Transform ordinary pots or planters into extraordinary table lamps with very little time and money―no electrician required!
A beautiful table lamp is the best finishing touch in a room. Along with a soft glow for reading or ambient light, the lamp’s
shape, color, or texture can add that just-right layer to a room’s look. Instead of searching high and low for the perfect
piece and spending a bundle on an expensive ready-made fixture, try making your own lamp with a pot from the garden shed or
a vase that was a great find at an antiques shop.
The necessary supplies, including an inexpensive lamp kit, can be found online or at your local home-improvement store. Don’t be worried if you’ve never tried your hand at wiring. The kit comes with easy-to-follow directions, and the project requires just three easy steps.
Check your lamp kit for all the parts: threaded pipe, wired socket, hex nuts, washers, fiber disc, and harp. If your threaded pipe was not precut, cut it to measure about 1 inch longer than the height of your pot. Attach the large fiber disc and washer to one end of the threaded pipe, and secure it between two hex nuts―this will go in the base of the pot. Screw the socket on the other end of the pipe, and tighten.
Following the instructions on the box of plaster of Paris, mix enough to fill about one-fourth the depth of your pot. (Editor’s tip: The plaster dries quickly, so be ready to pour immediately after mixing.) Center the pipe, socket side up, inside the pot. Rest the fiber disc on the bottom, and pour in the plaster. Use your trowel to spread the plaster evenly in the pot, and allow it to set for at least one hour. You might need to hold the socket centered for a few minutes.
After the plaster dries enough so that the pipe does not budge, attach the harp to the socket. Place your lampshade atop the harp, and secure with a finial. The cord should run from the side of the socket, over the top edge of the pot, and to an outlet. (Editor’s tip: Stick adhesive felt pads, available at a home-improvement store, on the bottom of the pot so it won’t scratch your table.)
Choose a shade that complements the shape and scale of your lamp base and the colors in your room. This tall, cylindrical vase called for an A-shaped shade. There should be about 1 inch between the bottom of the shade and the top of the base. If necessary, swap out your harp or use a finial riser to ensure a proper fit. Note: Harps come in half-inch size increments.