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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The Little Things

Finally a day with some sun!
I'll make this short + sweet so I can get out there and enjoy it.
Here are a few things I'm smiling about today.

A new pair of comfortable flats.

A new bag.

A sunny yellow rug.

Happy puppies.

Pretty flowers.

More pretty flowers.

A broken piece of our fence that I have big plans for.

Another thing I found in the yard that I have plans for.
Enjoy this nice weather if it's where you are!



DIY Project List

One of the cool things about starting this blog is that a few friends and kids from school have said that they were inspired to get a little creative and fix up their apartments. I am convinced that just because I'm in college doesn't mean I have to have a bunch of mismatched furnishings with no personality. I am more productive and feel more relaxed when I am in a space that is neat, clean and me. I'm also on a tight budget (like pretty much everyone else my age) so I'm trying to make my space my own for very little money.

So today I thought I'd round up a few projects that can be used to personalize your space on a budget.

Sincerely's Coffee Filter Light

The coffee filter light project was pretty popular among my friends. So here it is for those who missed it. Lighting in apartments is usually mediocre at best. This is an easy way to create a custom fixture.

Click here for original post.
Approximate cost: $30

Ruffle Shower Curtain

There is never much you can customize in a rented bathroom. One thing you do have control over is the shower curtain. Too bad cute shower curtains are expensive. Some of them upwards of $100! Check out this shower curtain from Anthro to see what I mean. Save yourself $113 dollars and make your own out of dollar store shower curtains with this tutorial by See Kate Sew.

Click here for original post.
 Approximate cost: $5

Industrial Side Tables

The college years = lots of moving. Lots of moving = not wanting a bunch of big furniture to move around. That's why these industrial side tables are such a good idea. They are cheap, sturdy and incredibly chic. BONUS: You can disassemble them for easy moving!

Click here for full tutorial.
 Approximate cost: $50
(Cheaper if you find scrap wood in your parents' garage or the wood shop!)

There are so many great ideas out there so I'll be posting more as I run across them. What do you think about these projects? Yay or nay?



A Free Bench Makeover

What do you do while waiting for paint to dry?  Well, if you are Rachel and me, you start another project.

Enter: free bench #1.

Rachel's cousins found two benches laying in a heap of dirt and overgrown weeds. Knowing Rachel was crafty, they dug them out and brought them over. This picture was taken after the benches were power washed to get all the dirt off.

It wasn't too terrible. It was a little wobbly, the metal was definitely rusty and the wood was a little splintery. 

We sanded the wood with a power sander to smooth it out and sanded the metal by hand to get rid of the chipping finish.

We began the makeover by white washing the wood. We mixed white paint that Rachel had left over from this beadboard wallpaper makeover with water. We brushed on multiple coats and it gave the wood a really cool gray, driftwood look.

Then, we covered the wood with newspaper and spray painted the metal with some leftover Rustoleum.

We sealed the wood with some outdoor deck sealer that Rachel's dad had on hand. The bench was free and we used materials we had on hand so we paid nothing for this little makeover.

Much better, right? Totally worth the sunburn we both got. Needless to say we won't be forgetting the sunscreen again haha.


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