Turning an Heirloom Into a Lamp

9 Materials
1 Day

I inherited an old silver clarinet from my grandparents. Before starting on the project we checked the value and it wasn't worth anything and it was too far gone to be repaired. I knew I wanted to do something with it rather than letting it sit in it's case and never be seen. I decided to turn it into a lamp!

turning an heirloom into a lamp
It was extremely tarnished so I wanted to clean it up. I first tested several techniques for cleaning silver you can see that tutorial here -

turning an heirloom into a lamp
I started with the Boiling method: In a pot place a large piece of tin foil in the bottom, fill with 4 cups of water, and 1 tablespoon of baking soda. Bring to a boil. Place your silver in the boiling water for 10-30 seconds and pull out. It's pretty amazing to watch the tarnish literally disappear!

I took the largest pot I had and did the bottom half and then the top half.
turning an heirloom into a lamp
I wiped it clean with a soft cloth and then in between the spaces I used a q-tip to finish cleaning it.
turning an heirloom into a lamp
There was a stretch of the clarinet that didn't make it into the pot so I needed to clean that up with a different method. I first tried a baking soda paste but that wasn't working as well as I wanted so I used the

Toothpaste Method - For this use regular toothpaste (not gel). I used Crest no flavor regular toothpaste.
turning an heirloom into a lamp
Put the toothpaste on a cloth and rub the silver with the toothpaste. Rinse off when finished cleaning. Again for I used toothpaste on a q-tip to get in between the spaces.
turning an heirloom into a lamp
Here it is all tarnished removed - what a difference!
turning an heirloom into a lamp
I bought a square base at Hobby Lobby. We drilled a hole in the center, I painted it black, and put a top coat of polyurethane on it. We added a nut in the center for the next step.
turning an heirloom into a lamp
My husband had an extra base for a clarinet stand he wasn't using. We screwed that into the nut and base.
I placed the clarinet onto the stand.
turning an heirloom into a lamp
I placed the clarinet onto the stand.
turning an heirloom into a lamp
On top I added a cork light fixture. The cork fit directly into the top of the clarinet and I added a light bulb to the top. I has a plug that you plug into the wall. I secured the cord on the back by attaching it to the clarinet on with some metal wire twisting it through the keys and around the cords.
turning an heirloom into a lamp
Here is it all finished and we love it. My husband and I met on in college on band scholarships - we sat right next to each other. We both have a passion for music and we loved adding this heirloom to our home.

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Have a question about this project?

1 question
  • Skr1487015
    on Apr 21, 2018

    Beautiful job, have you thought to make a shade using old sheet music?

    • Chas' Crazy Creations
      on Apr 21, 2018

      Thank you and that is a good idea :) I originally was wanting to have a neon light bulb made into a "blue note" coming out of the top. I looked into that and found out they could make the blue note neon light but it wouldn't fit into the socket and there isn't an adapter that would fit into it. Back to the drawing board :)

Join the conversation

4 of 20 comments
  • Joanie
    on Apr 22, 2018

    What a great memory.......still in your hearts and minds and displayed so beautiful!!

  • Ann Kelsey
    on May 6, 2018

    I loved what you did. It speaks to my heart when people give useless instruments a second life. My only suggestion is to give it an old hat as a shade, Maybe paint the inside of the hat silver to cast out the light. I just think it would bring it to life.

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