DIY Lamps: SO EASY

Although DIY’s have grown exponentially most recently due in large part to the lack of financial stability everywhere…there’s still something to be said about being able to put almost anything together. I pretty much figure that resourcefulness becomes almost second nature when it’s needed. NO. It isn’t gloating in any way, shape or form. Rather, it’s a good feeling to be self sufficient- even if only to acquire the most necessary.

Recently, I lost a much needed lighting source in one of the bedrooms. The only lamp I had in there broke. I got to thinking what I had available and how I could make a lamp in the most efficient way possible. I’d seen some ideas previously which led me to use a cracker can. The large type used in the packaging of soda crackers, such as Keebler’s ®, a really good choice in scale. many items come to mind when considering such a task. I’m sure you can come up with a bunch. For those who think you must be crafty or artistic is a requirement, that’s not so. This project is easy as pie (or crackers)! But, please…do have fun and turn on your favorite tunes while you’re at it! I thought if I can make a lamp in less than a day, why not share it for others who may need to solve a similar dilemma?

Here is my take, “DIY Lamps: So Easy.” I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Below are my instructions:

Important Note: ALWAYS follow manufacturer instructions and requirements for the items used in electrical and combustible work.

Materials:

Large cracker can (Keebler’s® soda crackers in this case)

Can opener

Awl or other hole punching tool

Transparent bead wire

Corded lighting kit and harp

Spray paint (I used high gloss Rustoleum® in turquoise)

Easel legs (optional)

Instructions:

1. Sand the surface you will be using as your lamp shade. I just rough it up a bit, since the gloss spray paint covers pretty well on any surface. I used a cracker can as mentioned, but really, it can be almost anything. NOTE: It should be material which is fireproof or kept open at top as per these instructions. That’s why I choose metal in most of my lighting projects. *Bulb wattage is important to consider.

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2. Open the bottom of can if using one, with a simple household can opener. Squeeze down any protruding edges with pliers. Pierce three or four, evenly spaced holes as close to the rim at the top, already open end of can, by using an awl and hammer. I like the awl used for sewing purposes, where marking many layers of materials is an easier task. Those are quite sturdy metal with a rubberized, bulbous tip on the other end. I puncture the metal from the inside out, tapping the rubberized awl end with a hammer. Then, carefully turn in any sharp edges with  rubber mallet on the exterior or again, with pliers.

3. Set up a work area-preferably outdoors or be sure the area is very well covered and ventilated when indoors. Spray mist can get into everything! I cover with a reusable, grommet edged tarp, which I purchased in a dollar store. Using the grommet holes to hang with simple twine or rope creates a greatly protected backdrop. In smaller height projects like this one, I lay out the tarp partially on the ground, while the ‘wall’ behind it is also covered. Easily do this by throwing the tarp down closest to a wall, fence or other vertical surface. Then slide up the tarp so that part of it is up against the ‘wall’ of choice. Tie your rope or twine on nearby posts, railings or other handy objects. Conversely, use a removable tape to secure upon wall. The ground portion can be weighed down.

4. Wear disposable or work gloves during painting: Begin spraying by first aiming at a scrap paper or cloth to ensure a clean spraying. If the tip spatters or drips, cap the spray can and shake for another minute. This step should be followed in advance, as per manufacturer instructions. Test again. Now, place the surface to be painted on the ground or elevated work surface where your tarp has covered it. Don’t touch the surface while painting! It can be difficult to wash off from skin and clothing. In an easy swaying and spritz action, spray at an even distance at all times, starting at the top. Shake can in between sprays after a few times. If your choice is to spray the interior side, as well, start with that. Here you may even consider a contrast color. Metallics on the interior will heighten your lighting effects! Once the entirety has been spray painted, allow sufficient drying time BEFORE giving it a second coat. By using the spray paint I chose, it was sufficient for one spraying session. This image is after having sprayed it and attaching wire.

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5. Add hanging wire. The one I preferred here is used in bead crafting and is just as handy as fishing wire, without the cuts in my hands! Your option for wiring may also be hanging wire used in paintings, pictures and other projects. This one I like for its flexibility and tensile strength. Pull wire directly from spool without cutting yet, until you know how well it appears to you in length from your lampshade and ceiling or other hanging devices. Cut at desired length, then repeat for each hole you  punctured. Loop a piece of the wire by inserting from outside in, then securing by double knotting close to, but not tight at the rim. Leave the ends free, to tie all of them together once all have been attached through each hole. Tie up the free ends into a loop, as well, completing a spot for attachments and/or hanging directly. Another way to secure the loose top ends is by inserting them together through a washer, decorative ring or other desired objects-then tie. Now, add a lamp harp for inserting your lighting cord kit into by tying it through in the same way, through the same holes. Only-don’t leave ends hanging, It’s best to tighten as you go along, to secure a centered positioning. I had both the cord and harp available, as I was able to save them from the broken lamp.

harp close-up

Now that your project is ready to hang, give yourself a round of applause and breathe satisfactorily that you have made your own, unique lighting project! I’m using an easel tripod stand for the hanging spot, along with a sturdy magnetic bulldog clip and a short length of chromed chain and ring. Placement can be temporary or used over extended periods. Get creative in making it truly unique if you desire to add a little something extra. An easy project such as this, can be embellished with paint brushing, stamping, decoupage, chandelier bling and so much more. With a little imagination, who knows what you’ll come up with?magnetic bulldog clip on easel woth chain and cord

I hope you enjoyed this and feel free to comment, posting your results if you tried it, also. Share if you like! Thanks once again for visiting and be sure to follow for updates of my artwork, events, reviews and more fun projects you too can achieve.

completed lamp project, turq

Until next time, stay artsy and true to your creative visions!

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