There are some projects that just grab me right from the beginning. When I first got the idea to create a steampunk-style, industrial accent lamp from a bell jar I found at Goodwill, I had that excitement right off the bat. I am thrilled to share this fun DIY project with you! Hopefully you will see how easy it is to create unique lamps of your own!
Like many things that Anthropologie sells, this Kerplunk Lamp is unique and whimsical and SO EXPENSIVE! Originally $1298, it’s currently on sale for only $699.95. I really dug the clashing Baroque/Industrial look of the table lamp and wondered if I could create a bell jar lamp of my own.
The first step in the process was to take a trip to my local Habitat for Humanity ReStore. If you have never been to a ReStore before, it is like Goodwill for hardware and home goods (aka WHOOPEEEEE! BEST PLACE EVERRR!) You can find tons of salvaged or unwanted materials for low, low prices. I found all the materials for my Upcycled House Number Wall Art there two years ago, and hit the jackpot on bits and bobs again this time.
I was so excited to get to work on the lamp, that I totally forgot to take process photos of the experimental design stage. Basically, I stacked and moved and played with all the random hardware pieces until I liked how they looked. Then I glued everything together with E-6000 and let it dry overnight. The only important tip for this stage of the game is to leave a hole through the center of the whole contraption so you can wire it up later.
This was the final configuration. What’s all in there, you ask?
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I purchased $7 of odds and ends at the ReStore, and then made a trip to the regular hardware store for a cheap lamp kit, picture wire, and an Edison bulb. Altogether, I spent about $20 on materials.
I bent this long spring-y thing so it could serve as the center of the lamp. (If you know what this actually is, feel free to tell me in the comments!)
This picture is just to show how the spring would camouflage the cord. BUT, the spring needed to be IN the lamp before I could get to wiring.
It took some finagling but I was able to thread the cord through the spring. It was a bit tricky around the bend in the spring, but I got there eventually.
The bottom of the socket fit nicely into the wide end of the spring. (After I finished wiring the lamp, I glued the socket to the spring with more E-6000.)
I assembled the socket, and it was time to add the bulb and see if she worked!
SUCCESS! Even though they are a little pricey, the Edison bulb was the perfect touch. A regular bulb just wouldn’t do.
I was concerned that my bell jar would slip off of the saw blade too easily (there’s a phrase I never thought I would type), so I threaded picture wire in and out of the saw teeth. The loops create some outward tension on the bell jar, which keep it from slipping around. It’s not Fort Knox secure, but it’s better than a poke in the eye.
I added an old clock key into the mix just because it looked cool, and then I set the bell jar in place. You know that moment when a project you are really excited about actually works? Yeah, that.
I love lamp.
Doesn’t it look like something a balmy inventor would use in his work room? If Belle’s father had an accent lamp, this would be it.
The vintage-style bulb casts just the right amount of accent lighting on a side table. It looks amazing with both vintage décor and more modern geometric shapes, and the mixed metals are really sharp.
I wish I could say that the lamp is going to continue to live with my mid-century chair and nesting tables, but the kiddos would have it broken into eleventeen pieces before the day was out. I will be moving it into the dining room (pictures of the finished dining room coming soon!) where it will be out of the reach of cute little grabby hands.
I am entering this project into the running to be chosen for Creating with the Stars, so if you have a second PLEASE click over here and click on link #164 (yes, it will just bring you back here). The more clicks my project gets, the better! Thanks!
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Thanks, Jessica Hill