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.

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Email this to someone

Rocking Chair for the Nursery

I have a confession to make; I’m not really much of a sewer.

There, I’ve said it, and the truth is, I don’t even own a machine!

I mean, I can do basic straight lines – like pillows and the like (as you may have seen in previous posts) – though ask me about slip covers and you’ll be met with a blank stare.

Yeah, when it comes to befriending the sewing machine I pretty much always need a re-introduction by my Mum.

She’s an awesome sewer. She even made my wedding dress from scratch

I do truly hope to increase my sewing skills and confidence one day and it’s little projects like this one that help me take the steps needed – hopefully!

I recently found this pre-loved wicker rocking chair on eBay.

(I usually get a few questions when I mention buying furniture off eBay. I know many of my readers don’t realise I’m based in Australia where we don’t have Craigslist – well, technically we do though there are only about three things on it – so eBay is one of the biggest and best resource for picking up inexpensive second-hand furniture).

It was just what I was after; comfy, neutral, generously proportioned (perhaps a little too much so for my teeny nursery :-) and just that little bit different.

Though as with most second-hand finds there’s always something I gotta change – I wasn’t too keen on the shape and style of the back cushion so decided to replace it with a standard european pillow instead.

I sewed the simple envelope cover from drop cloth fabric to closely match the existing seat cushion and attached four timber buttons to give it some extra character.

I’m contemplating painting grain sack stripes on it though think I’ll wait til the nursery comes together before deciding for sure – it’ll probably happen though (I’m a sucker for those stripes!).

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Email this to someone

DIY Repurposed Basket Ceiling Light

I know repurposed light shades aren’t exactly a new idea though I did kinda just make this one up as I went along.

I really wanted a hanging pendant in the nursery though the ceiling is just too low so I instead opted to transform a standard batten fix (flush mount) light.

I started with this cool old zinc basket.

And this $7 DIY batten fix light from the hardware store.

Of course, you don’t actually need a complete fixture if you’re planning to use your own shade so if you can buy the canopy section alone (that’s the two-part brushed nickel bit as shown above) then go for it, though here down-under stuff like that can be kinda elusive so for $7 I wasn’t too fussed purchasing the entire light.

Using bolt cutters I created an hour-hole in the base of the basket just large enough for the neck of my standard ceiling batten holder to fit through.

Standard Ceiling Batten Holder

So, what’s an ‘hour-hole’ you ask? Oh, well that’s just when it takes you an hour to cut a hole you thought would take five minutes.

Anyhoo, I then centered the lower part of the brushed nickel canopy from my DIY light fixture over the hour-hole in the basket and attached it by wrapping and tightly tying clear fishing line around a few of the basket spokes and the three screws in the canopy so they sat flushly together.

Next I simply attached my new light to the ceiling as per any normal batten fix light.

Now, at the risk of sounding condescending, just in case someone wants further clarity regarding attaching it to the ceiling, the steps are….

1. Unscrewing the lower sleeve of the batten holder.
2. Covering the upper part of the batten holder with the top portion of the canopy.
3. Holding the bottom portion of the canopy (with shade attached) in place beneath the top portion of the canopy.
4. Screwing the lower sleeve back on to secure the whole thing to the ceiling.

To finish I decided to use a larger than usual decorative globe.

Oh, and I also removed the basket handles once I decided they looked just a little too ‘wrong’ up there on the ceiling.

So, now instead of the original boring old make-do drum shade….

Or this nice-enough-though-kinda-generic fixture….

I have this unique industrial style ceiling light….

So, this is probably not your typical nursery sorta light fitting though I really, really wanted one – and I’m sure once the room is complete it’ll fit in just right (even though Luke mentioned more than once that it didn’t look very “loving” for a baby’s room).

Well, I’m sure we’ll make up for that elsewhere :-)

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Email this to someone

Client Consultation…Dining Room Redesign

It’s been a little while since I shared a client project so here’s one of my most recent.

A little while back I was contacted by Sonja.
She has a charming home and wanted some inspiration to inject her gorgeous little dining nook with a touch of fresh cottage-coastal flair.
She wanted to retain the existing paint scheme, wall panelling and dining setting though was open to new ideas for flooring, window treatments and general decor.

So here’s what I came up with….

A new window seat for storage (and coziness!), rustic floor boards and a natural area rug, bamboo romans to show-off the gorgeous bay windows, a big mirror to reflect light and create the illusion of space, some harmonious colour pops to inject personality, a rustic narrow dresser to create an eye-catch and simple decor to let the room’s architectural elements shine through.

And here are the comparison before and afters…

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Email this to someone

Nursery Underway

Well, it’s official….my uncomfy office shoes are already in the trash (I spent most of today wearing moccasins!), this morning I finally got around to eating breakfast sometime after noon and tonight I found the time and energy to bake a dessert.

So, what does it all mean?

No more work for me – yay!

Now my head’s just a-swirling with all the fun and creative projects I can finally get stuck into before bub arrives, starting, of course, with the nursery.

I struggled for ages with the type of feel I wanted in the baby’s room.

I was sooo tempted to opt for a contemporary pop of gender-neutral colour….

Or to go for something dark and dramatic….

Though I think I’ve finally decided to stick with my favourite scheme – a fresh blend of earthy neutrals with loads of natural texture and some vintage elements.

So, that means whites, creams and rustic greys, character-rich timbers, raw linens, jute and perhaps a few metallic hints.

Here’s a little mood board I came up with….

You may remember the challenge I’m facing in terms of size and shape. The nursery is only around 2.5 meters square (8×8 feet approx.) and has a weird angle which cuts into the space so I’ve decided on just three main pieces of furniture; a cot (crib), a dresser/change table and some kind of nursing chair.

Although it’s gonna be tight I figure there are a few layout options I can probably get away with.

Though I would like quite a balanced layout, due to the irregular shape of the room and necessary proportions of the furnishings, it looks like a more asymmetrical finish will probably be the go. Though of course the final layout will depend on what items I actually find during my frugal searches and how best they physically work together in the space.

I can’t wait to get started!

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterPin on PinterestShare on Google+Email this to someone