How to Re-wire Vintage Lamps

How to re-wire a vintage lamp.

My youngest daughter was home from graduate school over the Thanksgiving holiday. Although she was on a break she still had studying to do. But I talked her into going to Peddler's Mall with me instead! We had a great time browsing around. She found a pair of vintage lamps that she thought would look great with the nightstands I previously painted for her in Duck Egg Blue. I think she paid $6 for the pair, or it might have been $6/each -- I don't remember. Either way I think this pair was a great score!

Vintage lamps from thrift store

Not only do I love the color and shape, but the texture on the lamps is wonderful. They are ceramic, which you can easily find new today, but the weight and feel of the ceramic is different with the vintage lamps. I don't know why that is, but there is just something special about vintage,

Vintage lamp with beautiful color and texture

Unfortunately the cords were very old and weren't safe to use. So they needed to be replaced. I believe the lamps are mid-century. Sometimes you can better pinpoint the date based on the cords, but it's hard to say for sure because it looks like the cords were previously replaced at one point in time as they were both different. One cord was torn and was wrapped in electrical tape.

Old and damaged cords

Neither myself nor my daughter knew how to replace the cords. However, my husband showed my daughter how to do it on one lamp, and then she got to try for herself on the second lamp. I was in charge of photos.

The first step was to remove the cardboard cover from the bottom of the lamp. It came off very easily.

Remove cardboard from bottom of lamp

Next the old wires were disconnected by loosening the screws.

Use screw driver to disconnect old wiring

Unfortunately the screw was a little stubborn, but nothing too difficult with an extra pair of hands.

Dad teaching daughter how to rewire a lamp

We purchased new cords at Home Depot.

New replacement wiring for lamp

So the next step is to run the new cord through the cord hole and then up through the center of the lamp. But the cord is somewhat flexible and we were having a hard time feeding it through.

Threading new wiring into lamp

So my husband attached the cord to a stiffer wire and pulled it through,

Attach cord to a stiffer wire


Pull wire up through lamp

The final step was to attach the new wires to the socket. We put the new wires in place and then tightened the screws and set the socket back into place.

Attach new cord to socket

Now it's time to re-wire the second lamp. Someone was excited to give it a try!

Girl excited to rewire a lamp

And she did a fabulous job!

Girl rewiring a lamp

And just so you don't think I was sitting around doing nothing, I did actually contribute to this project. Remember the cardboard that we removed from the bottoms? I traced them onto felt and cut new bottoms for the lamps. Then using a glue gun I attached the felt to the cardboard and then reattached the cardboard to the lamp base. Personally, I think this was the most important step.

Making new felt bottoms for lamp

We went to target and my daughter picked out some new lamp shades. They are linen with a tiny bit of metallic silver strands in the fabric. She took these photos after she got the lamps home.

Vintage lamp on bedside table

Vintage lamp on night table

I should mention here the awesome headboard was fully made and constructed by my daughter. She used some plans she found online for a Pottery Barn knock off.

Pair of vintage lamps

Now she has some extra lighting in her room and she can be proud that she learned how to do something new. I hope you enjoyed today's project . . . thanks so much for stopping by!

Learning how to re-wire a vintage lamp.


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