bbb craft sistersDIYdiy projects

diy project: filament lights

by Grace Bonney



we were feeling inspired by all of the beautiful filament light bulbs we keep seeing! this week we took on making some of our own lights, something that sarah was in need of for her place. a trip to a lamp supply store provided a wealth of ideas, and we put together these simple light fixtures with these beautiful bulbs. it makes for a lovely and totally easy light installation! bbb craft sisters

CLICK HERE for the full how-to after the jump!


what you need:

  • 40 or 60 watt filament light bulbs – Edison reproduction bulbs are some of our favorites because of the great shapes and quality of light, and are available at specialty lamp supply stores or houseofantiquehardware.com
  • lamp sockets – we used simple porcelain sockets much like those found on antiquelampsupply.com
  • lamp cord – you can use plastic covered cord (the least expensive, found at most hardware stores, and some can be bought with attached plugs to simplify the process) we used a rayon fabric covered cord found at specialty lamp supply stores or antiquelampsupply.com
  • wall plugs – a variety may be found at hardware stores – we used white Bakelite plugs much like the styles found on antiquelampsupply.com
  • wire cutters
  • needle nose pliers
  • screwdriver


what you do:

1. determine the length of cords you would like and cut your cord into equal pieces (or different lengths depending on your design). we decided to do several 12’ cords that can be plugged in and hung over a bookshelf or from hooks on the ceiling. note: the cord that we used has three wires inside of it. depending on the thickness of the cord that you use, there will be either two or three color-coded wires wrapped inside of the plastic or fabric outer covering of the cord. in this case, our lamp socket had 3 terminals (the place where you attach the wires, it is essentially a screw, also color coded), including a copper screw for the hot (black, red or yellow) wire, a silver screw for the neutral (white) wire and a third for the ground (green or green stripe) wire. for this amount of wattage the ground is not necessary. our wall plug had only the first 2 terminals so in this case you can attach the third ground wire with the white (neutral) wire to the silver screw.

2. take apart the wall plugs and lamp sockets with the screwdriver and thread the cord through the hole on the top part of each (this sounds more complicated, but often the plugs and sockets will come with a visual how-to for this).

3. cut a bit of the rayon fabric covering on the cord back so that you can get to the wires.

4. separate the wires and remove the insulation from the copper wire with the wire cutters by gently cutting through it and then pulling the insulation off. you should leave at least ½” of the un-insulated copper wire exposed. twist this copper wiring a bit so that it stays together.

5. using the needle nose pliers you will then wrap each length of exposed copper wiring clockwise underneath the proper terminal screw’s head in the wall plug.

6. once the wires are secure, screw the plug back together.

7. for the lamp sockets, do the same as you did with the wall plugs. there is often an additional ground terminal and the ground wire is noted with a green stripe.

8. once the wires are secure, screw the socket back together.

9. choose your favorite bulbs, and you are done!

we plugged them in to an outlet that is connected to a light switch, making it easy to turn them on and off. you can, however, buy a switch that can be plugged in to an outlet to be able to more easily turn the lights on and off.

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