I love to come across old food produce tins and boxes in used good stores – they’re so versatile and really add a unique touch. Now I tend to buy something if it’s too cheap to pass up and I love it, even if I’m not absolutely sure what I’m going to do with it (hence the groaning garage full of stuff waiting to be revived!), so I decided to use one of the old wine boxes I’ve got and turn it into a light.
After fitting a few light fittings in my house, I was less scared of doing electrical work, but by no means am I an electrician!! Simple wiring of a lamp, changing a plug, fitting a switch are all things anyone can do, but you must check the regulations in your country and follow the instructions of someone that is qualified and knows what they are doing. I can just tell you what I did, but please do check for yourself as wire colours differ in each country and some must be earthed, etc. A visit to your local DIY store is useful to see all the electrical gubbins broken down so you can see how it all goes together and what’s available. Or take apart an old lamp you (while is isn’t plugged in!!) to see how switches and plugs are wired and how all that actually gets to the bulb!
For this light I used:
10mm threaded hollow rod
3 brass coloured bulb holder fittings
Dual electrical wire (it has a live and neutral wire inside)
Block of wood
3 Edison light bulbs
Old wine box
Wire cutters and strippers
Connectors – to connect all the bulbs onto one circuit
Firstly, I figured out roughly how high I wanted the bulbs to sit on top of the wine box, and then cut the threaded rod to size simply with a hacksaw and vice. I had to make sure the cut was fairly clean at one end at least as this rod needed to be threaded into the bulb holders. The threaded rod and jubilee clips were silver and I wanted everything to be brass coloured so I sprayed the clips and cut rods with brass spray paint – this was a little bit fiddly and after I assembled everything I had to do a few touch ups with a small paint brush after spraying a little of the spray paint to pool into an egg cup.
The wine box wood is really thin so there was no way that if I stood the cut rod through any holes I drilled in the top of the box would they stand up straight, so I added a thicker piece of wood to the underside of the wine box lid as a stabiliser. I just glued this on with some wood glue, and when it was dry I marked out on the top where I wanted my rods to poke through. Then I opened the box and placed it with the thick piece of stabiliser wood faced down on another piece of scrap wood so I had a stable surface to drill through. I drilled a hole with a wood bit just big enough for the rod to thread snuggly into the top of the box and through the thick wood stabiliser.
Next a bit of wiring was in order! The wire needed to be threaded through the rod and connected to a bulb holder – you just need to strip a bit of each wire off and use the mini screwdrivers to secure this in place in the bulb holder. Then thread the rod into the bulb holder. I then pushed and turned each of these threaded rods and the wire you’ve put through them into place on the wine box lid. I used the jubilee clips on the outside of the box to stop the rod ever being pushed down any further although the rod is pretty tightly secured into the wood, but they add a cute industrial look that I liked!
Now all the inner gubbins needed to be wired together! So this is where it gets a bit more complicated as all three bulbs need to turn on with the one switch. To start I added a plug to one end of some wire and then wired the other end to a switch. Another piece of wire was also wired to the switch and the other end of this piece goes into the wine box for wiring. I forgot to say that I also drilled a hole in the back of the wine box so that the switch and plug wire can enter the box!
So I had three pieces of wire in the box coming from the 3 light bulbs, and another piece of wire coming in the back of the box which is attached to the switch and plug. These are all connected together using the connectors – this is where you should google ‘wiring a 3 bulb lamp’ which will show you some diagrams which make this much easier to understand! This site here shows one of the simplest: https://www.instructables.com/topics/Wiring-a-3-bulb-lamp/ and this one site useful too: https://www.hunker.com/13414167/how-to-wire-a-lamp-with-two-bulb-sockets
It’s fiddly but really not hard to do if you look up the wiring – or start with a simpler 1 bulb lamp!!
After a bit of paint touch up I added the bulbs and hey presto a wine box lamp!