DIYdiy projects

diy project: sarah’s china teaware lamp

by Kate Pruitt

I’ve seen a few lamps of this kind available in stores lately, but they are all a bit pricey; it’s clearly a great design that is begging for a DIY version. So I’m thrilled to see someone tackle this very feat and with such great results! Sarah Goodwin, designer and founder of the creative firm Daisies & Pearls, created this custom design for a local bakeshop — perhaps the most perfect spot for a porcelain teaware lamp.

The hardest part is sourcing such lovely porcelain pieces, but once you’ve found them, the steps are remarkably easy. I love the mixture of solid white and patterned pieces, and I’m tempted to challenge myself with a floor lamp version! Thanks for sharing, Sarah! — Kate

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


  • lamp kit (available at most hardware stores)
  • strong ceramic adhesive
  • teaware (cups, saucers, teapots, etc.)
  • plate with fluted edges for the base
  • drill press or corded/battery-operated drill*
  • tile/glass drill bit*

* You can check out our first DIY 101 to learn more about drills and the different kinds of bits!


1. Submerge each piece of teaware in a tub of cool water prior to drilling to prevent the tile/glass drill bit from overheating during the drilling process. Carefully drill a hole in the center of each piece.

Editor’s note: When drilling all the way through a material, it helps to place the item on top of a piece of scrap wood to protect the surface beneath and to provide support for the material.

2. Now that the hard part is over, the design process can begin. Decide how the teaware should be stacked, taking in to consideration the lamp-kit wiring instructions. Begin gluing the pieces together. I found that working in sections is best. As the lamp is stacked, pull the wire through each section.

3. Once the adhesive is dry, finish the wiring and assembly per the lamp kit’s instructions.


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  • I love this! Got my brain workin’ on a few other things that could be done, love the floor lamp idea…maybe a really large pot for the bottom?!

  • I like it. I like the different colors, but it might look less “out there” if the china was all white.

  • love this!!! I love unique pieces and this is definitely for me!! bed lamps for my night stands..I am soooo doing this one.

  • I’m drooooling!! I purchased dozens of tea cups, saucers & a few teapots for my daughter’s tea-party birthday party a year ago and still have them all stacked up in my storage cupboard. They are all individual as I got them at flea markets, antique shops, thrift stores etc. I might have to make one of these for her bedroom out of her 5th birthday tea set!! :) LOVE THIS, thanks for the awesome tutorial!!

  • How delightful to see my tea lamp tutorial featured on Design*Sponge?! Thank you to Kate for the opportunity to share it with all of you. I appreciate those sweet compliments. It was a very fun project and proves to be quite the conversation piece at the bakeshop; which was my goal in creating it.

  • This piece is lovely! I am so excited to see this as a tutorial. I love this fanciful look.

  • Love the idea. I’ve collected “Aluminum ware”(?) for a while with the intention of doing the same type of lamp for my kitchen. Coffee-pot base, stacked with old jello molds, and topped off with an upside down strainer for a shade. Very “kitch-y” I even have the lamp kit. I just need to DO IT!

  • I nearly jumped out of my seat when I saw this! I LOVE the version of this at Antrho but don’t have the budget for it. Now I can’t wait to make my own :)

  • I KNEW I’d seen something like this before. If you’re more into the all-white (or all one color) sort of feel, definitely check out this tutorial I read a while back: http://www.dreambookdesign.com/2010/10/teacup-lamp-tutorial.html

    I LOVE the idea, but I’m definitely with some of the other commenters. The different patterns reminds me of my grandma’s house a little. For more of a modern, less cluttered feel I’d spray paint them all one color. But STILL, total genius and it’s definitely quirky!

    Love this tutorial!

  • I totally love this idea and can’t wait to try it. You collected some beautiful cups for the job too. Would love to see it with a more whimsy shade though.

  • I think this is beautiful! How amazed are my friends going to be when I tell them I made it.

    I also we wondering about the wet drilling. Should the tea pot be submerged in water?

  • I love this I have a cake shop and think it would look great on my display table going to do it soon need to gather all the materials love love it thank you for sharing!

  • Tara and Yanet – I believe you will have a problem with possible shock (or worse) if you leave the items in the water. The instructions say to submerge them first, which I interpret as meaning they should be allowed to soak up as much water as they can and then remove them, place on a piece of wood, and drill. I think if you found them overheating you could stop and submerge them again, and repeat the drilling process.

  • saw this on anthropologie… and i agree they can be pricey. i wanted to make my own but wasn’t sure how to go about it.. thanks a million for the ‘how to’… so excited to get mine going! ^_^

  • It’s unique. I give it that. But I think these kinds of lamps belong to specialty stores or houses. It’s too eccentric to be placed in a mainstream home.

  • love it! went to junk today in williamsburg for china and am gonna get the rest of the parts this afternoon. yippee!

  • I love this and now I am itching to give this a go. I will wait till we move in a few weeks time. Thanks for sharing this project.

  • Wow, Drilling through the china was not remotely easy, We went through two drill bits and broke like 5 things and only have 4 things drilled. Not nearly as easy as I was lead to believe

  • Sweet…I think a white lampshade better…you have a wonderful imagination..so whimsical and lovely. I’m going to shop for some lower priced thrift finds for mine.

  • adorable but I would find it so hard to hurt such pretty teacups! although this way they’re not in some cabinet, they’re displayed and well lit all the time!

  • I thought the same thing as someone above, incredibly whimsical and Alice-in-Wonderland. I actually really like it! I don’t have any tea cups or pots, but it’d be worth it to attempt this unique lamp! <3

  • The key to this project is to get the right drill bit. Get the one that is cylindrical with the rough tip as opposed to the one with a spade shaped tip. I made two with ten pieces each and didn’t break a single piece.

  • I love this lamp. Its fun and original and in my opinion much better than all those other boring lamps. Hopefully people will get the example and try it with other objects.

  • Awesome! My grandma is an antique dealer. Going over to her house this weekend to see if there’s anything I can have. I really want to make this for a friend. It looks awesome!

  • I Love Love Love this! Reference the drilling, it might be better to get a few extra pieces to try out. And the floor lamp, maybe you could start with different sizes of books, turned all different ways. Then about half way up start the china & or silver. In my mind it looks so neat.

  • Forgot to add to above: Use an old encyclopedia or any large book for the base of floor lamp. So the base is strong and wide to balance the lamp so it doesn’t topple over.

  • This lamp is at a tea shop by my house in Maine! How fun to see this page posted to pinterest and know the exact lamp and location of this place! Sweet Love is memorable from the tea cup lamp to the delicious lemon bars!

  • .Adorable! You are so creative and I love the linen shade!! All one color would take away from its whimsyness, which I’m sure was the look and feel you were going for.

  • Just as a thought… but I think it would be super cute to use a top hat like the mad hater hat as a shade! Just google over sized top hats! I am definalty going to tray this! You can go with all different kind of themes with this idea!

  • I LOVE THIS TUTORIAL!!!!I just wish people would take the instructions at face value and stop picking things apart ie: don’t like the shade, or there is too much pattern!, If you can’t say something nice KEEP your opinions to yourself! It is a wonderful lamp and it looks wonderful with the shade. Look at the room it’s in! Its PERFECT! The colors are great and the shade looks terriffic! You did a GREAT job and when other people decide to make this lamp, they can change whatever they want! Its beautiful Kate.. and thank you for the tutorial and I am definitely going to make this.