-down and when I positioned them so, I found that I wouldn't need to purchase a lamp base because the cord would be able to feed out of one of the holes in the backside.
2. If your decorative vessel doesn't already have one, attach the vase cap. Most vase caps will come pre drilled, but if you're simply using the bottom of your existing vase, mark the spot where you plan to position the socket.
3. Use a center punch and make a dent where the hole needs to be drilled.
4. I like to start off slow and drill a much smaller hole, working my way up to the size I need, just in case the hole is off or the metal catches and needs to be cleaned up.
5. The lamp kit will come with a nipple, but it's really tiny (see above), so it's a good idea to purchase a larger pack depending on the thickness of your vase/vessel.
6. With the locknut in place, thread the nipple out from the interior of the vase so that it sticks out at least 3/4".
7. Thread the neck onto the nipple, be sure to leave at least 1/4" sticking out so you can easily attach the socket cap.
8. Your kit will probably come with the socket pre-assembled, so to dis-assemble, simply pop the socket cap (middle piece in photo above) off to reveal the three pieces that make up the socket.
9. Thread the end of the cord with exposed wires through the drilled opening in your lamp base or the open area of your decorative vase as shown here.
10. Run the cord up through the nipple.
11. Place the harp bottom on the neck.
12. Pop the socket cap on top of the harp base and secure in place by tightening the screw at the base.
13. Pull the wires apart so that each side is approximately 3" long.
14. Tie the wires together in an underwriter's knot. Pull the knot taut, so that it is small enough to fit inside the socket interior.
15. Identify the ribbed wire- this is the neutral conductor.
16. Connect neutral conductor to the silver screw on the socket by twisting the copper wire around the screw and tightening in place with a screwdriver.
17. Connect the other conductor to the brass screw and tighten in place.
18. Feed any excess wire back into the lamp and slip the socket shell over into the socket cap.
19. Insert the harp back into the harp bottom. Place the sleeves around to secure in place.
20. Repeat this process with your second decorative vase, add beautiful lampshades, and you're all set!
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