I have been told by some of my friends that I should do something with the many lamps, chandeliers and whatever light sources I have laying around. So I decided to write a short article on how to upcycle an old lamp.
First, you need to come up with a reason why you would want to upcycle a lamp. For me, it was that some of the materials of the lamp could be used for other things than just lighting up my room or whatever space where I am hanging it from. Now on this particular lamp, there are glass plates on both ends which can be put in between books for decoration purposes, but there are also glass disks on top of them inside of these metal rings which makes them look like flower petals when turned upside down.
Now that I have a reason to upcycle the lamp it’s time for me to find one. If you are not sure whether or not there are other lamps or chandeliers out there in the old junk pile somewhere you can always look around your loft, basement, garage, shed and other spaces where people tend to keep things for longer than they should perhaps be kept.
Also, check with family members if they know of any place where you might find light fixtures that are still working but are considered useless by said person since they don’t want them hanging around their places anymore.
The next step is to figure out what kind of materials do you want to use on your lamps. You can use almost anything as long as it’s not too flammable or hazardous in any other way. You can use metals, plastics, wood, fabric and so on. The only thing that you should take into consideration is how thick the material is because if you want to have a lampshade with a certain dimension it’s important to know beforehand what thickness your material will have after being cut into a circle.
For this particular upcycle I decided to use metallic disks from old chandeliers and between them some glass plates which I happened to have laying around. It would be nice if some of these materials had been kept in some sort of boxes but since they were just put somewhere in my storage room it took me a while to find all the things that I needed for my project.
The next step is to start upcycling the lamp. The process is not very difficult but it does require you to do at least this much in advance:
1. Find the place where you are going to work; if it’s outdoors or somewhere else that is out of reach for pets and children, consider yourself lucky! If not, make sure that there won’t be any accidents when you’re working with power tools.
2. Remove all the old light bulbs from the lamp (unless they are LED); consult specific instructions if needed; remember to let go of any remaining electrical charge before touching any metal parts of the fixture by using earthed materials (e.g., grounding yourself to an electricity distribution board).
3. Clean each piece of the lamp with soap and water to delete any dust or other particles that could be on them.
4. Find out the size of your final product by cutting a small circle inside which you are going to fit all the pieces, remembering to leave enough space for it all to function properly.
5. Cut all the necessary pieces from the materials you chose; if you are not experienced in cutting circles out of various materials, use templates or find someone who can do this for you without charging too much money.
6. Use sandpaper (or some other material) to smooth metal/glass surfaces after being cut into shape; consider putting masking tape over sharp edges if they are still there after sanding because these could harm you badly if you are not careful enough.
7. Assemble all the pieces together according to their function in the light fixture; remember to put glass plates on top of metal disks first so that they can be tightened in place by using small screws, after which you can screw the plastic rings around them for extra stability/to achieve the desired shape of your final product.
8. If there are any holes left unfilled by material, fill them with glue or some other adhesive and leave it to dry; make sure that there won’t be any leaks once these parts start being used again (e.g., hanging from a ceiling).
9. Put old light bulbs back into the lamp and test whether everything works properly before putting it up for sale or using it at home; try putting them into different rooms with different kinds of electricity sockets (e.g., most European plugs/sockets are round, while some American ones are flat) to make sure that there won’t be any problems during use.
10. If your lamp doesn’t work, check whether everything is connected properly and consider taking it apart again if you’ve forgotten to do something important in the early stages of upcycling.
11. Consider adding an extra detail like a lampshade if the light bulbs you used don’t have one or if they don’t look good enough on their own; remember to take into consideration how much space is between each piece so that they wouldn’t hit each other if turned on.
So, why do this upcycle? There are many reasons to do it including saving money, reducing waste and creating unique pieces of decoration that reflect your personality. I am the kind of person who loves decorating my home with funky pieces that are one of a kind; something that nobody else has because they are unique. This also helps me reduce my carbon footprint by recycling materials instead of buying new products made out of new resources.
Maybe you think upcycling is not worth it or it takes too much time so you prefer buying some mass-produced new lamp but have you ever stopped to think about how much energy producing these lamps requires? It’s actually insane what people don’t realise until they start researching into some products they use everyday.