#EarthDay Upcycle: How to Turn (Almost) Anything Into a Lamp

Adrianne Surian
by Adrianne Surian
While a lot of people think "recycle" to go green, I think a lot of DIY-ers think "upcycle" - repurpose something thrifted or headed for the landfill, and make it useful again. I spotted this wobbly globe at a thrift store and decided that repurposing the EARTH would make a great Earth Day project! This how-to applies to just about anything you can drill a hole in, and wiring a lamp is probably easier than you think!
Earth Day project: repurposing... Earth! The globe was a $2.50 thrift find, and the lamp kit was $8. I re-used a shade I already had. So for about $10, we now have some unique lighting for our basement living area.
For this project you will need a suitable base, a lamp adapter kit, and a shade. You will probably also need a drill if your base doesn't have existing holes, and you may find heavy duty adhesive (like E-6000) helpful as well.
If your base needs holes, drill them. I planned to use the globe on its existing base, so I had to drill a hole at the top for my hardware, then at the bottom for the cord to go out the back. Tip: for awkward shapes or opaque items, run a length of wire through your holes to assist in feeding the electrical cord through the base.
Assemble your electric adapter according to the package directions. Add the adapter to the top of your base (mine is upside-down, it kept rolling). ;) Then, feed your wire from the bottom of the base up through the top. I wrapped my electrical cord with the wire I ran through the globe, so that I could pull it out the top through the adapter more easily.
Next, wire the lamp socket. Double-check your instructions, but it should be as simple as disassembling the socket, securing the wires with the grounding screws, and tightening them. Then, reassemble the socket.
Slide it all back together and if necessary, secure any weak points with heavy-duty adhesive. The globe was very wobbly (and poor Asia was gouged up, too) - certainly why it was at the thrift store in the first place). So my axis points all needed glue, and so did the adapter to hold it firmly in place on a hollow, cardboard item.
Let it dry, add a shade and bulb, and you've got yourself a one-of-a-kind lamp!
Adrianne Surian
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
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2 of 6 comments
  • Maggie May's Gifts Maggie May's Gifts on May 18, 2015
    GREAT idea for a lamp in a kid's room!!!

  • Connie Connie on May 15, 2019

    I have an old globe like this & one of the Moon but it is from years ago when I was in school. That was long before WE LANDED ON THE MOON. I think it is so cool all these ideas to do with things from the 40's & 50's. I love DIY's. CC. .