Thursday, January 2, 2014

Thrifting Thursday (globe to lamp upcycle)

A while ago (a couple of months?) M found a globe on a wooden stand that he had to have, at the thrift store he works at. It was an old globe (early 1990's) and he didn't need it (obviously... who needs an outdated globe?) but it was one of those unsettled-have-to-buy-something days he has and it was only $5. I thought it might have some possible educational value... so I let him buy it.

I forgot to take a picture of it before I took it all apart... but it looked just like this one (which someone in CA is trying to sell :)

It was a handsome globe, with the the base and all, but not very practical. M's room is small, and he didn't really have room for a globe on a stand... the only spot he had to put it was at the end of his bed where he rarely, if ever, looked at it.

Then I got the new issue of Country Living magazine, and saw a globe... absolutely identical to the one M bought... made into the coolest hanging lamp. The minute I saw it I knew M's globe's days sitting on its stand were numbered.

Luckily M was agreeable to having his beloved globe taken apart and made into something else (he's so good about things like that...). So yesterday I thought I would just take the globe off the stand and see how much it was going to take to replicate the lamp I'd seen in Country Living. You can guess what happened. I took it off the stand.... and then one thing kind of led to another and by the end of the day M's new lamp was finished and hanging in his room.

It was a super easy and fun project, here's how I did it....

The first step (after removing the metal ring that ran around the globe and supported it in its stand) was to get rid of Antarctica. The lamp needed an opening to replace the light bulb through, allow heat to escape, let the light out (kind of important), etc. So I needed to open up the bottom. I decided to cut around the Arctic Circle... that gave me a nice line to follow that I knew was really circular, and it was about the size I wanted.

I found that kitchen shears were strong enough to cut the globe (it's only cardboard), although I did score around the line with a craft knife before cutting to get the sharpest line I could.

Beginning to cut... so long Antarctica!

Next was a quick trip to Home Depot for a swag lamp kit. I was disappointed to find that the kits they had all looked as though they were leftovers from a 1970's clearance shelf somewhere (gold cords and bright brassy chains... ugh!). The thrift store was our next stop and I found a basic little clip on light there for 1.69.


It had all the components I needed... the socket for the bulb, a cord with a switch on it, and a threaded piece to connect the socket to the lamp.

I took the clip light apart, then unhooked the wires from the socket and fed them through the hole at the top of the globe. Joe helped me reconnect the wires (electricity makes me nervous, I didn't want to end up with a lose connection and burn down the house or something) and then it was just a matter of pushing the top, threaded part of the light socket through the hole at the top of the globe and tightening the nut that holds it together. I was surprised by how easy it was...

The next step was using the Dremel Joe gave me for Christmas to drill tiny holes outlining (as closely as I could) the continents.


It was messy but I think the lighted outlines really make the lamp special...

I stopped here to check how the outline looked with the light on. Very cool.

Once all the continents were outlined it was just a matter of putting a couple of hooks in M's ceiling to swag the cord through and it was done. Total time? about 2 hours (counting the Home Depot/thrift shop run)... Total cost? $6.69.


I LOVE how it turned out... I've got a small florescent bulb in it now and am leaving it on to check for heat build up. If it does seem to be getting hot, I'll either put in a smaller bulb, or drill more holes (or maybe both!).

M loves how it looks in his room, he is crazy about maps of all kinds and having a hanging globe light  is perfect for him.

So now, when you see a cool old globe at the thrift store and wonder what to do with it... you'll know... bring it home and make a hanging lamp!

(As I was writing this post I searched online trying to find a copy of the photo I'd seen in Country Living mag, I didn't find it but I did find this whole page of ideas of things to do with old globes. Enjoy!)

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