Flipping through an interior design magazine the other day, I came across a picture of a light fixture that looked an awful lot like a painted rattan ball. I decided to make one myself. Making lamps is a fun and rewarding project, and the tools and materials needed are easy to come by and inexpensive.
For this project you will need wire-cutters, wire-strippers, electrical tape, a two-pronged electric plug, a light switch, electrical lamp cord, a light socket and bulb, a length of bailing wire (20-30 cm), a Phillips-head screwdriver and a rattan ball.
The rattan ball I used is the kind that looks like string wrapped randomly around a globe shape; they can be bought at Russian Market or at the southern-most end of Sothearos Boulevard, right before it terminates at Norodom Boulevard. They are pliable and come in multiple sizes. The other materials can be purchased at any hardware store.
Begin by connecting the light socket to the electrical lamp cord. Light sockets come in a variety of designs; some have wires coming directly out of them while others have removable parts. If there are no wires coming out of the socket, then unscrew the cap to reveal the socket body. Thread the cord through the socket cap, pull the lamp wire apart about four or five centimetres and tie the two ends into a single knot. Next remove about a centimetre of casing from each end with the wire snippers and twist like a speaker wire. Attach the wires under the screws one at a time and replace the cap.
If there is already wire coming from the light socket, then snip all four ends, making sure they are all the same length. Twist the wires together and carefully wrap with electrical tape.
Next, decide where you want the bulb to hang. Mark the spot on the cord and carefully slice a small slit between the two electrical wires. Then look for an entry point. Gently move the rattan aside until there is a hole big enough to fit the bulb and socket through. Once they are inside, slip the bailing wire through the slit in the electrical cord, push the rattan back and weave both ends into the ball to keep the fixture in place.
Next, decide where the light switch goes. Using a paring knife, divide the electrical cord, cut one side in half and remove a centimetre of casing from each end. Unscrew the light switch and attach the wires under the screws. Attach the electrical plug the same way you attached the light socket and you're done!
Wine bottles, vases, globes and seashells, sculptures and statues can all be turned into homemade lamps. Now that you know how simple it is, I am sure you will think up all sorts of ways to turn both common and unusual items into objects of illumination.