Making a Lamp out of a Statue Tutorial

April 3, 2013Allison Murray

Today we’re going to make a lamp out of a statue! A pretty pink poodle statue, to be exact!
Make a lamp out of a statue with Dream a Little Bigger

My mother and I were walking through Garden Ridge when I picked up this pink poodle and looked at the price tag on the bottom – $19.99 which seemed kind of high to me. I said something to the effect of “Now if this pink poodle was only $10 I’d turn it into a lamp.” I saw the look on Momma’s face and put it into our cart and started Googling light kits on my phone.

When I brought it home (my parent’s home, that is) I showed Daddy what he would be helping me turn into a lamp and tried to explain what I’d learned about light kits on my phone. He did his own research and later that night while I was reading in bed he showed me the kit we would be going to buy the next morning. I went to sleep so happy that my dad is so on board with my whole crafty/bloggy thing and willing to drop whatever he had going on to hang out with me and a pink poodle out in the backyard.

Now in the effort to be completely honest about this project, our first attempt was a total fail. The hole for the head broke out a bigger piece than intended at the very end. But with some crazy glue the problem was pieced back together and easily hidden. BUT when we tried to make another hole the back end of the thing shattered and there was no finding all of the pieces. That poodle was tossed to the side and another one purchased to take its place. While some of these steps may seem unnecessary, unless you want to spend $40 on 2 statues to make 1 lamp listen up! :)

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For the first phase of this project you will need:

Make a lamp out of a statue with Dream a Little Bigger

Determine the top center part of your poodle’s head and use a smaller drill bit to make your first hole.

Make a lamp out of a statue with Dream a Little Bigger

Gradually increase the size of the bit and continue making hole larger.

Make a lamp out of a statue with Dream a Little Bigger

Test and make sure that your bushing fits into the hole.

Make a lamp out of a statue with Dream a Little Bigger

If you don’t have a bit big enough, you can use a Dremel with one of those sandpaper spinner things to increase the hole slowly.

Make a lamp out of a statue with Dream a Little Bigger

Next we’ll need to make a hole on the bottom for the lamp cord to come out of. Again use a small bit and gradually increase the size of the hole until the cord is easily accomodated. Use the bit, or a Dremel tool to grind out a route for the cord to come out through the back.

It might seem like a better option to try to work this through the tail, but from our experience, the surface of the tail was very, very thin and easily shattered on our first attempt (making our first poodle an epic fail!)

Make a lamp out of a statue with Dream a Little Bigger

Run the cord that comes with your light kit through the poodle and measure out how long you want the cord to be from the end of the dog to the socket. Mark with a magic marker and pull up through the top of the dog’s head.

Make a lamp out of a statue with Dream a Little Bigger

Slide a washer onto the cord (optional) and then tie a knot at the point you marked on the cord. Be sure that the outlet plug is at the back of the dog.

Make a lamp out of a statue with Dream a Little Bigger

Pull the washer/knot tight up against the hole in the bottom of the dog. Mix up some JB Weld and use to fill the hole and set the cord and some more to patch over the cord as it lays in the routed gutter. Keep upside down (an empty bucket works well) and set aside to allow the epoxy to set. We waited about 20 minutes.

If you’re concerned about losing your cord, tie a piece of scrap yarn or rope or something similar to extend the length and have a way of pulling it back up in the event that the worst happens.

Make a lamp out of a statue with Dream a Little Bigger

Put the bushing onto the cord and push it into the poodle’s head.

Make a lamp out of a statue with Dream a Little Bigger

Mix up a nice sized batch of epoxy or JB Weld and smear all around the bushing. Place inside of the dog’s head and hold straight (it will naturally want to tilt as the head isn’t perfectly flat to begin with. If you’re in a very humid climate and it takes a bit to set (as it did with us) you can stack up the head end and tail end with books or place into a vise to hold at the proper angle until dry.

Make a lamp out of a statue with Dream a Little Bigger

We left the epoxy on the bushing to dry overnight (Houston is stupid humid) and came back to work on a very cold morning. The JB Weld had dripped a bit, but some sanding knocked it back down and the poodle’s head of curls was saved.

Because the statue itself is pretty light and I have cats who knock EVERYTHING over we took a funnel and filled the interior of the lamp about half full with sand. We kept picking up the poodle to ensure that it wasn’t getting to heavy for the bottom or sides. At this point another poodle breaking would have been the end of this project, I think!

Make a lamp out of a statue with Dream a Little Bigger

Choose the rubber circular bit that best fits snugly into your bushing and push it in. You can make it level, or allow it to peek out a bit. We left it out because we were worried about the height of the lampshade making the poodle’s head disappear. Next shove the threaded silver piece into that rubber bit, allowing to stick out a bit.

Make a lamp out of a statue with Dream a Little Bigger

Now it is time to get electrical. See this part on the left? It comes apart as shown on the right. (My dad: take that apart? Me: What? How? My dad: Very carefully. Just give it here.)

Make a lamp out of a statue with Dream a Little Bigger

Screw the bottom part of the thing you just took apart onto the silver threaded thing (this is getting crazy technical, isn’t it?)

Make a lamp out of a statue with Dream a Little Bigger

Take the piece you see here on the left and wrap one of the two exposed copper colored bits of the wire between the screw and the piece of metal behind it. Use a screwdriver to tighten the hold. Repeat for the other side and the other part of the cord. It doesn’t matter which goes where so don’t worry about that.

Take this bit and shove the cords and piece into the gold cup shape (like you see in the pic before this one). There is a metal cover that you’ll push over this bit to keep it into place.

Make a lamp out of a statue with Dream a Little Bigger

See that piece up above? It was not included in our kit but the first lampshade that I liked required using a harp. This bit of metal was scrounged off of an unused lamp to hold the harp into place. Of course I changed my mind and didn’t need the harp but that  is what it is if you’re curious. You’ll want to put it onto the metal threaded piece first and hold down with a nut before doing the electrical bid-ness if you’re going harped lampshade.

Make a lamp out of a statue with Dream a Little Bigger
(L) Daddy: ” I’m not in all of these pictures am I?” Me: “Well, yeah, you were doing all of the work.” Daddy: “What if I don’t want to be in the pictures?” R: Problem solved.

Toss in a light bulb and hit the power and make sure your lamp is functional. If so, you’re ready to pretty this baby up, and I’ll share that with you tomorrow! (also this post is tagged ‘practical crafts’ not because every home needs a poodle lamp, but lamps in general are pretty practical :)

poodle-lamp-new

Comments (5)

  • Lauren @ The Thinking Closet

    April 5, 2013 at 10:55 AM

    I love how willing you are to take on ambitious projects and learn as you go (and not give up after one statue shatters). Ha ha, and that last dialogue with your Dad is so funny…. Can't wait to read part 2!

  • Allison Murray

    April 5, 2013 at 7:36 PM

    I'm afraid that I didn't really realize how ambitious the project was! But in the end it turned out and that's all that matters :)

  • karen Mills

    August 12, 2014 at 3:26 PM

    Ohhh what a breath of fresh air.
    I am all the way from new Zealand.

    I just love the relationahsip you have with your dad
    He is a very cool dude.
    Keep up the amazing work
    Just what I needed to learn

    1. Allison Murray

      August 12, 2014 at 8:46 PM

      Thanks, Karen. I think he’s pretty cool, too :)

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