The last time I was at Goodwill, I snagged a tripod for $4.99. Now, I already have a tripod for my camera (also acquired at Goodwill for under $5) but I picked this one up as well because it looked sturdy, heavy and well-made. Oh, and it was $4.99.
I got it home and unfolded it, and it was like a hanky from a clown’s pocket – it just kept unfolding! The thing is huge. With the legs extended, the camera sits higher than my head. It was only after getting it home, though, that I noticed several of the pieces that are supposed to screw on tightly to secure the extended legs were actually missing. And a quick Google search revealed that I wouldn’t have much luck finding replacement parts as this tripod was, in fact, vintage circa the 1960’s.
Needless to say, I decided *not* to entrust my camera to such a structurally questionable, albeit attractive, piece of equipment.
Instead, I decided to wire it for electricity!
Now, I realize that a tripod lamp is hardly an innovation, however, I do like that mine is a little more on the sleek and modern side rather than the more rustic wooden tripod lamps you typically see.
So I went to Home Depot and grabbed two things for around $12 – a 3-way light socket and a 15 foot lamp cord. Note: YOU DO NOT NEED A 15 FOOT LAMP CORD. I did not need a 15 foot lamp cord. I had it firmly set in my head that the standard 8 foot cord that comes included with “make-a-lamp” kits was going to be too short for my towering tripod. Well: it would have been perfect.
So. Go to Home Depot and buy one thing – the lamp kit – for around $10. It will have the cord, socket and a lamp shade harp & finial.
I spent way too long trying to figure out how to mount my light socket to the top of the tripod before realizing that the top camera mount piece could be easily removed, leaving a perfect diameter hole for the socket to sit inside. (Of course, if you do this project, odds are your tripod will be slightly different and you will have to undergo intense frustration as well.)
Now for the wiring. I wired and rewired this socket approximately six times while trying to figure out how to mount the light socket, so I have it DOWN now. This is super easy, so don’t be scared at all!
Obligatory reminder to make sure you don’t electrocute yourself and then blame me – make sure you don’t plug the cord in until AFTER you are finished with all your wiring. You’re welcome.
Thread the wire up through your lamp/tripod/stuffed-roadkill (okay, whatever it is you are turning into a lamp) and through the bottom half of the socket.
Tie the two ends of the wire into a pretzel shape. The official term for this is an “underwriter’s knot,” but you have to admit, that name is not nearly as helpful or evocative.
Connect the end of the “hot” wire to the gold screw, and the neutral wire to the silver screw. Your wiring kit will tell you which end is which. Mine was wrong. When I followed the directions exactly, the light wouldn’t turn on. So I actually had to switch the wires. Brynne: 1. Light kit: 0.
Nestle the wired socket down into the bottom half of the gold metal shell and snap on the top piece. Screw in a light bulb, plug in the cord, and make sure it works!
By the way, it does!
P.S. I was trying this lamp shade out from Target, but I’m not 100% sold on it. I think pure white might be more what I’m going for, which is why I haven’t removed the plastic or stickers from the shade in case I decide to return it.
I love the vintage Star-D sticker!
And the yellow-gold cord… and the brass detail on the legs…
You might have also noticed that the dreadful olive green wall has made quite the transformation… I’m loving the new brighter look and can’t wait to share with you soon!
What do you think of the lamp? New wall color? What were you up to this weekend?