Upcycle a Light Fixture Into a New Lamp
In light of Earth Day and the recent attention that climate change has been receiving, you may be looking at items in your home in a new light. Instead of simply replacing and tossing out an old item, it could be repurposed for something completely different, upcycled. Like into a diy night light.
That’s what I thought when we did our master bathroom renovation. As the demolition got started, and the light fixtures came down, I looked at the globe and thought it could be used for something really cool. And it sure did!
This DIY Night Light tutorial is a part of the Less Is More, Thrifty Thursday series. This series is meant to inspire you to reuse, repurpose, and create new decor with second-hand decor, items you have on hand, and dollar store finds. Great decor doesn’t need to be expensive! This is a collaboration between Erin from Practical Whimsy Design, Martina from The Lived-In Look, Jaclyn from One Thousand Oaks, Elizabeth from A Well-Purposed Woman, Junette from Windmill & Protea, and myself. Please check out their projects at the end of this post.
Supplies For DIY Lamp
- LED Light String/ Fairy Lights
- Vinyl Decal
- Rubbing Alcohol
Step 1: Clean The Light Shade
You’re going to want the lamp shade to be really clean for the new night light. Give it a good soak to clean off any built-up grime. You may need to scrub at it with ah cloth too.
The vinyl decal will adhere better if the lamp surface is squeaky clean. Wipe rubbing alcohol on the outside of the lamp and let it dry. This really cleans off any leftover residue that soap did not take off.
Step 2: Make Your Vinyl Decal
I have the benefit of owning a Cricut machine that cuts and prints on a variety of surfaces. It’s a crafters dream tool. Using their Design Access program, I created a Hawaii scene that would be on the night light. Then my Cricut machine cut it out of vinyl.
If you do not have a vinyl cutting machine, you can purchase a vinyl decal that you like from a craft store, online, or use stickers to make a scene.
Keep in mind that when the night light is on, you’re only going to see the silhouette of your decal or stickers. And they will look black.
Black vinyl is usually less expensive than colored vinyls and can be bought in bulk. Since this decal was going to appear black anyways when the light is turned on, I decided to stick with black vinyl.
Step 3: Stick On Your Vinyl Decal
If you’re new to using a Cricut machine I highly recommend looking up Jennifer Maker for guides, tips, and designs to get started. Her website is where I learned how to use mine.
So once your vinyl is ready to transfer, decide where you want it to go. Test out sitting your lamp shade in the wood bowl base to find out how much of the light sits inside the bowl. You may want to use a dry erase marker to mark a line at the tip of the bowl, although I didn’t do this.
A word of wisdom: go slowly with putting the decal on, especially if it is large. Curved objects are harder to stick a decal on than flat surfaces. The leaves of my palm trees are closer together than the original design because of the curved surface.If you can cut your decal into smaller sections, that will be much easier to work with.
Take the protective backing off of your decal and stick the center of it on your lamp shade. Work from the center out, pressing the vinyl down and pushing air bubbles out. Using a thin, flat object like a credit card really helps to get the air bubbles out. This will help your vinyl decal to stay on longer.
Step 4: Add String Lights/ Fairy Lights
Add LED string lights inside the lamp globe. LED’s are great because they don’t get hot like other night lights do and they emit a nice glow. You can leave the battery pack out or tuck it inside as well. I have these ones from the Dollarama that I picked up at Christmas time.
*Update* These LED fairy lights start to dim as the batteries die. After having used this night light daily for 2 months (approximately 12hrs daily) I have discovered that a set of batteries will only last about a month- maybe 2 months if they are good batteries. I am now on the hunt for fairy lights with an AC adapter to plug this light in instead of being battery operated.
Step 5: Set In Wood Bowl
Set the lamp shade (with string lights) into the wooden bowl with the opening facing down. I stand the battery pack up in the wood bowl and set the shade over top of it to hide the battery pack.
Since I am tucking the battery pack inside the base of the lamp, I did not glue the lamp shade to the wood base. This way I can easily lift the globe to turn the lights on and set it back into place.
If you’re keeping the battery pack outside of your lamp, then you may want to glue the lamp shade to the wood base. Apply a thin bead of hot glue around the inner perimeter of the bowl, then set your lamp shade into place. This will make your diy night light into one secure unit.
The Final Lamp
This diy night light is for my son. He loved our trip to Hawaii and still talks about it. Which is why I put some of his favorite things from the trip (seeing whales, racing around palm trees, and counting convertible cars). He has been using his new lamp every night. I love that it doesn’t get hot so no burns if he happens to touch it. He is very gentle with it so I’m not concerned about the glass globe being unattached, but you know your children best, so please take any necessary precautions. The string lights in the lamp give off a soft glow, enough to comfort him, but not enough to make his room all lit up. And if fills me up with joy knowing I made this diy lamp for him myself.
Enjoy your new lamp and take pride in knowing that you repurposed house items instead of adding to the landfill! This is something that needs to happen more, and I hope that this Less Is More series for Thrifty Thursday helps inspire you to do that.
Please visit my fellow designers and their Less Is More projects:
This is such a great idea for reusing these lights. I am definitely wanting to look around for materials to make this. What a wonderful project and fun memory for your son.
My daughter loved your project and so did I! Very creative and I love how it is a reminder to your son of your tip to Hawaii. That’s the best part of DIY making items that are meaningful and precious to your family. Nice work! ?Elizabeth
Sara-Lynn Houk says
I’m glad she likes it too! The personal value of a diy makes all the heartache and struggle worth every it. Thanks!
Jaclyn | One Thousand Oaks says
This is such a cool idea!! I use to have a few of these saved in my decor stash because I wanted to figure out a way to use them, I never did have anything come to mind and when we moved I got rid of them! I am kicking myself now for it because I had a beautiful green glass one that would have looked so cool turned into a light like this!!
Sara-Lynn Houk says
Ugh I hate that feeling of figuring out a good diy after getting rid of something. A green one would have been so neat! My creative heart aches for you. An idea for if you come across any more in your thrifting adventures!
I bet if I show this to my kids they will want night lights like these too! Better start looking out for lampshades at thrift stores! I love your creativity!
Sara-Lynn Houk says
They are so easy to find. I am really glad I hung on to it! Good luck with your search
Sara this is such a creative project for a kids room, I love it! Now to get my hands on a cricut , lol. Great job!
Sara-Lynn Houk says
Thanks Martina! I was intimidated by it at first. But it’s an awesome tool and it can do so much!