Let your creativity take flight by turning a vintage birdcage into a birdcage lamp any songbird would love! We’ll show you how to use a lamp kit from the hardware store to turn a flea market birdcage into a real working lamp.
We got the Make-A-Lamp Kit at the hardware store. We used a drill to make the holes in the birdcage, but other than that, this is a simple screwdriver project!
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How To Make A Birdcage Lamp
Flea Market Finds
Medium-sized wooden birdcage*
Vintage sheet music (have color laser copies made)
Vintage buttons, 8 large and 8 small
White or cream lampshade
Westinghouse Make-A-Lamp Kit, 18 gauge cord
Westinghouse All-Thread Lamp Pipe Kit, 1/8-IP pipe, 12″ length
Westinghouse Brass Lamp Harp, to fit lampshade
Glitz scrapbook paper, Vintage Love Velvet, 12″ square, 2 sheets
K & Company scrapbook paper, Mira Chocolate Rose, 12″ square, 2 sheets
Grosgrain ribbon, Olive Drab, 5/8″ wide, 18 feet
Drill and 3/8″ drill bit
Hacksaw (if needed)
Mod Podge Gloss-Lustre decoupage medium
Hot glue gun and glue
*Cage Gauge: Before you buy a birdcage, make sure it is made of wood. Also check the top and bottom to make sure the surfaces are sturdy enough to drill through.
1. If your birdcage has a finial on top, carefully remove it. Using the drill and 3/8-inch drill bit, create a hole in the top center of the birdcage. Flip the birdcage over and find the center of the bottom and mark with chalk. Then drill a hole in the bottom of the birdcage.
2. Measure the height of your birdcage. Your lamp pipe needs to be the height of your birdcage plus ½”. You may need to cut a second piece of lamp pipe using a hacksaw and connect it to the first 12″ piece using the brass coupler that comes in the Make-A-Lamp Kit. The lamp pipe should stick ¼” out of the top and the bottom of your birdcage. Secure each end of the pipe with a washer and a locknut.
3. Feed the loose end of the electrical cord up through the pipe in the birdcage, then through the hole in the bottom of the lamp harp. Next slide the socket cap from the lamp kit onto the cord and screw the end onto the lamp pipe. Pull the ends of the cord apart and tie them in an underwriter’s knot to keep the cord in place.
4. Feel the ends of the cord to determine which one is ribbed. Connect the wire from the ribbed cord to the silver screw on the socket from the lamp kit. Connect the other wire to the brass screw on the socket. Tighten with a screwdriver. Cover the socket with the shell from the lamp kit, then snap the shell onto the cap by rocking it back and forth.
5. To cover the lampshade, have color laser copies made of the sheet music. (It’d be fun to use the actual sheet music, but if it is two-sided, the back side will show through when the lamp is on.) Cut the sheet music copies to fit onto the lampshade. Decoupage the sheet music paper to the lampshade using the Mod Podge and a foam paintbrush.
6. To cover the vertical ribs of the lampshade or hide the seams where the sheet music meets, cut strips of ribbon a few inches longer than needed. Hot glue the ribbon onto the shade and tie the ends of the ribbon in knots. Hot glue a piece of ribbon around the top and bottom of the shade over the vertical trim.
7. To make the rosettes, cut a sheet of Vintage Love scrapbook paper into fourths. Cut the corners off to make the squares into circles. Dampen a circle with the water spritzer and crumple to soften. Accordion pleat the circle to make the back of the flower. Cut a sheet of Mira Chocolate Rose scrapbook paper into fourths. Dampen a piece with the water spritzer and crumple to soften. Shape into a rose and hot glue to the pleated back of the flower. Hot glue a large button in the center of the flower, then glue a smaller button on top of the first. Repeat to make a total of 8 rosettes. Decorate the lampshade by hot gluing the rosettes around the center.
8. Screw a light bulb into the socket and plug in the lamp. Attach the lampshade to the harp. Top it off with the original finial from the birdcage if it fits or one you found at the flea market. Finish your beautiful birdcage lamp with an uncaged craft bird. Just hot glue the little guy to the top edge of the lampshade. Tweet tweet!
Tippy Tip: If the bottom of your birdcage is flat, the cord might make your lamp tip a little. Either raise the birdcage lamp up by adding cork feet or carve a notch in the base to fit the cord.
This kind of lamp kit is great for an item with a long neck or a ginger jar. If you want to turn a bottle or candlestick into a lamp, just use the nipple style lamp kit instead. It’s super easy, plus there’s no drilling. Here’s a how-to we wrote for turning a candlestick into a lamp.
Have any questions about the birdcage lamp? Just leave us a comment. We’re here to help!
Jennifer & Kitty
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