After 20,000 miles on the road, our original ceiling lamp bit the dust. Instead of purchasing a new light, we decided to make one from scratch! This DIY copper pipe lamp is now structurally sound for the road, and we were able to customize the bulb placements to give us extra light in our tiny home. Enjoy this step by step tutorial!
*Click here for a tutorial on our DIY copper pipe curtain rods.
Step 1: Design your lamp
We designed our lamp to have three bulbs pointing towards the ceiling to create a soft bounce light in our living room. A lot of our design was trial and error – holding the design up to the ceiling and making adjustments. The overall look we were going for was a mix between rustic and steampunk. Keep in mind, the larger your lamp design the more expensive it will be. Copper piping is not cheap. For a cheaper alternative, you can make the same lamp out of PVC pipes and fittings painted any color you want.
Our ceiling lamp cost $175 in materials
2). Purchase materials
Once you have a design drawn out, it’s time to purchase materials. Any big box hardware store will sell copper pipping and fittings. Check the plumbing section for adaptor and fitting options. We chose to purchase more than we needed and returned any extra materials.
Materials used to construct our DIY copper pipe lamp:
- Copper piping – 1/2″
- Copper elbows, tees, and adapters
- 3 light sockets
- Electrical tape
- Iron floor flange (for lamp base)
- Copper-colored spray paint
- Additional aesthetic pieces: mini flower pot, gage and spigot
Step 3: Paint parts that you want to look copper
Our light sockets and iron floor flange needed to be painted copper to match the rest of the lamp. We used one can of hammered metal finish spray paint by Rust-Oleum. We kept some pieces gold colored because we liked the look.
Step 4: Cut tubes to length & lay out assembly
We suggest laying out your lamp pieces on the floor before assembly. Improvise adjustments if needed.
Step 5: Pre-drill holes for revits
After trying and failing with glue, we chose to assemble the light with rivets. Pre-drill holes in the adapters and tubes.
Step 6: Feed wire & assemble
Assemble your pieces together with rivets, feeding wire through as you go.
Step 7: Wire the sockets
We used these light holders and found adapters that would fit the copper tubing . It was necessary to disassemble the light holders we purchased to remove the socket. Next we wired the socket to the electrical wires and insulated the wires and socket with electrical tape. We wired our sockets in parallel and made sure the threaded part of the socket was connected to the neutral wire and not the hot wire (more info here).
Step 8: Finish lamp assembly
Assemble the last pieces together, including sockets, with rivets. Insert lightbulbs (LED Edison bulbs). In our situation, the sockets fit snugly enough that we didn’t even need to secure them but you could easier put a setscrew in the adapter to prevent the socket from wiggling away.
Step 9: Connect to power
Test your lamp while it’s still on the ground.
Step 10: Connect your DIY copper pipe lamp to your house wiring
All finished! Enjoy your new DIY copper lamp.
Disclaimer: We are not electricians! This tutorial involves electricity and is to be done at your own risk.
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