Create Your Own Lamp

You don't have to be an electrician or even be handy to build a unique lamp, using your own materials. Home improvement experts Morris and Jim Carey showed CBS News Saturday Morning's Dawn Stensland how to make a lamp from scratch. Step by step instructions are below.

You can make your lamp out of almost anything you like. In this example, the Carey Brothers used a plastic food container to demonstrate that it can be filled with any colorful objects its maker wants to show off. They noted that it is better to avoid using glass or sharp metal objects.

To start this project, you need a lamp kit from a home center. That will supply all the parts you need.

To begin, drill four holes in the food container: One on the lid, two on the bottom and one on the side. Take the end of the cord that doesn't have the plug and insert it through the tube. You need to start with a nut to hold the cord in place.
After inserting the cord through the tubing, hold the threaded tubing and secure the nut tightly in one end. Then pull the cord all the way through, being careful not to pull the upper end of the cord.
Next, strip the ends of the cord to prepare them for installation of the lamp socket. Place the base of the shade holder and put the lamp socket on by screwing it on through the threaded tubing. You can also use a decorative plate to conceal the nut. If you want to, you can also conceal the tubing by putting fabric on it, painting it or even using hollow brass tubing.
Get the wire into the socket and screw it in place. When assembling or re-wiring a lamp, the neutral or ribbed wire should go to the silver screw at the base of the socket. The "hot" wire on the smooth side of the cord should go to the gold screw. It is very important to wrap the wire on the screws tightly to prevent a loose connection.

Take the piece of cardboard insulation that comes with the socket kit to fully cover the exposed electrical wiring, and on top of it snap into place the outer cover that is both protective and decorative.

Finally, insert the harp, which is the device that holds the shade in place. With the lamp completely constructed you can fill the container with whatever you want -- like marbles or shells -- and then add a nice shade.

For more home improvement ideas, visit the Carey brothers' Web site at

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