Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Tripod Lamp

Tripod lamps are certainly not a new idea, but there's been a resurfacing of the style recently... There's new versions currently being sold in pretty houseware stores, as well as older versions at antique markets, both of which are selling for hundreds of dollars.

Well how about making your own for a fraction of the price and a little time? Saving money, a plus. The satisfaction of DIY (do it yourself), plus. And the ability to design it to your specific style, also a plus.

Here, I'm going to run you through a few options to DIY, including how we did the one below, and the cost factors. I chose this used tripod (from KEH of course) with chrome legs and attached survey style head.

Price factors: Tripod (+ optional head), lamp parts, lamp shade, and bulb. All of these prices vary depending on the styles you choose.

What you'll need: A tripod, lamp wire (this is the cord), nuts and bolts, plug end (attaches to the wire to plug into the wall socket), light bulb socket, lamp nipple, zip ties. + Option one: threaded pipe and reducer also needed. Option two: tripod head and bracket also needed.

Lamp kits are available at most hardware stores, or you can purchase the pieces individually. We purchased each piece because we wanted a longer cord (12 ft.). Most kits come with a 6 ft. cord. The total of all the pieces was $18.50 (not including the tripod and shade).

Depending on the style of lamp and shade you want, there are a few additional items you will need. Most floor lamps and larger style shades have a spider/harp fitting and require a harp and finial. The other options are a slip UNO fitting or a clip-on fitting. We used a harp and finial, and chose a shade with a spider/harp fitting. (There's a great lampshade buying guide here that shows the fitting options.)

There are two main ways to do this. Option one: Use tripod legs only (no head). Remove the center column or center screw if installed with the legs. Mount threaded pipe through the hole in the center of the legs with a nut on each side. Add reducers that are the size of the lamp nipple, and then mount the lamp kit on top. Option two: Find or make a bracket to attach in between the tripod head and the lamp kit.

I chose option two because I wanted to utilize the tripod head. It gives the lamp aesthetically something extra, and we kept it to where the controls still function with the lamp on it. The lamp parts can also be taken off the tripod at any time and can once again be used as a tripod with no damage to it (this is true for either option). We made our own bracket using a piece of steal that was cut with a torch into a strip, bended with a vice, and then drilled two holes at the ends for the bolts to fit into. This way does require additional tools and skills over option one, so plan accordingly.

Once the lamp parts were assembled, we pulled the tripod legs in so that it would take up less room on the floor, and tightened all of the screws and bolts so that it couldn't move. We then added a few zip ties to hold the cord to one of the legs so that it wouldn't be in the way. This is essential if you have children, animals, or clumsy adults around!

All that's left now is to add your chosen lamp shade.


Our final product

Happy lamp making! You can view our selection of (new and used) in-stock tripods here.

© BSC