WV DIY Team: Transform an old lamp into a beautiful water feature

By By Rich Chapman
WV DIY Team
RICH CHAPMAN | Courtesy photo
The final product, with water pump installed, is ready for your garden.
RICH CHAPMAN | Courtesy photo
You will need a lamp, two to three different-sized bowls, clear silicon caulk, spray paint, a drill, diamond tip drill bits, a titanium drill bit, cold water, a tape measure, wire snips, a Phillips head screwdriver and a small water pump to create a DIY water pump.
RICH CHAPMAN | Courtesy photo
If you can’t remove it by squeezing, then try to use a screwdriver to pry off the shell at the bottom of the socket (2). Pull the socket up and use the wire snips to cut the wires, and then pull the remainder of cord out of the bottom (3). Unscrew the nut on the lamp (4). Mark the center of the bowl, and be sure to put a small amount of cold water on the bowl surface to help cool the glass and diamond tip drill bit (5).

Do you have old items around that either have sentimental value or you don’t want to get rid of?

Many of us find ourselves the beneficiary of grandma’s or granddad’s possessions, and the question becomes how we honor these gifts that may be outdated or of no use to us while enjoying the memories created around them.

A great way to keep these items out of the closet, basement or landfill, is to repurpose them into something more useful. Whether you’ve inherited items or, like me, have a love for thrift stores and flea markets, I’ll help you find new and beautiful ways to display those old items.

Whatever your skill level, the projects presented in my column will take you from a novice do-it-yourselfer to an expert. Let’s start by transforming an old lamp and some old glass bowls into a beautiful water feature for your garden.

You will need a lamp, two to three different-sized bowls, clear silicon caulk, spray paint, a drill, diamond tip drill bits, a titanium drill bit, cold water, a tape measure, wire snips, a Phillips head screwdriver and a small water pump.

The first step is to dismantle the lamp. Start by squeezing the shell at the bottom of the socket. If you can’t remove it by squeezing, then try to use a screwdriver to pry it off. Next, pull the socket up and use the wire snips to cut the wires, and then pull the remainder of cord out of the bottom.

To loosen the lamp body parts, unscrew the nut on the lamp, which is located at either the socket base or bottom of the lamp. Be sure to note the location of the lamp body parts as this will make it easier to reassemble.

Decide the positioning of the bowls on the lamp body, and be sure to leave at least 3 inches between the top of one bowl and bottom of another. This will ensure an even flow of water between the tiers.

Next, measure the thickness on each section of the lamp base where the bowls will sit. This will help you determine what size drill bit you will need for the glass bowls. The old saying “measure twice and cut once” should be followed when preparing to drill holes, as well.

After rechecking your measurement, place each bowl on a solid surface face down. Mark the center of the bowl, and be sure to put a small amount of cold water on the bowl surface to help cool the glass and diamond tip drill bit. Apply water several times during the drilling process.

As you are drilling, be sure to apply minimal pressure to keep the bowl from cracking. It is also a good practice to first use a smaller drill bit to break through the surface and then the final drill that matches the size you need. Be sure to rinse the bowls with water after you have drilled.

If you like the finish on the lamp, you do not have to paint it. However, if you want to really change the look, spray painting is a great idea. If you do paint, be sure to allow adequate dry time.

Use a titanium drill bit to make a hole large enough for the water pump tube to fit through in the section of the lamp base just above where the bottom bowl will sit. Now you are ready to reassemble the lamp base.

Put the lower lamp parts on the base, place the largest bowl and use the silicon caulk to seal around the bowl where the bottom meets the base. It is best to feed the tubing through the lamp base as you move up. Continue with the same process for the top two bowls.

Before placing the lamp finial on top, be sure to drill a few holes through the top so water can flow freely through the fountain.

Allow several hours for the silicon to thoroughly dry. Once it has dried, hook the water pump to the tubing, fill the bowls with water and plug in the pump. Within seconds you will have a beautiful water feature that can be used indoors or outdoors.

Pat yourself on the back, you have taken something old and made it new!

If you enjoyed this article, stay tuned for my monthly column where I will help you make old new again. I’m Rich Chapman and this is the motto of my business, Refurburator, where I always strive to make use of an old or discarded item by refurbishing, repurposing, or chalk painting it to give it a complete facelift.

Refurburator offers custom furniture painting, interior design, chalk paint classes and estate sales. The shop is located at 3706 MacCorkle Ave., SE, in Kanawha City. Contact us on our Facebook page – Refurburator, email Refurburator@aol.com or call 304-981-1581.

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