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A DIY Industrial Lamp... For Free!

I'm super excited about this project! It was a pretty spur of the moment thing, but I'm so glad I decided to give it  shot.

It all starts with this rusty tomato cage from our yard. My mom isn't keeping a big garden this year and when I saw this in the yard I asked if I could have it. I wasn't sure what I'd do with it, but I liked it and thought I could make something out of it.

I've been looking around for a lamp for my new place and haven't found anything I love. It doesn't help that even the cheapest lamps are $40! So I figured I could somehow turn this into an industrial-esque lamp.


I remembered I had been hoarding an old brass lamp so I brought that up from the basement. At first I thought it would be really easy to take the socket and cord out and re-use it. Then as I started taking the lamp apart I thought it was going to be really hard...then I did a little research and found out it really wasn't very hard at all!

I only needed the socket and cord for my lamp, but I ended up using that long metal tube as well.

First, I pulled apart the socket by squeezing really hard where it said "press".

Next you'll see that the cord is split, stripped and wrapped around two screws. Carefully loosen the screws and remove the wires. Now you'll be able to pull the cord out of the lamp.

I did not like the shiny brassy color of the socket and thought about spray painting it black but didn't know if that was a good idea. So I tried rubbing it off with nail polish remover. A few cotton balls later and I was left with this:

After running the cord back through the metal tube thing (I know there's a real name for it but I don't remember  it at the moment) I was ready to reattach the socket.

Feel your cord. One side will be smooth and the other will be ribbed. The smooth wire is the hot or live wire and the ribbed is the neutral wire. The live wire (smooth) wraps around the brass screw. Remember this and you'll be fine. When I had both wires connected and the socket reassembled I crossed my fingers and plugged it in...

and it worked!

Now, we'll talk about the tomato cage. It was already cool and chippy and rusty, but it had been purple at one point and I wasn't feeling that. So I used a trio of spray paint to give it a little facelift. All of these my mom already had so I didn't have to pay anything :)

I used a textured stone paint, a rusty metal primer (that is rust colored) and a flat black.

I didn't take pictures of this process, but I'll describe it. If anyone would like a more indepth tutorial I'd be happy to do one :)

First, lightly spray the stone spray paint all over, concentrating on the joints where rust is most likely to be. Then alternate spraying the primer and the black. You get to use your creative license because you don't want to solidly coat it with either color. 

I started with the primer, then hit spots with the black, went over some more spots with the primer and so on and so forth until I liked the finish.

Not too shabby, eh?

You could use this technique on so many things. I'm sure I'll be using it in the future.

I strung up the bulb and plugged it in...

I love it! I thought about shortening it, but I kind of like the dramatic impact it makes.

I'm swooning over the silver socket. To think that was hiding under that terrible brassy finish!

So, what do you think? Be honest! Love it? Hate it?

I was thinking about wrapping the cord in twine. What do you think? It's brown right now so it blends in. But twine would add some texture. I don't know! Opinions please!

Oh also...

Estimated cost: $0

How cool is that?!

Thanks for reading. Feel free to ask questions!


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Funky Junk's Saturday Nite Special


Unknown said...

I'm such a blog stalker, but this is genius! I love the stone idea to give it the texture. Who knew that tacky brass was hiding such a treasure?! I'm seriously in love with this lamp. Way cool.

Sanghamitra Bhattacherjee(Mukherjee) said...

Very creative! Cool idea! Love the lamp :)

RAINBOW-The Colours of India

Melanie Bacom said...

I knew those tomato cages were good for something since I do not garden. Love this lamp.

Junky Vagabond said...

This is awesome and so creative! Love the look you got for FREE!!

Barb@curlywillowdiy said...

Really great!

Maggie Massey said...

I absolutely ADORE this's just perfect...and I'm dying to try your spray paint technique! The twine may look fantastic...try it and see!!! Would love to see if you do it...


Beautiful!! I love free stuff to fix up!

abeachcottage said...

Love how it turned out, looks great. Maybe the twine would look good too.

Anonymous said...

Hey girl...thanks for linking up this week. I've had a blast co-hosting. This lamp is pretty much just AWESOME! I am in love with it!

The Dragonfly On Iron Gate said...

Love this idea... Jules ♥

Red, Blonde and Burlap said...

OMG, wow! This is incredible! It's official... I think you're a genius (and I may just have to copy this)! :)

Sue said...

TOO cute! And I love the pirce tag :) I'm thinking that a full size clear light bulb would look great in the lamp. You could play with light bulbs for different looks to suit different moods. The twine is a great idea to add some texture. You can remove it, too, should you tire of the look. This lamp could be used in so many settings. I would love it on my porch. In fact, I just might 'jack your idea and make a lamp for my porch :)

Korrie@RedHenHome said...

Very cool! Thanks for all your good tips.

Ashh10 said...

This is soooo cool.

Kate said...

That is just too cool.

Unknown said...

Probably one of the coolest lamps I've ever seen! Love this!

Candace @ Candace Creations said...

That is soo freaking cool! I love it! What a genius idea! I hope you'll share this at the scrappy saturdays link up tomorrow! @]

Excited to find your blog!

Unknown said...

I didn't know you could rub off brass finish, may have to try that on a project of mine. thanks!!

Jessica said...

wowza. this is fabulous! and i'm pretty darn sure my mom has something like this in her garage, too! ;) i'll be adding this to my summer diy wishlist. btw, i'm your latest subscriber thx in part to seeing your post on censational! xoxojess

Kristen at Hillside Hideaway said...

Nicely done! Love the look. Have you had good results with the rusty metal primer? I just bought some for a steel file cabinet project and I've never worked with it before. XO

Cindy said...

I LOVE it! You are so smart!
Hugs, Cindy

My Dream Canvas said...

Wow, this is amazing!! Hope to see you over at My Dream Canvas.

Lesley Paige said...

This is really awesome! I love it1

Patricia @ 9th and Denver said...

Love it!
great paint techniques. Didn't know about the fingernail polish remover-trick and the faux rusty vibe is illuminating! {wink}
...from FJI party...Pat

Funky Junk Interiors said...

WOW! What a statement this piece makes. I love the metal lines, the height, the tiny bulb, everything just works!

Shared this on FJI Facebook for SNS 87. :)


Vintage Home said...

so kool ...I like that you used a rod for the cord to go threw instead of just the cord...very industrial looking!

Anonymous said...

Very cool idea. Love the effect. I would paint the cord the same color as the tomato cage and then secure it to one of the vertical wires. I don't think I've seen a tomato cage like that before. It's got a great shape.

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kelly said...

once you get started making lamps, you will find EVERYTHING seems like it could be a lamp! great idea, i like your idea adding twine--you could wrap it in some bright embroidery floss to give a peek of bright color maybe?

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