Monday, May 7, 2012

Another Cheap Trick: The Cheater's Guide to Rewiring a Lamp

this is a trick i learned from my amazing dad, who was an electrician before he retired, so don't worry - i won't get you electrocuted! ;)

i found this lamp at goodwill (which has recently become my favorite store) for $3. i know it looks pretty old and out-of-date, but i loved the overall shape of it. i could see such potential, but it needed some major work, aside from just the lampshade and finish.

this lamp has to be older than i am and it still has its original wiring, plus it was missing the turn knob. it's kind of hard to turn on a lamp without some sort of switch to do it, right? so i got to work rewiring it and guess what! it was super easy! *before & after transformation at the end of post*

here's what you need:
  • an extension cord
  • a pair of wire cutters
  • a phillips head screwdriver (the one with the "x", not the flat ended one)
  • a standard base lamp socket (you can get these for just a couple bucks at any home improvement store)
here's how to do it:

start out by disassembling the lamp, so that you can remove the wiring. to do this, you need to work from the top down. the socket should pull apart, so that you can unscrew the wires with your phillips head screwdriver. after you've detached the wires from the socket, remove the bottom piece (with older lamps, this should be a type of metal plate. newer lamps often use a felt lining.) and pull the wire through and completely out.

now, take your extension cord and, with your wire cutters, cut off the end that you plug into (not the end that plugs into the wall!).
this is the end i cut off

pull the cut end apart about an inch & a half to two inches, splitting the wire into two pieces, then carefully remove just the outer layer, exposing the actual wiring about a half an inch. the result should look something like this:

then look at the end that you plug into the wall. there should be one prong that is wider than the other. follow the wire from that prong to the end with the exposed wire. mark that wire in some way, to help you differentiate between the two. i drew a small circle with a sharpie near the top of my wire.

after you've prepared your cord, run it from the bottom of the lamp base up through the top. twist each group of wires, as they may have become a bit separated while being pulled through the lamp, and bend each set to for a hook shape.

next, take a look at your socket. there should be one white or silver screw and one gold screw. the white/silver screw is the live side and the gold screw is for grounding. just remember: white is live, gold is cold.
white is live, gold is cold
working with the set of wires on the side of the cord that you previously marked, wrap the hook around the white/silver screw and, using your screwdriver, tighten the screw against the wires. then do the same with the other side, attaching it to the gold screw.

it should look something like this:
this is with just one side attached

after that, all you have to do is put the cover back on, screw in a bulb, and plug it in!

here's proof that it works ;):

here's the side-by-side before & after of the lamp:

i spent:
lamp - $3
extension cord - free (i had one on hand, but they are really cheap at walmart, etc)
lamp socket - $2
lamp shade - $5 (i had a coupon)
spray paint & sand paper - $10

total: $20

i'll be doing an easy how-to on painting a lamp soon.


Kayla & Joshua said...

Who knew you were handy too! IF we ever need an electrician, I know who to call! hahah I love the line green color. Is this in the living room? You should post pictures of all the fun colors you have in there now. I am so impressed with your crafty-ness!!

Stephanie said...

You are so crafty! I could get the painting down, but not so sure about the electrical, that's where JJ comes in. You made it look so easy and the after pictures are great!

Bridget said...

I love that lamp!!

Heather @ A Little Hope in My Pocket said...

Super cute! Love the lime green!

J o s e y said...

Geez Carlia - you're making me feel VERY inadequate with my non-existent crafty skills. That lamp is awesome!

sunnyside up said...

You are so crafty!!!
i wish you lived closer!!!
We could use some pops of color!
For now I'll pretend to live with you..

Elizabeth :: Bébé Suisse said...

Wow, that's incredible! I love the green, especially contrasted with the turquoise vase ... and what a bargain for such a big pop of style!

Maria said...

Omygosh, you are Miss Fix It! I knew the end result was going to be awesome...LOVE it! That is a great color to compliment all your other pieces.
I need to get my butt to Goodwill. There was a time I lived there. We have one down the street. My dad is an electrician too :)
Thank you for sharing!!

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