My tea set lamp; the first DIY project of the summer

The final product.

The final product.

Continuing my post grad adventures, today I built a lamp. Let me preface this post by stating that I am not the handiest girl around. I can manage a hammer and screw driver, but once you get more advanced than that I am out of my league. Today was a real learning experience, luckily I was with someone who knew what he was doing. I was inspired and advised by two blogs: Vintage Revivals and My Repurposed Life.

My handy boyfriend Kevin I created a lamp from pieces of a tea set. I bought all the tea set parts cheap at Home Goods and the lampshade at Ikea (although after assembling it I realized the shade is too small and I will have to get a larger one).

My pre-lamp tea set.

My pre-lamp tea set.

Before we could begin putting anything together we made a trip to Home Depot to buy a drill bit (I didn’t even realize these were customized by purpose and size!), a lamp kit (this has all the wiring and bulb appliances needed), a threaded rod and rubber washers (these go on either side of the ceramic to keep it in place).

You have to drill holes in each plate/cup in order to stack them on top of each other and run the rod through them. We put the hole in the center of each piece except the teapot which I decided to orient at an angle, as if it were pouring tea. We chose a 3/8 inch drill bit because that is the side of the rod I bought.

IMG893

Drilling these ceramic and china pieces was very intimidating for us because we were scared we would crack them. A bunch of DIY blogs I read said to start drilling at a 45 degree angle and slowly raise the drill until it is perpendicular to the plate/cup and then to let the drill grind without pressure.

While I think this is probably a good method for some plates, it did not work for us. We had to apply more pressure than was recommended to make any mark on the plates and we did not find any advantage in starting at a 45 degree angle versus starting perpendicular. My advice would be to try the careful way first and see how it works for you. It just did not do it for us.

IMG890

The best tip I found was to drill under water. The drill and plates got very hot as we drilled so doing it under water made sure it didn’t over heat and ruin the drill bit. At first I slowly poured water, letting it collect within the lip of the cup or plate and replenished it as it evaporated. But the drill started getting really hot so I switched to a hose which I sprayed on the “mist” setting continuously while Kevin drilled.

Pouring water onto the underside of a saucer.

Pouring water onto the underside of a saucer.

After drilling through the set, which we found can take 3-5 minutes per piece, comes the fun part: deciding how to order it! I tried it a couple different ways before settling on one.

My final order.

My final order.

Then I followed instruction in the lamp kit on how to string the wire up through the rod and connect it all at the top. Finally I put the lampshade on and voila:

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4 thoughts on “My tea set lamp; the first DIY project of the summer

  1. yay! so happy to see your lamp. It’s very sweet. It’s really hard on a drill to do this, isn’t it? I think one needs a drill press with a heavy duty drill to do it a lot.
    thanks for linking to My Repurposed Life!
    gail

    Reply
  2. Looks like a great job! I would have loved a video with all the water spray drilling etc. It sounded like you had good fun putting this thing together!

    Reply

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