Someone went thrifting for the first time in a while and found several projects. Looks like it is time to make another light fixture! Welcome to The Hippie Geeks. If you enjoy this video, be sure to subscribe and hit the bell notification icon to catch all our new content!
I don’t know about you, but we are not terribly fond of buying light fixtures from local big box stores. Anything affordable is boring and anything cool is expensive. What we do like though is finding interesting fixtures to make into lights on our own. When walking around the thrift store this weekend, Lindsay found this super cute antique look alike. It is supposed to be a hanging candle holder, intended to burn either tea lights or votives. The problem with fixtures like these is that people either never use them, or they get tired of the short burn time that the smaller candles have and decide to get rid of it. As far as I can tell with this one, it has never been used.
However, it is super easy and affordable to make these into electric light fixtures. For this project the only thing that I needed to buy was the candle holder itself for four dollars, and a new roll of sisal twine for two dollars, we have everything else we would need in our collection of items. If you don’t have these pieces, I will leave links in the description below to a few different lamp kits that will give you the lamp parts you need.
The first thing I needed to do is to get rid of the little platform that the candle sits on. For some reason I still haven’t picked up a rotary tool, which would make quick work of this with a cutting disc. However, what I can do is carefully bend the thin metal back and forth, going slow and being careful to not flex the area too much so that I don’t crack the glass. Go slow with this part, breaking the glass is a pain in the butt and will increase the cost with having to replace the glass. The first side is the hardest, and once it is loose the other side is much easier. Again, if you have access to a rotary tool use that as there is very little chance that you would break the glass that way. I am also going to remove the hanging loop from it, as we will not be using it with this project.
The next step is to prep the light socket. There are a large variety of these, this is the one that I happen to have. It comes apart, with the backside popping off of the casing, at which point you can push the socket itself out of the casing exposing the electrical connections. This particular socket is dimmable, which I do not care about in this project. That means I will be using the gold screw, and the silver screw, while ignoring the black screw completely. With that taken apart, it is time to grab the electrical cord I have and feed it into the top of the light fixture. It fits thru easily, and I pulled enough that I would have an easy time working with the light socket.
To get the socket set up, slide the backside onto the electrical cord and then it is time to get the cord attached to the socket. If you make a hook out of the wire and slide it behind the screw as shown, it will make it considerably more easy to get it attached and more secure once it is attached. First the gold screw, and then with a little more effort the silver screw. Once those are secure with no extra wires floating around, it is time to slip the casing back over the socket. It should go on pretty easily, and then you can grab the backside and slide it onto the casing until it snaps into place. After that, the screw on the backside will secure the assembly to the cord, holding it in place. Once that is wired up it is time to test the light, just to verify you didn’t mess anything up. Like possibly wiring to the gold post and the black post, which may or may not have blown a breaker and plunged the garage into darkness. In this case though, the light comes on and everything appears to be working correctly.
Now the shiny brass of the socket does not blend in at all with either the patina look of the light fixture, or the sisal twine that I will be covering the cord in. What I am going to do however is take a short section of burlap and wrap it around the entire socket, which will be a small detail that you don’t really see but definitely notice when it doesn’t look out of place. A hot glue gun is your friend here, as it is in a lot of crafts and projects. Once the burlap is securely wrapped around the socket, it is time for the absolutely most fun part of any project, sisal wrapping. I’m just kidding, it’s a pain in the rear. I want to do the first section of the cord before it even gets pulled back thru the opening. Once the first four inches or so was done, it was time to pull the cord back out to its final position.
I quickly realized that there were a couple of small brass tabs in the opening that I needed to fold out of the way before I could pull the thickened cord back out. A couple of minutes with the Leatherman though and it was ready to be fed thru. At this point it is time to test the light again, and as it is still working, we keep going.
At this point I pulled the light bulb back out of the fixture, and taped the door closed. The fixture is going to be getting bumped and moved around as I wrap the cord, and I just want to make sure that I am not going to accidentally break the glass. The first section of wrapping simply connects the fixture itself to the electric cord, which will keep the wires from getting yanked out of the socket and shorting out. Once that is nicely tied off, it is time to finish wrapping the cord. The long, seven-foot cord. As I have said in previous videos, we love the look of sisal wrapped cords, but they are very labor intensive. It helps though to stick it down with the hot glue gone every so often, that way if you let go it wont start coming unraveled, which it tends to do if not secured. I work in three-foot sections of sisal, overlapping each beginning and ending so that it looks like one continuous piece of sisal. I timed it on this light, and to wrap the entire cord took me an hour and forty minutes and used up nearly an entire 190 foot roll of sisal. I thought it would take less time, and it felt like it took even longer which is not surprising as this is not my favorite thing to do.
You will notice as I am wrapping the cord that I am not adding in a switch. That is intentional, as this light will be getting controlled with a Smart Switch. If you are curious about those, I will put a link to our review of it in the upper corner and in the description box below. If you do want to use a simple switch though you can look at our Turkish Light video to see how we added it in that project, with the link in the upper corner now and also a link in the description below. If you pick up any of the lamp kits we have linked below however, they should already have an inline switch installed which makes life a lot easier. After that it is time to get it installed in its final place, and we couldn’t be happier with how it turned out!
Have you folks found any cool things that you have turned into a light fixture, or that you want to? If so I would love to hear about it in the comments below.
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