How to Make a Lamp {DIY Bottle Lamp}

How to make a lamp! An easy DIY tutorial!

How to Make a Lamp

All the instructions for how to make a lamp are simplified at the end of this post if you want to skip to it, but I’ll go through step by step first with more details.

So, like I mentioned yesterday, I made a lamp. Never thought those words would come out of my mouth (nor did you, I’m sure HAHAH!) but sometimes you do things because you know exactly what you want and you can’t find it anywhere. And when you do find something similar, it costs a million dollars. And you don’t have a million dollars. Or you have to wait weeks to order something and you want it RIGHT NOW. I’m SO impatient. Usually I can compromise and find something else that would work, but this time, I knew what I wanted and I wasn’t going to settle.

I wanted a BIG GLASS LAMP, and I found just what I was looking for at a local flea market. I found a big beautiful blue glass water jug!

diy lamp

Basically you could make an lamp from just about anything. That’s great news for those of us who love unique lamps and lighting with character but don’t always like the price tags. I also love BIG lamps (well, and tiny ones) but they are not that easy to find at an affordable price.

My lamp is obviously the size of a water jug. Have you ever noticed when you take pictures of things in your house that accessories and items often appear smaller than they really are? Or sometimes they appear larger, it all depends.

But in real life, the scale of this lamp was a big deal to me because of the high ceilings in the entry. I didn’t want a tiny lamp on this table. I like big lamps, I cannot lie. In fact, truth be told, I’d rather have a few bolder accessories than a thousand little things teetering on a table or mantel. But that’s just me. Less is more.

diy bottle lamp

Because my lamp started out its life as a glass water jug, notice how the words are upside down since they are designed to be used with the spout down. That is part of the character of the lamp, right? Right.

This lamp was VERY easy to make. So easy in fact I wondered why I had never tried to make a lamp before and my wheels started spinning with all sorts of DIY lamp ideas. I didn’t really find a tutorial I used for this I just made it up myself according to what I thought would work with this jug, although I know many people have made bottle lamps and might have their own way of doing it.

And of course, every jar or vessel you use for a lamp will be different so you will have to assess your own particular container to decide what would work best.

I will give a disclaimer — I’m not a skilled DIY’er nor am I an electrician. Anything I say should be confirmed with professionals as I am not responsible for any DIY mishaps you might have in attempting this at home. Proceed at your own risk.

Make your own lamp out of a bottle

If you look at a lamp you already have, basically all a lamp is the container, a socket and a cord. Sometimes there are stems or lampshades too. “I should be able to handle that,” I thought to myself! So armed with my vast un-tested knowledge of lamp making, I headed off to find a socket and a cord that would work for this jug!

There are actual lamp kits at Lowe’s that come with corks to hold the socket in place specifically for making a lamp from a bottle, or you can buy a set that has the cord and socket attached and ready to go (easy peasy), or you can do what I did which was to buy individual lamp sockets and lamp cords. The reason I went with the individual pieces was because I wanted a clear cord. And, I didn’t need the cork because the spout on the bottle and the socket were so close in size and I wasn’t going to use any stem or harp that needed stabilization.

diy lighting

Because I’m not an electrician and have no qualifications, I won’t tell you exactly how to attach the wires from the cord to the socket in case my misinformation causes you permanent injury or death. Nobody’s got time for that.

You can google it or better yet, ask someone at the hardware store or an electrician. My husband happened to know how, so we did it ourselves. It was easy and no one died. High fives all around for that.

Once the socket and cord were connected, I just stuck the socket into the spout of the jug, with the cord sticking out and put a little hot glue around the metal to adhere it to the glass. Easy peasy. Maybe there is a better adhesive so you can research that, but the hot glue gun worked fine for me. So far, so good!

lamp diy

If you want the cord to go inside the glass, you would need a special drill bit to cut glass so the cord would go out the side near the bottom or even through the bottom if you wanted to cut the bottom out. But in this case, I didn’t care that it was outside the jug. Because the cord is clear and the lamp is against a wall, it isn’t that conspicuous from most angles.

If you are looking at the lamp from the side, this is what you would see (photo above and below). If that would bug you, you might want to try cutting the glass and making the cord go inside and out the bottom. But either way, with glass, you see a cord or stem or something in the glass.

make your own lamp

I actually thought seeing the cord dangle out the back like this would bother me but it really doesn’t at all since it is a clear cord. I guess I don’t really look at it from the side anyway, and it is a glass water jug lamp so it just adds to the funky unexpected nature of the lamp. No biggie to me.

Lampshade for DIY Lamp

For my lamp shade, since I didn’t use a harp to attach it, I found that the ring style lampshades they sell at Target worked great. You can see what it looks like from under the shade, it just sets right down over the spout of the jug. You could use a little sticky tack if it wobbles or if you use a different sized jug you may need a washer or may need to use a harp (think that through before you start, because I think you’ll want to put the cord through the harp before you attach it to the socket.).

PHEW. So many words for such an easy DIY. But for those of you (like my husband) that say “Just simplify this for me, get to the point — what do I need to know?” haha, I will simplify it into easy bite-sized steps…

How to Make a Lamp! An Easy DIY tutorial!

To recap HOW TO MAKE A LAMP (modify as needed for your vessel):

1. PIN the above photo from this post so you can refer to it later and help spread the news that The Inspired Room MADE A LAMP! That is kind of a big deal. Heheh.
2. Find a glass water jug. I got mine at a flea market.
3. Buy the lamp socket and cord at a hardware store or reuse one you already have.
4. If your cord is not attached to the socket, attach the wires (consult an electrician if you do not know how to do this).
5. Set socket in spout of jug, pull cord to the side to it comes out of the spout.
6. Use a hot glue gun or other adhesive to stabilize the socket in the jug.
7. Set a wire ring style lampshade on the socket.
8. Plug it in and pat yourself on the back because you made yourself a cool LAMP!

If you make one, let me know! We can have a lamp party! Are you in?

You can find a similar clear glass jar on Amazon here if you’re hunting for one to make your own lamp! (affiliate link used)

Pssssssst…I got on a roll and made ANOTHER lamp! I made it out of a cool antique barrel. Click here to see it!

Find more details on the thrift store vignette with the lamp, painting and dresser!

For those of you who asked about the striped wall, here is a DIY on how to paint crisp stripes! 
I’ve linked up this project with Between Naps on the Porch!

My DIY Map Wallpaper {Small Hallway}

easy map wallpaper

Map Wallpaper For Walls: The DIY way!

So remember that one map wall? The wall you sometimes see in pictures of my house or kitchen, but I never really posted about? The post a few of you keep searching for on my blog and can’t find? Yeah. THAT one. Today is the day you can find it because I’ll finally share it.

After tens of thousands of emails and comments with questions about the maps (a slight exaggeration but you know what I mean), I thought I might as well put the answers in a post. Yay.

I actually kept putting off talking about it because I had a few problems along the way and never really solved them to my satisfaction, so I just never felt like it was worth talking about. I almost ripped it all down.

But you all know I have always had issues with DIY so why stop talking about my failures now? HA. And really a few fails and trials are just a part of the process of trying new things. No surprise there. You just keep tweaking or start over.

wallpaper for walls

So the short version is, I started this map wall BEFORE I actually had the wainscoting. Long before my kitchen remodel. On a whim. Without thinking through the end result. Sometimes that strategy works well. Thinking too long about something can rob your creativity and feed your procrastinator side!

Other times, thinking ahead is a GOOD strategy.

I’m happy with my map wall now despite the troubles it caused me, but here is the tale of how things went awry.

I started this map project thinking I could apply wallpaper paste to some heavy weight wrapping paper I already had (you can find the same map paper at Paper Source). I happened to have an old tub of wallpaper paste, so I just dove in one evening and started pasting. I’ve wallpapered a time or two before and while it is always a challenge, this project seemed like it would be fairly easy.

Well, not exactly. I had quite a few issues along the way. Surprised much? I didn’t think so.

map wallpaper

After tearing down some of the maps and trying again a few times, I decided pasting the rest of the maps was not going to happen. I was just over it.

From that point on I used some push pins to tack the maps to the drywall. I wish I had done that all along, so much easier!

Sometimes the simple solution is best. That is a lesson I’ve learned many times! 

I had no rhyme or reason to how I hung the maps, just trial and error. It is imperfect for a few reasons, but one is because it isn’t like regular wallpaper where you have long rolls and repeats to work with. The maps are just the size they are, so you have to work with that and deal with imperfection in where they end or how they fit on the wall.

I almost took all the maps down when we were remodeling so I could start fresh, but decided to leave them for the time being. The walls still will eventually need trim around the top and some repairs are needed to the wall, but that will be a project for another time. My house is always in process so I can wait.

This is a quirky and imperfect map wall. And I can live with that! That is part of its charm and part of what adds to this hallway’s personality.

I do enjoy looking at the maps and fondly remembering my travels! So that is a real success. A wall with real meaning!

map wall

My advice on using heavy wrapping paper on a wall is to use push pins if you want this project to be a no fail, easy DIY. As long as small kids can’t take your pins out, you are good to go. Plus, this is a perfect solution for renters or temporary fixes too! 

I have used wrapping paper and scrapbook paper on the backs of bookcases and that was fairly easy, I just used tape.

But if you really want to use paste for the walls (which could look amazing if it was done right), I would research it carefully first and maybe look for a less sticky solution or use a removable wall paper paste!  I’m sure there are better options than what I used on a whim, but since I don’t have experience with them I can’t tell you what to use.

map wall small hall

As you know, I’m still a fan of real wallpaper and would never hesitate to wallpaper a wall for the impact, with professional assistance perhaps, haha. 

So to recap this Map Wall DIY with a few of my tips!
1. I used heavy map wrapping paper from Paper Source, not real wallpaper.
2. I hung most of the maps with push pins after wallpaper paste didn’t work for me. I used simple metal push pins that stick out from the wall, not the flat kind.
3. I overlapped the maps slightly as necessary (and even wrapped them around a corner) but the finished project will be imperfect since you are not working with rolls or repeat options like you would with real wallpaper.

The Inspired Room Map Hallway

Sources: The green light came from Barn Light Electric (you can find details on it in my kitchen source post). The subway art above the office came from Red Letter Words and the chalk message board details are here.

Have you ever papered a wall with gift wrap or scrap paper?

Share your experience and tips!

The Inspired Room is one of the top decorating blogs on the web. I’m glad you are here! For more inspiration, visit my inspiration galleries, the popular How to Decorate series and my own House Tour!

Decorating DIY {Ditto DIY Tray Project!}

diy decorating projects on a budget

DIY Decorating Projects on a Budget!

Welcome to our first {ditto} DIY challenge!

Are you ready for a a series of fun and doable DIY decorating projects? Once a month, beginning today, nine very different bloggers are attempting to recreate in our own homes a project or design element inspired by a haute couture design selected by Darlene Weir of Fieldstone Hill Design. (For more details on what {ditto}DIY is all about, check out this Ditto DIY post!).

diy decorating projects on a budget

In addition to Darlene, the participating bloggers include:

Ruth @ Living Well Spending Less
Cindy @ Skip to My Lou
Jen @ Balancing Beauty & Bedlam
Edie @ Life in Grace
Rachel @ Surviving the Stores
Karin @ Trophy Mom Diaries
Lauren @ I am THAT Lady
Kelly @ View Along The Way
Melissa @ The Inspired Room

Remember that beginning next month (on Monday, June 3rd) we are inviting you ALL to join the {ditto} DIY challenge! Be sure to visit Darlene to catch a peek of NEXT month’s {ditto} DIY challenge so that you ALL can join the fun! (Hint: We’ll be going for the GOLD!)

In case you’ve forgotten, this was our first inspiration photograph:

diy decorating projects on a budget

{A chic painted tray and vanity vignette, from the home of nina bergsten, photography by marcus lawett.}

The {ditto} DIY Challenge:

Create your own painted tray and vanity vignette.

Here is my first {ditto}DIY project:

I had an hour to spare on Saturday so I headed over to the only local flea market I know of to see if I could find myself a tray to DIY. I was tempted to just buy a cute one I liked already and skip the painting part, but instead of making this easy on myself I was determined to play along and actually paint a tray.


I spotted this round metal tray and knew it was the one for me. I liked that it was unique, round (kind of “porthole” like!) and I really liked the twisted handles.

But, it was NOT a precious metal and had a yucky not attractive wood center, so there was no reason NOT to DIY it! Right?

Yet, true to my experience with DIY, it did not come together without a hitch… here is the tale of my DIY tray.

diy project fail

It was a lovely almost summer-like day, so I took the tray outside to spray paint it.

First I sprayed it with a primer followed by glossy white spray paint, followed by a gust of wind and dust, immediately followed by a large bug with wings flying directly into the wet paint and getting stuck.



I will spare you the details of all that ensued with me trying to rescue the bug AND save the paint on my tray, but the end result was basically as you might have imagined.

Wings stuck to my tray.


Why do all my DIY projects end with some sort of crisis?

how to decorate diy

Nevertheless, I carried on as best I could and the tray turned out just fine in spite of the bug crisis. You can’t even see the wings, thanks to some strategically placed items styled on my tray. WINNING!

how to decorate a room diy

For this challenge, I simply used what I had to create a similar “vanity style display” with the tray, although I could take this same tray and style it in an entirely different way for another purpose.

That is the great thing about using a photo for decorating inspiration. You don’t even have to copy it, you can just be inspired by the idea, using what you already have or love!

diy home decorating {ditto diy}

So, there you have it!

My completed {ditto} DIY tray!

before after ditto diy project the inspired room

Remember that beginning next month (on Monday, June 3rd) we are inviting you ALL to join the {ditto} DIY challenge and post your own “after” project. This time we will “gild” something (i.e. paint it gold!)! You can find out more details on Darlene’s blog! The party will link up to ALL the bloggers listed above so it should be a FUN party!

*Be sure to check out everyone else’s Ditto DIY after projects via the links above, and visit Darlene’s blog for a peek at next month’s challenge along with some expert design tips on incorporating painted tray vignettes into your home.

Have you ever had a bug fly into wet paint?

How in the world do you get him out of there? Ha!

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