the lamp project

remember these?
well the second i saw them i was immediately reminded of these lamps i have been coveting for my dining room:

and will only set you back $372 a piece... HA

so, i got that crazy itch and decided that, for $14.99 each, it was worth the $30 mistake if my idea didnt pan out with those green vases. {at least thats what i told stephen when i came home with more "stuff" as he would call it ;) and now a quick shout out to my wondeful husband who went against his better judgement and completely supported me in this project...i guess he realized it was this or being out of pocket $750 :) haha...yeah right}

a few trips to lowes and michaels later, and the vases

are now my new dining room lamps!
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it was a quick weekend project, and im proud of myself for actually finishing it.  i tend to have several ongoing projects stuffed around the house that always take me forever to actually finish {hello bennett and emory's bedrooms....}.  the hardest part was figuring out how to marry the top of the vase and the lamp socket thing.  a couple trips to michaels and i was happy with what i found:
these little boxes were $1 each and i just turned them upside down, as the box's top was just bigger than the opening of the vase.

lowes and home depot {as well as many other stores im sure} sell lamp kits that help you take an ordinary bottle and turn it into a lamp.
if you are interested, here are the steps i took turning my vases into lamps:

before you do anything, remove pricetags and growl at the stupid sticky stuff left on the tops
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remove with fingernail polish remover and paper towels

1.  drill hole large enough to fit wire through in bottom of vase {we used a mortar bit on stephens drill}.
we also had to drill through the vase base {which was wood so used different bit}

2.  paint medallions on sides of vases using a small sponge brush {the kind you find in craft and paint stores}.  i used a gold leaf-type paint from michaels to paint the medallions on the vases: {i bought brass since i was using brass rings}

3.  superglue brass rings to medallions.  i bought this to use
but it didnt work at all, even after drying overnight.  simple superglue worked beautifully and dried quickly

i bought the brass hardware pulls from this site, and just used the ring part, not the screw.

4.  from this point on i didnt even try all the other fancy types of glue, i just stuck with what worked and superglued the top of the wooden box to the box itself.  i then sealed the wood box with an acrylic sealer

it dries clear and helps prevent the wood from soaking up all the gold paint

5.  drill hole through box and top after it dries.

we drilled a larger hole in the part where we were inserting the lamp kit, large enough to accommodate one of the bottle adapters that came in the lamp kit. 

6.  paint box with gold paint and let dry
yes i know that hole looks like a rabid raccoon ATE that hole out, but i knew i had the brass ring to cover it that came in the lamp kit :)

7.  superglue vase to base

8.  assemble lamp kit {which took some time since the directions are over-simplified and a little hard to follow.  tip: TAKE YOUR TIME...you dont want to mess this up bc once you snap the light together, theres no re-working}

9.  insert bottle adapter piece into big hole in wooden box and pull wire through base, vase, wooden box, and adapter.DSC_0115 copy
make sure you insert this end into the box/vase

10. superglue box to top of vase

11.  attach wire to screws per directions and fasten top of socket

12.  place shade and screw in light bulb and voila! ...um, i said VOILA!
13.  almost break down in tears bc the lamp does not turn on.
14.  try to pry open light but realize it is snapped shut and there is no turning back {as mentioned in step 8}
15.  go inside and google "portfolio lamp kit" to see if there are any more in depth instructions and/or troubleshooting tips
16.  theres not so ask husband to come outside with you to check it out, hold back tears
17.  talk him through what is wrong and screw bulb in a little tighter and then.....yes realize you are a dummy and didnt screw the light bulb in tight enough... {how many blondes does it take...}
18.  voila for real!
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its so fun when your vision is materialized, and i am so excited about my new lamps!
here is a breakdown of the costs:
lamp cost

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i went back and forth on the lamp shade...whether to do a drum shade like the original or not...but decided i wanted a rectangular shade so the lamps wouldnt have to sit too far away from the wall.  i looked at all my normal sources and everywhere else i could find online but ended up finding two at my local super target for 12.99 each!
{which really helped with total cost, considering the other lamp shades i was looking at were around $30-$50 each}.

note:  the lamp shade i bought is the kind that just slides on the socket thing before the light bulb goes in.  however, most lamp shades im familiar with use a lamp harp...i thought about this after i constructed my lamp but if i was to do it again i would have threaded the fixed part of the harp onto my lamp in case i ever wanted to change out the lamp shade.  hindsight 20/20!

go make a lamp today! and save yourself from yourself {and your ridiculously expensive taste!}



  1. so awesome! and i like the rectangular shade better anyway!
    such a wonderful idea and im glad it turned out right! PERFECTION!
    and kudos to stephen for giving it a go!

  2. Natalie this is amazing girl!!!! They look so good, I really like them better than the ones with the BIG price tag!

  3. I'm so impressed!! honestly, i like yours better than the ones you found online!!! :) i wish i was crafty!

  4. I concur with the group, those lamps are fantastic and I am more jealous all the time of your craftiness and ability to create! They look great =)

  5. WOW!!!!!These are so pretty! I like yours better than the "real" ones! Way to go! Glad you're doing OUR house!:-) Love ya'll....and War Eagle! La

  6. I like your lamp better than the pricey one!!! Much chic-er!!! Great job :)

  7. oh my goodness, nat, these are fabulous. Everything about them. You did a great job with the goldleaf, and I love what you ended up doing to connect the socket to the vase cause its so good looking. I really like the rectangle shades. And last but not least, the photo of the finished product should be in a design magazine!!

  8. Brilliant!!!! Great job!!! I too struggle to finish projects:)

  9. i had no idea that THESE were the ones replacing the expensive lamps u found online. Looks better than the original! AWESOME

  10. That is so awesome! LOVE the lamps and absolutely LOVE LOVE how you made them. You are so crafty!

  11. Natalie, they are beautiful! You are very talented! Add to that the fact that you completed them in a weekend with two tiny mites and I am VERY impressed!

  12. Nat, you are ridic! I don't think I've said that word since college, but it felt right. Can't wait to see you and the kids next weekend!!!!

  13. Ok where did you get the lamp bases?

    Fabulous idea and i love the way they turned out!

  14. I like your lamps BETTER! This was so worth the "clicking around" to find.

  15. This is an awesome DIY!! Absolutely love it and impressed with the price tag! Great job!


  16. Beautiful lamps! Excellent step by step photos and instructions. Thanks for sharing,you got my wheels turning.
    Please come enter my first give away:)))

  17. Where did you get the medallions? Did you paint them? How did you attach them to the sides of the lamp?

  18. Wow!! What a great job! I like yours better than the original inspiration!!

  19. Great job. Way to go after it. :)

  20. These are gorgeous!!! Thanks for the wonderful inspiration!!

  21. Haha! Love this post and you did a wonderful job. (Found this via Little Green Notebook.)
    You sound so like me when I do a project (if I finish one). And I'd have cried too if it didn't work!

    Well done!

  22. this is fantastic!! I super appreciate you being so detailed and in-depth about each step...great job!

  23. I LOVE this - great job! I might have to go to Michael's to see if they have the blue vase... navy lamps are hard to find! Looking forward to keeping up with your blog!

  24. SHUT UP.....those are awesome! What a great job and tutorial! A winner....

  25. PS - Just letting you know I spotlighted this post today on our blog because I adore it.


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