When we put our shelving system in our back room, we knew we would need some light scattered among the shelves to keep things bright…especially since we put a ceiling fan in with no light fixture attached.
You can see in the above picture on the far right a small light on the second shelf. We didn’t want typical table lamps with shades, so we came up with making them out of these great industrial lights (with shatterproof covers, no less) that we picked up for five bucks apiece at a nearby flea market.
We got two of them, and they’re designed to be either ceiling or wall mounted. They were all wired to be installed, so I knew we could pretty easily make them instead into table lamps. First, I needed to lift them off the table surface a bit, so I added these stick-on plastic feet to the bottom that I picked up at the hardware store.
Then, to wire it, I just used a long extension cord. You can actually buy a lamp cord designed for lamp kits, but a simple extension cord is much cheaper and just as easy to use. To use an extension cord to wire a lamp, simply snip off the “outlet” end, leaving the plug intact. Then, use a knife to split the two sections of the cord apart a half inch or so, and finally use wire strippers to peel back the rubberized cover a few inches from both sides of the wire until it looks like a lamp cord:
Then, because the lamp itself doesn’t have a switch (it’s designed for a ceiling or wall mount where a switch will, presumably, be on the wall), you’ll need to add a switch to the lamp cord. This can be bought at the hardware store for under $2:
The switch comes apart, like this:
And it’s added to the lamp cord following the package directions.
One side of the cord will be ribbed and one will be smooth. Following the directions, you should slice a small slit between the two sides wherever you want to put the switch, then cut the smooth side apart and install the switch in place, attaching the sides back together.
Finally, attach the smooth side of the cord to the black wire coming from your light fixture, and the ribbed side of the cord to the white wire. Use wire nuts to cover the attachments.
And, the finished product:
In sum (perhaps this should have come first?), you’ll need:
- an industrial light (you can get a cool one at Home Depot for under $25);
- an extension cord (or lamp cord);
- a lamp cord (in-line) switch;
- plastic or rubber stick-on feet;
- wire nuts;
- basic tools (wire strippers or pliers, screwdriver, utility knife).