Convert a Music Tripod into a Lamp

Don’t get me wrong, I love the fact I get to call Australia home, though a word of warning to anyone thinking of moving here (particularly if you’re a home DIY-aholic accustomed to a seemingly endless array of affordable and easily attainable supplies). Sure, we might have lovely weather (most of the time), beautiful beaches (almost exclusively) and kangaroos frolicking about (nearly everywhere) though you can pretty much kiss good-bye to affordable and easily obtainable tinted wax sealers, oil-rubbed bronze spray paint and Hershey’s Bars (whatever they are) amongst many other wonderful things :-(

So why the rant? Well, I’ve seen  a tonne of DIY lamp kits readily available from a heap of international sources though do you think I could find any here in Oz?

Course not, though never fear, there’s always a longer, frustrating, more expensive way around these things.

Anyways, enough venting and on with the actual project.

There are many different ways you can create your own custom lamp so for the purposes of this tutorial I’ll focus on how I did it.

Of course, depending on which country you’re in electrical components may vary and I do have to say that technically any wiring should be undertaken by a qualified electrician – technically :-)

Anyhoo, you will need….

Something to form your lamp base.

On a recent thrifting adventure I found this really cool old music stand for just $5 and knew straight away I wanted to try a lamp conversion. It has a wonderfully grungy patina with crud and rust in all the right places.

And the following items (all available from pretty much any hardware store)….

A lamp switch.

A power outlet head.

A length of power cable.

And the steps….

1. I removed the sheet music holder from the top of the tripod which left a nice hollow shaft perfect for housing the power cable.

2. To securely attach the lamp switch to the tripod, I first inserted the plastic thread (which comes with the lamp switch as shown above) into the top of the shaft and glued it firmly in place (you can see what I mean by this in one of the following pics).
If your lamp base won’t easily accommodate the plastic thread then put your thinking cap on for a way to make it work.
When faced with a conundrum like this, I usually just browse the hardware store isles til I find something I can adapt.

3. Once the glue dried, I inserted the power cable into the hollow shaft so it protruded from both ends.

4. I wired and attached the power outlet head to the rear end of the cable as per the packet instructions. If you’re lucky enough to have a lamp kit this step is already done for you.

5. I wired and attached the lamp switch to the top end of the cable as per the packet instructions and screwed it onto the glued-in thread.

Because the thread would only fit into the fat section at the top of the shaft, half of it was still visible once the head was attached (as can be seen above). I could have cut it down though instead decided to keep the extra length for greater stability and simply wrapped it in some twine as a camouflage.

6. I inserted a globe, plugged in the power cord, flipped the switch and crossed my fingers…it actually worked! I was momentarily blinded by light – mental note, do not stare at bulb in anticipation during testing!

7. To finish I simply added a budget K-mart linen shade.

Course, if you are lucky enough to have a DIY lamp kit then this project gets a whole lot easier.

Sooo, from this….

To this….

I love this lamp…even though I don’t really have anywhere to put it at the moment :-(
I especially like that the upper shaft and tripod base are both adjustable so the height and splay can be easily altered to best suit its chosen location. I’ve rarely seen industrial style tripod lamps like this selling for under $150 so for around $30 I’m pretty chuffed with my little re-invention – if I do say so myself.

Oh, and I’m also loving this new (to me) green enamel alarm clock I picked up on the same thrifting adventure for just $5.

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88 Comments
  1. dashingdiva says:

    this is amazing!! I’ve been desperately looking for something like this but they sell for so much in the shops in Australia. So thank you so much for sharing this, the timing couldn’t be more perfect! Now the challenge is to find a suitable stand.
    Being newly hooked on vintage-diy’ing I”m so happy to have discovered your blog!

  2. Anonymous says:
  3. Anonymous says:

    I paid 200 new lamps like that which was marked down from 845. Go got a grew deal!

  4. Ashley says:

    AH-MAZING!!! I love it!!! Now I’m gonna be on the hunt for one of those music tripods cause I love those tripod lamps!!! Thanks for sharing!

  5. I just love what you’ve done with that lamp, it’s gorgeous! I have this linked to my lamps & lights post too today, well done!

  6. Arancha says:

    Absolutely amazing, I love it. Congratulation !!

  7. Great conversion! Lack of supplies over here is the bane of my existence – the number of blank looks I get in Bunnings when looking for very simple things is extraordinary. I’ve been wondering about lamp kits, good to know they are pretty much non-existent – grr!

  8. Susan says:

    I love the table version you made… great idea using a music stand. I will have my eye out for one though I’ve never seen one with such a great patina, I may have to get my faux patina to work on a newer one. Thanks for the inspiration, you have a great site!
    Susan

  9. ginger says:

    So creative! loved the tutorial wonderful blog

  10. Laurie Forbes says:

    This is a great project! And I know exactly what you mean about seeing a lot of DIY projects where so many supplies are not readily available. I live in Canada, and even then, when I go looking for specific supplies, most are only available in the USA! It’s very frustrating to the rest of us!
    Keep up the great work! :)

    • He, he. Totally hearing your pain Laurie.
      I was recently looking for a nice, affordable plug-in wall lamp. Wouldn’t think it would be too hard, would you? I was so excited when one of my Google searches finally revealed an online store with over a thousand to choose from! I was searching “pages from Australia” so just assumed it was an Australian based store. Well, that was pretty stupid of me! Didn’t take me long to realise it was a US site – of course :-(
      Still yet to find one (yes, one!) decent plug in wall lamp here aside from the IKEA ones. I’ve had to improvise (will post about it soon).
      Kristine

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  13. Beja says:

    SO so glad I found you on pinterest tonight! My friend is a Texas to Queensland import. HOWDY to you, and I love this idea.

  14. Becky says:

    I never thought I’d be one to follow a blog, but you changed that. I have so much enjoyed checking out your blog post after being aimed here via Pinterest. This darling lamp brought back memories of my sister playing her accordion on the front porch back home. She still plays it or I’d beg her to let me make her music stand into a lamp.

    • Ha, ha. Thanks so much Becky. Given you never thought you’d be one to follow a blog, I’m incredibly flattered that you consider mine worthy. A lovely compliment.
      Thanks again.
      Kristine

  15. Mel says:

    How difficult is it to wire the electric components. I have hunted everywhere myself I want to make some wall sconces but kits are no where to be found. Bunnings I can do 😊

    • To be honest Mel, it’s not difficult. The problem we face here in Australia though is the legality of it (which is why it’s so hard to find kits and tutorials). It’s very frustrating that basic DIY isn’t allowed where electrical and plumbing is concerned (this is why they can charge so much!) however I somewhat get the government’s position – thanks cowboy minority!
      If you have a sparky friend (or even a savvy DIY’er) I would suggest seeing if they are willing to help/teach you. Otherwise, there are some fun and creative ways you can repurpose table/desk lamps and basic Ikea fixtures. Have you seen these other posts of mine: http://thepaintedhive.net/2014/12/easy-diy-lantern-lamp/ | http://thepaintedhive.net/2014/09/a-desk-lamp-becomes-a-wall-light/.
      I wonder how hard it would be to get your hands on an Electrician’s Guide Book?
      Kristine

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