I’ve known for awhile that my living room (full reveal out now!) had a lighting problem. There was exactly one light in the room, the one in the ceiling fan. At night the room was dim and yellow, and honestly made me feel like I was about to be murdered. Clearly, more lights were needed.
I knew I wanted a standing lamp to go on one side of the couch. But I dithered for quite awhile about exactly what that lamp should look like. I left on a trip up to our Wisconsin cabin, hoping to find something there that would inspire me. I was in luck.
I found this ratty looking teapot on top of a cabinet. It’d clearly seen better days, but I was convinced I could make it into a pretty cool DIY standing lamp (or more specifically, lampshade!)
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- Two 2″ x 2″ x 8′ Furring Strips– For lamp stand. Furring strips are pretty gnarly, but if you dig through the pile and find two straight ones, then you’ll save a lot of money versus buying prime pine/oak/poplar. Give them a heavy sanding once you get them home, and they’ll be good to go!
- Lamp Making Adapter Kit– For wiring the light.
- 2 1/2″ Wood Screws– For building the base
- 1/4″ Bolt (3″ long), Wing Nut, and Washer– For creating the adjustable height.
- 8 Washers– These are to help support the screws in the base. The hole in the center needs to be slightly larger than the 2 1/2″ screws you purchase.
- Teapot– You’ve got a 100 year old aluminum teapot sitting around, right?
- Barkeepers Friend– For cleaning the teapot.
- 9001 Glue– For securing the teapot in place.
- Craft Cording– 10 yards of 9/32″ cord covered a little less than four feet of lamp cord.
Part 1: Build the Base
Step 1: Cut the Pieces
After a thorough sanding job, I cut one of the 2″ x 2″ x 8′ furring strips to be 70″ long. I set the other 26″ piece aside to be used later. It will ultimately be the arm of the DIY standing lamp.
Then I drilled a a 1/4″ hole in the middle of the board five or six inches from the top. This will be for the 1/4″ bolt to secure the arm of the standing lamp in place. I eyeballed the placement of this based on what I thought looked good.
Then I took the other 2″ x 2″ x 8′ (not the leftover small piece) and cut four pieces to be 18″ long. At this point, my pieces look like this:
Step 2: Assemble the Base
Then I took one of the 18″ pieces and screwed it to the bottom of the 70″ piece, adding a washing for security. See photo below.
A couple tips for this:
- Make sure you’re working on the right end of the 70″ piece, aka the end without the hole.
- To keep the top piece level while you attach it, place one of the 18″ pieces underneath the other end.
Then I turned the structure 90 degrees and repeated the process. At that point, I had two 18″ pieces attached to the 70″ piece. For extra security, I wanted to attach those two pieces to each other, so I took the base over to the workbench and clamped it:
Then added a new screw that connected the two 18″ pieces.
Then I added the third and fourth 18″ pieces, alternating between the floor and workbench as necessary, making sure two screws went into each piece.
The photo below is of the setup for the fourth piece. I put both screws in at the same time after setting this up:
Step 3: Prep and Attach Arm
That 26″ piece that you set aside in Step 1- it’s back! Drill a 1/4″ hole 5-6″ down from one end, once again eyeballing to see what you think looks good. This is for the bolt that will connect the piece to the rest of the base.
On the other end, a few inches down from the top, drill a 3/4″ hole with a spade bit. This hole should not be on the same sides as the bolt hole, but be perpendicular to the bolt hole. I didn’t take a picture of the holes themselves, but I did label a photo of the arm connected to the base, which might help.
Then thread the 3″ bolt through the corresponding holes on the 70″ and 26″ pieces, adding the washer and nut once the bolt is through the holes. Decide the height of your DIY standing lamp, and tighten the nut in place. Then the base is done!
Part 2: Prepare the Teapot
Step 1: Wash the Teapot
My teapot was tinted reddish from the iron in the water at our cabin, so the first thing I did was give it a thorough scrubbing with The Barkeeper’s Friend. It removed all of the rust, but of course, didn’t do anything about the scratches and dents. I was okay with that.
As a side note, it was important to scrub the teapot before doing the next step. Cutting off the base of the teapot will make it less stable and therefore more likely to be damaged/crushed if scrubbed too hard.
Step 2: Cut Bottom Off Teapot
Since my dad has more experience cutting with an angle grinder (and I wanted a smooth cut,) I let him do this part while I photographed. We strapped the teapot to the workbench with ratchet straps:
Then cut the bottom off with an angle grinder.
Safety gear, especially eye protection, is important here. The little bits of metal flying off the teapot are tiny, and could easily get in an eye.
Eventually, the bottom was gone, and all that remained was the iron-deposited inside. (Not rust, apparently. Aluminum doesn’t rust.)
Step 3: Smooth Cut
At this point, the edge of the aluminum is sharp enough to cut, and needs to be smoothed out. I started with a metal file to smooth the most jagged sections. I identified which parts needed smoothing below:
After the obvious uneven parts had been smoothed out, I was left with a bumpy, rough edge.
A little bit of 80 grit sandpaper did a quick job smoothing that out.
Step 4: Prep Teapot for Wire
Using a really small drill bit, I drilled a hole through the nail holding the wooden green top in place. This popped the top right off. Then I slowly enlarged the hole that was left with larger and larger drill bits until I had a hole that was 1/4″ large.
Then I grabbed the green wooden top thing:
And enlarged the whole just enough so that the threaded hollow piece that came in the lamp making kit could screw into the hole:
Then I put the threaded bit through the hole in the top of the teapot, and secured it in place with a white adapter and socket base from the Lamp Making Kit.
Finally, I glued the top of the teapot to the bottom using using 9001 Glue. This stuff is strong. While I didn’t plan for it to entirely hold the weight of the teapot, it totally could if necessary.
Part 3: Finish (Optional)
Step 1: Stain Base
I tested three or four different stains I had on one of the leftover pieces of 2″ x 2″, and decided to go with the Minwax’s Early American on the base of the DIY Standing Lamp. I usually use wood conditioner on the cheap woods, but after testing on my scrap piece, I decided go without this time.
I always test my stains before starting. Always. It’s my number one secret to getting the perfect look on my projects!
Step 2: Embellish Lamp Cord
Vintage Revivals added some macrame to a lamp cord awhile back, and I thought that would look excellent wrapped around my light stand, so I went ahead and followed her tutorial to add the look to my cord. She gives great instructions, so I’m not going to repeat them here, but if you like the thick, chunky look of my lamp cord, go check out her post!
Part 4: Assemble
Step 1: Secure Cord and Teapot
I threaded the cord through the 3/4″ hole on the arm of the stand, around the handle of the teapot, and through the hole in the top of the teapot.
As you can probably tell, I lowered the arm of the stand so that I could rest the teapot on a table while I worked.
Step 2: Wire Light Socket
I mostly followed the instructions in the lamp kit. It started by having me tie the cord parts in a knot:
Then wrap each wire around corresponding screws in the light socket. It does matter which wire goes to which screw, so read carefully!
Then my DIY standing lamp was done!
I love it! The teapot adds character, plus it’s been awesome having a reading light for the couch!
I also think the old style teapot fits right in with the aged look of some of the furniture!
I might ultimately add even more lights, but I think this is a good start!
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