Everybody give Shelly a big Art of Doing Stuff welcome with all the enthusiasm you show me every day! ~ karen
Hello Readers (who must be so smart because you read such a smart blog)! I’m Shelly Leer, aka Mod Home Ec Teacher, and Shelly Miller Leer. I’m so appreciative that Karen, one of the truly BEST bloggers out there, invited me (so I’d quit nagging) to write a guest post for The Art of Doing Stuff.
So, here’s the back story in a nutshell. Way back in the olden days of DIY blogs and bloggers, there weren’t that many of us. I was a writer for Curbly.com, and Karen was getting her blog started. I came across her somehow and sent her an email. I knew right off the bat she’d be a star, and secretly pride myself on the fact that I knew it before there was enough DIY traffic to even have a star.
We’ve connected off and on and I sincerely consider her to be one of the best and most worthwhile bloggers in the bloggy blogosphere. She had me hooked when she wrote that early, clever post entitled “How to Recover a Chair in 5 Minutes” where she plopped a Mongolian throw over an old MCM chair. Brilliant!
Sidenote: I’m an upholsterer turned DIY Blogger turned upholstery teacher and still a DIY blogger. Furniture is really my thing, but I’ve been living a double life in the DIY world.
On with it already!!
Late in the Fall, on one of my regular thrifting trips, I came upon a spectacular authentic vintage lamp at my local Goodwill Store. Many times I pass up unique pieces just because I need to purge so many ‘meh’ things in my garage. But this lamp was too good and too unusual to leave behind. It had two problems though. It had no shade and it had one scary looking plug. Rewiring lamps has become second nature to me since I clearly have an obsession with scouting out and scooping up vintage lamps in organic shapes, preferably white. I also have a stockpile of decent and inexpensive lampshades I’ve come across while thrifting, so the lamp cord was the only real issue.
Alright, let’s get started with this little DIY on how to rewire that spectacular lamp you might find with exposed wires, circa 1940.
First and foremost, you don’t have to fear rewiring lamps. The wire kits come with all the instructions you need. You can buy the entire kit, or each of the pieces separately. This lamp worked, so I knew the socket was good.
***Always follow the directions that come in your kit.
A flat head screwdriver
Needle nose pliers
A new cord/socket kit with instructions
Here’s what you do:
- Poke a hole in the bottom covering so you can access the cord inside the lamp base
- Remove the top of the light socket and the cardboard sleeve to expose the wires and screws
- Unscrew both wires on the light socket. One will be on a silver screw and one on a brass screw
- Remove the old wire from the lamp, pulling it down and out the bottom of the lamp
- Review the manufacturer’s instructions with your new lamp cord and/or entire kit
- Determine if your new cord needs some of the plastic to be peeled back to expose the wires, or if it’s ready to attach like this one. Very nice and user friendly.
- Insert the new cord through the lamp base and up through the threaded pipe in the top of the lamp. Even though it looks like I’m helping this lamp give birth, it’s just my arm threading the cord through the upper pipe in the neck of the lamp.
- Now, you need to split the cord about 4” down from the top and tie the Underwriter’s Knot which is included in a diagram on the instructions.
- Here’s the most important part: there is one side of the cord that has grooves all the way around it (flat head screwdriver in the photo is resting on the grooved side). The other side is smooth. The grooved side goes on the silver screw, and the smooth the side goes on the brass screw. MAKE SURE YOU GET THIS RIGHT.
- Replace the cardboard sleeve over the wire and screw piece of the socket
- Replace the metal sleeve onto the socket
- Trace and cut out a new piece of felt to glue on the bottom of your lamp for furniture protection.
I’m not such a fan of this kind of lampshade, but I had it on hand, it fits the lamp and it only cost $11.99, also at Goodwill.
My studio upholstery classes in Indianapolis have attracted students from all over the US. Our recently added online upholstery courses, Upholstery Knockouts, includes students from the US and Canada who are learning how to upholster through our online ‘classroom’ (private blog) videos, written materials, a private Facebook Group, as well as emails and group calls. If upholstering in your jammies sounds like the way to go, check out ModHomeEc and the Upholstery Knockouts sales page for the class that is now in session.
Thanks to Shelly! I’m back tomorrow everyone so I’ll see you then. Wait. No I’m not. I’m not coming back until Friday. See? I’m so tired from working I can’t even be trusted to make sense anymore. ~ karen