Lighting Ideas: Repair, Reuse, Recycle this Winter!

It’s that time of the year again! Enchanting luxury self-catering thatched cottage St Agnes, luxury thatched holiday Cottage St AgnesDays are getting shorter and Christmas is upon us again! With spending more time inside, than any other season, what better time to finally set some quality time aside for yourself and give that DIY project a try!

If you have been struggling to think of what kind of presents to get your family members or friends, why not surprise them with a home made gift this year? Or maybe you were looking for ideas on how to boost your mood at home this winter. On dreary and dark evenings, when the sun sets sooner, entering a house lit with warm and dimmed lights, makes coming back home feel more special! Adding some extra lighting can help you achieve that! Instead of buying a new lamp why not try out making one yourself ? If you are looking to create a relaxing and inviting atmosphere at home, without spending a fortune, we have some creative ideas for you to try out this winter!Looking forward to hearing all the old #Christmas songs?! What is your favourite?!

Here’s some lighting inspiration and few practical tips which will hopefully encourage you to “do it yourself” this winter!


Repair a chandelier

Do you have an old chandelier sitting in the attic? Think of the possibilities! Jazz it up with some colourful lighting cable aka flex, or go for more traditional look and add neutral/vintage tones, also you might need some new earthed lamp holders and replace any broken or split candle tubes and you’ve got yourself a new and revamped Chandelier which brings elegance and grace to any living or dining room area!



Reuse wine bottles(Pinterest images)

Up-cycle some old wine bottles with some twinkle lights, you can purchase them from various shops that can easily fit into a bottle, opt for smaller ones with a yellow or warmer glow, and place them inside the bottle reusing corks or leaving them open if they came without one! For a better effect use 1 large bottle for a statement piece or several like these 3 to emphasise the result.


Upcycle glass bottles

Instead of buying light shades try using fancy bottles of your favourite beverages, and fit them with a golden LED bulb which will not only last you longer, but it will also release that warm glow through a see-through “shade” which shows off the designer bulb as well as the bottle! A lot of LED bulbs have ornamental designer elements to them, there are so many bulbs to choose from, curly filaments to jewel ones that can make a statement and light up any room!


Reimagine, recreate and remake the vintage(Pinterest images)

Why not turn a homely object into a table lamp and give it as a present this Christmas? Maybe use a gorgeous teapot or a pretty vase picked up from an antique shop or local thrift store. Simply choose one of our table lamp kits, you will need to know the aperture of the top of your bottle/table lamp, material you are working with and if there is an exit hole for the flex, or you can use a side entry tube instead. Just don’t forget to pick out your favourite colour of flex, switch and plug.


Some other ideas worth mentioning include:

(Pinterest images)Using natural elements for interiors, a tree branch wrapped around in lighting flex and bulbs hanging down, instead of the usual chandelier/pendant?. An organic and eco-friendly solution for a country home perhaps or to compliment that fresh cut Christmas tree inside your house.

  • Do you have a family heirloom that has been passed down through generations, but needs a repair? Why not revive the antique or vintage item, and give it to a relative for Christmas; or if you can’t bear to pass on your handy work, place it strategically in your home to show it off at the next family gathering!
  • Candles are also are a great and quick way of adding some light and comfort for any occasion, but be careful around the flammables!

Why not Check out previous blog posts of our ‘How To…’ questions to help you on your lamp-making journey!

Thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoyed this post! If you would like to further similar DIY project ideas or tips for lighting let us know in the comments!

If you need any more advise or information about lamp parts and hardware just follow the link for our FAQ’s here and Useful Information Pages or give us as call on 01223 750153.

Seasons Greetings from Lamps and Lights!


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Bespoke Light Fittings

Lamps and Lights customer Bruce Stanley, a light fitting maker from Scotland sent us a great short article about his experience and design in converting bespoke light fittings. Here’s Bruce’s message:

Bespoke light fitting with antique lamp holder and shade rings with antique flex

Bespoke light fitting with antique lamp holder and shade rings with antique flex

“Over the years, I have made numerous light fittings for friends and family members. My ‘appointment’ as ‘light fitting maker’ comes from the fact that I am very much against drilling holes in vases and other such pieces to be converted into a lamp and the simple fact I have quite a comprehensive workshop…and yes, I can drill holes in porcelain, glass, etc.

Essentially, I can make these fittings in any shape, size  or style depending on the wishes of the owner/recipient, however there does seem a preference for the older styles. Over the years, I have collected quite an array of old brass fittings but, unfortunately, although nicely made, most of them are unusable because they no longer comply with the latest regulations or, in some cases, are just too expensive to repair.

Excellent components, meeting all specifications, can be obtained from the Lamps and Lights design and restoration hardware company who market a comprehensive range of fittings and materials.

Table lamp kits can be used to make or convert unique table lamps

Table lamp kits can be used to make or convert unique table lamps

My basic design to meet most applications entails the making of a wood (or any other material come to that) holder will can be inserted in to the neck of the vessel being converted into a lamp. Following machining and soothing the wood is stained and polished or painted to obtain the desired finish and effect.

As seen on the photographs, the main feature of my design is the fact that the electrical cable comes out of the side of the lamp fitting insert and not through a hole in the lower vessel.

Following assembly, the holder insert in place by wrapping the shaft with thin bubble foam so that it is a firm in the neck of the vessel. It is very important to note that, when completed , some lamps can be top heavy and require a certain amount of ballast – washed pea gravel, lead shot, etc. inside the base of the vessel to ensure adequate stability.

All electrical work should be done by a qualified electrician.”

Thanks Bruce for sharing your experience with us! If you are thinking of converting a bottle and/or a vase into a table lamp, we have various table lamp kits to choose from and for more help how see our useful information page.

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How to make a trumpet table lamp

Lamps and Lights customer Mike Wyn Davies, proprietor of Unique Trophies from Wales sent us this fab story of his journey upcycling an old battered brass trumpet, found lying around in his attic for years, into a stunningly unique table lamp. Here’s Mike’s story…

The plan was to mount the trumpet vertically on a hardwood base, this meant that 3 core cable had to be fed through the trumpet from the bell, through the three valves, around the pipes and up through the pipe holding the mouthpiece.
Feeding the three core cable though the trumpet was the biggest challenge as cable is flexible and it just kept doubling up on itself inside the trumpet.

A fine steel wire was used to feed through the trumpet, but the three valves still posed a problem. This was solved by removing and cutting them down, so that the wire did not have to go through them.

After successfully feeding the steel wire through the trumpet, the three core cable was warmed up in an oven to 70°C for 30 minutes and then secured to the end of the wire. Silicone spray was used down the pipes and on the cable to lubricate it.
It took some effort to pull the cable through, but it was completed successfully.

The photo shows the cable running through the three valve housings.

The base was cut from a hardwood kitchen worktop off cut using a band saw, and a router was used to give a bevel edge. The base was sanded and stained using a solvent based walnut stain, and finished with four coats of acrylic varnish.(Alternatively you could use a Lamps and Lights ready-turned and sanded hardwood Pattress).

Brass lamp holder with shade rings

Brass lamp holder with shade rings

A cork was used to seal inside the battered bell of the trumpet. Silicone spray was used as a mould release. This end was then filled with a fast setting modelling plaster. When set, it was removed and then this was used as a template and former to produce a close fitting wood cone on a lathe to fit into the trumpet bell to attach it to the hardwood base. The cone was screwed and glued to the wood base and drilled to take the three core electric flex. The trumpet was then secured to the cone using a silicone adhesive.
I used a Brass BC Lamp Holder with shade Rings (
Ref: LHbrass04-BC) and Brass Reducer (Ref: BBbrass01:1) I modified the reducer and soldered into the end of the trumpet where the mouthpiece fits.

The photo on the right shows what lies hidden underneath the shade; the brass lamp holder with shade rings, shade carrier, light bulb and lampshade.

This lamp looks very effective and has proved to be quite a conversation piece. Using a very battered old trumpet that was going to be thrown out has now been recycled. With a matching shade, I think you’ll agree it makes a unique and attractive table lamp.

Spotted at an Antiques Flea Market, this is another take on using a brass instrument converted into an unusual lamp. Musical instruments can form the basis of very unique and high quality lighting and lamp projects”.
Mike Wyn Davies

Thank you Mike, this shows there’s so much you can upcycle to create a stunning lamp!

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Renovate & Rejuvenate

new_stock_title_wall_lightsQ. Do you have a period property in need of restoration ?
A. Our antique finish solid brass quality lighting products are the answer and with our vast range of newly added wall lights you can fulfill any requirement.
We spend time searching for the best quality, safety sure products so you don’t have to.

new_stock_title_product_linesQ. Theatre set that needs a 1930’s period setting?
A. Then you’re looking for our Bakelite lampholders and matching black ceiling plates. Our easy to use website has clear photos, concise stock information with full product measurements making ordering your right products pain free.

new_stock_title_ceiling_platesQ. Want to fit a restaurant with funky bespoke lighting?
A. Try our new multi-cordgrip ceiling plates, add a collection of stylish light bulbs hanging from our unusual coloured fabric covered flex and you have that something ‘unique’ you’ve been looking for.

Our ‘no quibble’ returns policy if you find you order the wrong product, gives you complete peace of mind.

new_products_title_flex_we_offernew_stock_title_bits_bobsQuality Products
All of our products are sourced as locally as possible with the majority manufactured in the UK and the remainder from Europe. Tested to comply with the high specification of British Standards, we source and stock only the best products we can find, so you are buying top quality lighting hardware you can trust.
Top quality, does not mean top prices, we ensure we are still great value for money.

new_stock_title_deliverySpeedy Delivery
We hold large amounts of stock in house so we can send out your order to you ASAP. Our Next Day Delivery service is ideal for project managers, electricians, stage and set designers alike who don’t want to be held up waiting for those essential lighting fixtures. We pride ourselves on this fast turn around.

new_stock_title_lampholdersGreat Customer Service
We keep up-to-date with current trends and listen to what our customers want. Our increasing product lines does not however mean decline in service. We ensure our staff are very knowledgeable of our stock and are always there to answer your questions helping you make the right choices.
If you are not sure which lamp parts you need, our helpful friendly staff are always happy to assist.

We have the answers to your lighting dilemmas, so come on and give us a looksie …

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De-Light in the Art of Reinvention

builders-helmet-yellow-lampWith Upcycling being the talk of the town we are privileged to introduce artist and designer and regular Lamps and Lights customer, Michael Grassi, who is developing a range of bespoke lighting where familiar objects take on a new life.







Micheal Grassi tells us …

white-metal-colander-table-lamp“As an artist and designer I am always fascinated by objects and never one to be restricted by conventional thinking, I delight in the art of reinvention. I have created a range of lighting which dismisses the idea that form follows function.

I acquire ordinary manufactured items and turn them into objects of desire and possibly the next design classics; but that’s for the customer to decide.

white-metal-colander-finialI have chosen to work with lighting as it is one of my pet obsessions (my house and my partner will testify to this). I continually search for different components to use when designing my lights. Sometimes these are purpose-made, such as the shade carriers (which also go by the delightful name of gimbles) which I found at  Lamps & Lights and sometimes they are items which I adapt. I produce all the lights in very small numbers and each one is handmade (no mass production here).

There is a brave new world out there for repurposed objects…. “

Michael Grassi


We love the bright fun funky unique feel to Michael’s lights and are perfect for showing how our products can be used for the unusual. With so many amazing creations we didn’t know which ones to showcase, so please do take a look at them all on his website but Pasta La Vista really did make us all chuckle here in the office 😀



oil-spill-table-lampMichael Grassi can be found at

and at his itsalight ebay store

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How to make a vase into a lamp

ceramic vaseHave you ever thought how your lovely vase would be even more beautiful if it was a lamp?

You may have thought that it cannot be possible as the ceramic would shatter if you tried to drill the holes required for a lamp?

Well we’re here to tell you (and courtesy of customer David Johnstone, show you) that it IS possible!

Vase with fitted lamp holder

Vase with fitted lamp holder

The trick is
to use a circular diamond drill bit – and use it very slowly on the ceramic base in order to drill the flex and rod holes to avoid shattering the vase.

Although a potentially hazardous job,  don’t be put off by sculptors, shops etc who categorically say it cannot be done. Because it can!

and here is the proof…

ceramic vaselamp 02a big Thank You to David for sharing this valuable knowledge and for his superb photos using our stock to create his stunning ceramic vase lamp!






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New Parts for Old Down Under

We here at Lamps and Lights are always happy to receive your emails and photos and one of our greatest lunchtime pastimes is reading your stories of what you do with our products. One such delight comes all the way from Australia and we are truly excited to share with you Martin’s lamp renovations, he is also a wealth of information and is happy to spread his knowledge …

Parts for old lamps are almost impossible to secure in Australia which I why I have been very glad to find Lamps and Lights in Cambridgeshire (UK) on the internet. They provide an excellent on-line service for lamp parts offer a reliable postage at reasonable rates. Their packaging is always very good.

I have recently restored two lamps:
Lamp partsThe first lamp base had no fittings at all. As such I bought from Lamps and Lights a lamp-holder, base plate, three-core flex, felt mat and a shade carrier. The polish on the lamp was somewhat dull and the base was a little warped, so after sanding the base by hand to level it, I applied a little “golden oak” furniture stain to hide the scratch and then applied a furniture wax suitable for French polish.

After assembling the base I matched it with an Edwardian shade. The globe used was a 15 watt pilot globe, the type you find in a refrigerator.
The picture does not do the shade justice.restored lamp

One of my hints from this job:
I always put an “O Ring” on top of the shade carrier so that the shade is actually sitting on the ring rather than the actual carrier. This protects the shade and reduces the chance of damage when cleaning or handling the lamp.



This second lamp was more straight-forward:

old lamp_01I have had the base for about three years and bought the shade about six months ago. I originally bought the shade to match another lamp and whilst I was happy with the result I wanted to start using this particular base. I think it is Edwardian. I originally thought it was a converted candle stick but now I am not so sure. The original lamp holder is non-earthed, has a ceramic core and is made of brass with no Bakelite. Fortunately, it still worked. I bought from Lamps and Lights some 3 core flex and a shade carrier and this is the result… 🙂
(Though I should have straightened the shade before taking the picture!)


old lamp_02One of my hints from this job:
The shade was incredibly dirty; it must have been used as a ceiling shade for many years without being cleaned. Because old shades can have transfer prints which may be damaged by modern cleaners I tend to clean shades by soaking them in water mixed with a number of table spoons of bicarbonate soda (a common cleaning solution in the late Victorian period in Australia). I simply removed the shade from the solution once a day, sometimes twice, to give it a gentle rub and then returned the shade to the solution. I could have soaked the shade for longer as there are some very small ingrained marks, but I am happy with how it looks now. I don’t expect my old lamps to look like new.


We are delighted you are happy with our products and our service Martin, long may it continue! and please continue to send in your lighting successes … or failures! 😛


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