Make a Lamp from a Beautiful Vase or Figurine

Recently Vikki who reads BNOTP, emailed me and shared a wonderful DIY project she had just finished. Vikki came across this blue and white porcelain vase in Goodwill for just $7. Vikki said, “When I saw the vase I knew immediately what I wanted to do with it.”


What Vikki decided to do was make it into a beautiful lamp!

Isn’t it wonderful?!  It’s just perfect against the blue and white toile wallpaper in her master bedroom.

Make a Lamp from a Vase 9_wm


Vikki shared how she made her lamp in case you would like to turn a pretty vase into a one-of-a-kind lamp for your home, too.

Vikki said, “I did some research online before I started working on the vase turned lamp. I learned I would need to use a “Glass & Tile” bit to drill the hole in the bottom of the vase to accommodate the lamp pipe and cord. I also found out that when drilling porcelain you must keep the area wet because the drilling generates lots of heat.

I found the center of the base of the vase, made an X over the spot I would drill with masking tape to retard the porcelain from cracking, brought the garden hose up to the deck and began drilling.”

Make a Lamp from a Vase

“As you can see in the close up of the vase bottom, it did crack but thankfully not enough to be a problem.”

I love that Vikki didn’t get discouraged and forged on with her lamp. We have all had our DIY setbacks haven’t we? Anyone out there have a suggestion for drilling through porcelain or ceramic pieces and avoiding having them crack?

Make a Lamp from a Vase 3_wm

Vikki wasn’t sure of the names for the various parts of a lamp but she knew she needed something to cover the opening of her vase. She Googled for “lamp parts” and found a site online that carried lots of parts. Vikki ordered something called a “vase cap” to cover the opening in her vase from www.grandbrassdotcom. She found a lamp pipe and a kit containing the harp, socket and wire from a local big box hardware store.

Vikki considered ordering a brass base for her lamp but the prices were pretty steep ($65) so she decided against that. While browsing in Tuesday Morning she found a wood base for just $7.99 that was a great fit.

Make a Lamp from a Vase 2_wm

Here’s how the wiring and fittings look underneath the vase while it was being assembled.

Make a Lamp from a Vase 4_wm

The base looks like a perfect fit for the vase, doesn’t it? Vikki said, “Hubby helped me with wiring the socket and the lamp went together with ease.”

You can see the vase cap on the center rod in this pic below.


Almost finished, just a little more work before it’s done.

Make a Lamp from a Vase 6_wm

Assembling the lamp…

Make a Lamp from a Vase

What a great fit!

Make a Lamp from a Vase

Vikki said, “I already had the silk lamp shade. Total costs for this lamp came to approximately $35.00.”

Wow! Just think what a lamp like this would cost in any lamp store!  It looks great on Vikki’s bedside table in her master bedroom.

Make a Lamp from a Vase 9_wm


Make a Lamp from a Cherished Figurine or Collectible

Make a Lamp from a Figurine

Remember the doggie lamp in my family room?

Lodge or Hunt Themed Den with Judges Paneling

The one next to the flame-stitched wingback?

Make a Doggie Lamp

Vikki made one of those, too!

She said, ” I had long admired Susan’s adorable Doggie lamp so when I saw the exact figurine on E-bay I couldn’t resist.”

Dog Lamp Made from a Dog Figurine_wm

“I offered less than the asking price and got the piece for $45.00.”  (Vikki did well because that’s about what I paid for mine in a local antique store.)

Dog Figurine Made Into a Lamp_wm

“Once again I searched Google and found a great site for figurine lamp-making kits at www.antiquelampsupplydotcom. ”  Susan was so helpful and measured every part of her lamp so I would be sure to order the correct size base and figurine pipe. I called Antique Lamp Supply to make sure I could return items if they did not work for me.”

Base for Lamp

“The man who I spoke to told me the rule of thumb for figurine lamps is to order the “bent” lamp pipe 2 inches taller than the figurine you are using.”

Good information to know. So if you’re thinking of making a lamp using this type construction, keep that in mind so your shade won’t end up too low.

Part for Lamp

Vikki said, “I stained, sanded, stained, sanded and stained the wooden base using Minwax “Early American” stain. When I was happy with the color and after the piece was completely dry I gave it one coat of Minwax Fast-Drying Polyurethane. I had the stain and poly on hand so no added costs.”

Base for Making a Lamp_wm

“I purchased a kit containing the harp, socket, wire, etc., from Home Depot just as I had done for the vase lamp.”

Base for Making a Lamp

“Once again hubby wired the socket for me (but you really don’t need a hubby to do this) and we put the pieces together like we knew what we were doing.”

Dog Figurine Made Into a Lamp

Vikki used a dot of Gorilla Glue under each of her doggie’s paws to hold him in place on the base.

Vikki said, “Total cost for this lamp was $111.18. Shipping charges are just so high. If you live where you have a local supply for the unusual parts such as the base and figurine lamp pipe you will be able to make something like this for much less. Of course my big cost was the doggie.”

I love how Vikki’s doggie lamp came out. She and her hubby did a wonderful job! Again, this lamp would most likely have cost a lot more in a store if it were available, which it’s not since it’s a one-of-a-kind. Or, is it?

Dog Lamp Made from a Dog Figurine_wm

Okay, make that two-of-a-kind since his brother is living at my house. 😉

Make a Doggie Lamp


Actually make that three-of-a-kind!

You may remember when I posted about Mary making her own version of my doggie lamp in this post: How to Make a Lamp from a Treasured Collectible.

Think we should have a little party and get all our lamps together to meet each other? 🙂  Wonder if anyone else out there in blogland has made this lamp?

Lamp Made from Dog Figurine


Thanks to Vikki for sharing her wonderful tutorial! I know it’s going to inspire so many folks reading this to turn something they love into a beautiful lamp for their home.

Don’t be intimidated at the thought of making your own lamp. Vikki wasn’t even sure of the names for the lamp parts when she first got the idea to make her vase lamp, but she figured it out by Googling for lamp parts. I love how she just went for it and figured it out as went along.

Please do make sure you follow correct procedures when you wire your lamp and if you’re not sure, take your lamp to a professional or a licensed electrician. Safety first!

I love the idea of having a lamp that you just can’t find in any ole store. When you’re out shopping/thrifting/antiquing, keep your eye out for pretty figurines or vases that would work well in your decor. It’s a great way to get the exact size, color and style lamp you need for your home!

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  1. pam ~ crumpety cottage says

    Wow! I love that vase. It’s just beautiful. And as you said, Susan, it looks lovely against her pretty wallpaper. And that little rug it sits on! How cute is that? In fact, I’ve been looking for something just like that for my dining room table for the centerpiece. Oh, please, please, please, please, Vikki, tell us where you got it?

    You know, Susan, as soon as I saw the blue and white vase, even before I saw it in Vikki’s bedroom setting, I thought … that looks like something Susan would love for her guest room or frog. Honestly, I think that would be at LEAST $249 if purchased commercially. The price of lamps is sky high … and so many of them are so ugly! To get a beautiful lamp for that price is really a steal.

    As for the crack, I don’t know about drilling through porcelain, but I would imagine making a starter hole by using a smaller bit first, then working your way to a bigger hole would be the way to go. That’s what they do for other projects, I know. But I’m glad it’s just a faint crack and you probably don’t even know it’s there, now that she put the base on it. What a great project. Oh, and as for your twin … er … triplet lamps, how funny! That could be a BNOTP contest .. who else in blogland has made a doggie lamp with a ball of yarn?

    • Thanks for that suggestion, Pam! Yup, you know me well…love Vikki’s lamp! I may have to make a knock-off of her lamp for my guest room if I find the right vase. 🙂

    • Hi Pam – Thank you for the sweet compliments on my lamp. I got the little rug it is sitting on from a gift shop on the Outter Banks of North Carolina many years ago. I can not recall the name of the shop…sorry.

      • pam ~ crumpety cottage says

        Oh, that’s okay. Thanks for answering, Vikki! You’re the only person who has ever answered me, lol. (besides Susan, of course.) I keep bugging her to make a forum section so we bnotp ladies can chat amongst ourselves and share info and inspiration. Her fatheaded computer guy discouraged her from doing it!!! 😮 Anyway, I love everything about that picture — your wallpaper is some of the prettiest I have ever seen — I love the colors and pattern. And the lamp is an ideal compliment to it. And that little rug is just the icing on the cake, lol. It’s so cute. It actually reminds me of the little oriental rug I have for my ‘mouse pad.’ But that is too small to use for my centerpiece. Oh well, I’ll just have to keep hunting. Thanks for sharing your project, Vikki. And for responding. 🙂

        • LOL Thanks for making me laugh today, Pam! I will chuckle over your comment the rest of the day every time I think of it. lol You are hilarious! I still love the forum idea, too. I will have to ask the BNOTP readers if they think they would really use it. My computer guy made it sound really expensive to host a forum and said no one ever uses them, but maybe the BNOTP readers would! I do love the idea!

          • pam ~ crumpety cottage says

            Is it because I called him a fathead? 😀 I call everybody a fathead. 😀 I’ve found that just about every person is a fathead, at one time or another. Some folks more often than others. 😉 But yeah, I wouldn’t want you to do it if it’s too expensive. I suppose it would be risky because you never know if people will use it until you try it. I just find it hard to believe that those of us who visit bnotp regularly wouldn’t use it. I mean, A LOT. Some of us might even use it more than we should, lol. But where else on line can those of us who obsess over window seats and casements, mouldings and architectural design, colors, patterns, table scapes, movie houses and sets, and all the little details that make the ordinary, extraordinary meet and chat about what we have in common? And then there’s all the design inspirations, the diy stuff, and people always wanting to know, “Where did you get that??” Haha. It just seems like a natural for us to share that way. Maybe there is aother place, but I haven’t found it. That’s why I’m so glad I found you, Susan, and all the other lovely nappers – because I so enjoy coming here. 🙂

            • Yes, lol…fathead cracked me up! Thanks Pam! I think I’ll look into it a bit more. May have to wait until after the holidays since things are getting super busy all of a sudden! I would love nothing more than to create a spot where all these wonderful dearhearts like yourself could stop by and visit and share tips and info. I love that idea!

        • 🙂

    • I am currently working on a pair of vintage Chinese vase lamps and in drilling in the Porcelain the best way I have found is to use a diamond bit on my Dremel to drill the holes . Also always start at very low speed and be patient!!

  2. The vase is beautiful, and I love it made into a lamp. You’re right, it goes great with Vikki’s wallpaper. I also love that there are three dog lamps out there now! So cute. Thanks for sharing this great tutorial!

  3. Linda Page says

    Vikki’s blue vase lamp is gorgeous and when I first saw it, I also thought it was for your guest bedroom. So I guess you are going to need to go lamp hunting, huh? But my fav is the doggie lamp. He is just adorable. I need to find one for my very own!!!

  4. Oh what fun! Thanks for the tutorials! 😉

  5. Hi lovely lady.
    I do lamps all the time now. I remember the first one the same thing happen to me. so I had gone down to a Lamp store and he had some good Ideas for drilling holds.
    1st. You must put a price of 3M painters tap on the bottom of the lamp.
    2th. You must use a small bit for getting the hole started.
    3th. drill slow !!! you may put just a drop of oil on it.
    4th. then use a Ceramic or Mason drill bite. slowwwwwwwwwwwwww.
    5th.Happy drilling sweet lady.

  6. That was a very inspiring post. I want to make a lamp out of an enamel coffee pot I have, but I can’t find anyone who wants to drill a hole in it! But your post reminded me of that project!

  7. I have made lamps with the antique blue jars and got the parts at a store that sold crafts and handmade country items. They just screw on the jar and you can fill the jar with marble, stones, kids collections.

    Susan, I thought of you this week. I live on a farm and was out walking from the house to one of the sheds when I heard a meow. I moved a cover over a drop box and there was a little black kitten. I went to the house and got my grabber and pulled him out and brought him to the house and fed him with an eye dropper some warm milk. He seemed to be doing just fine until last night and he started going down hill. This morning he was dead. I think the fall into the hole, the cold and lack of nourishment most likely did him in, but he was such a cute little guy. We have other cats and did adopt a beautiful black cat, but losing a pet even after having him only couple days is sad. Are you going to replace Max?

    • No, as I’ve gotten older, I deal less and less well with losing them. I mentally (and physically) can’t go through that ever again. I would get zero enjoyment in having a pet now because I would be thinking every day about the day he/she would pass, or get cancer and die slowly in front of my eyes like Max did. I just can’t ever go through that again. I almost lost my mind going through it with Max, so got to hold on to the teeny bit of sanity I have left. Now I just enjoy my friends pets and pictures online. That’s all my heart can take.

    • When we lost out beautiful black lab I told my husband I could not bury one more dog and we are not even thinking of another one, but we need cats on the farm to keep the mice and rat population down. My pastor told me that he holds his cats in his heart because he just can’t lose another one.

    • Carol, I’m sorry you had to go through that with the kitten. I once tried to nurse a newborn kitten and it didn’t make it and it broke my heart. Life can be brutal sometimes. You are a special person for trying to save him.

  8. Gorgeous lamp…and terrific job!! KUDOS!! franki

  9. ~Susan~

    What a lovely lamp, I want it !!!!! 🙂 I did make a wonderful purchase at a decorating store sale, I brought the lamp wood base with the bent lamp pipe and lamp shade all for $12.00, now all I need is to find something wonderful to sit on the base!!
    Oh Susan your little trip looked absolutely wonderful, I love doing things like that !!
    Take Care You!!

  10. Kathleen McLain says

    I love your lamps. What did Vicki look under on Ebay to find the doggie figurine? I know someone who makes small lamps out of all different kinds of mugs and sells them at craft shows. Thank You

    • Hi Kathleen, I searched for “large figurines” on Ebay to find the doggie. There are lots and lots of figurines on Ebay. Have fun looking.

  11. I love all the lamps! Turned out great. I have made a few in a different way by painting and decoupage. I like to make my own shades too. Love toile shades. Also, made 20 chandelier shades in red for Christmas with beading. Black ones with beading also.

    • Thanks for the kind words Peggy! I have never tried to make a lamp shade. Sounds like you are a pro. If you don’t have your own blog then send Susan some pictures and maybe she will post a “how to” make lamp shades by Peggy Thal!

  12. Vicki did a fabulous job with that lamp and I must say, it would fit well in my bedroom as I have blue and cream toile!! 🙂 Good thinking Vikki, I would probably just have put some flowers in it!! 🙂

  13. What a gorgeous under-taking! and how brave! I love how the lamp turned out, and it was great reading all the comments with extra tips to keep a piece from cracking.

    Lovely lamp and I am glad Vikki wrote to you. Your blog always has something new to learn and think about!

  14. Hi Susan,
    Wanted to tell you my sister has the exact same doggie as yours, but he’s not a lamp yet. She’s had him for years and if memory serves me right, he came from Kirkland’s. I also have one but a different color, mine is black and white . We both fell in love with the doggies and couldn’t resist buying.

    • That doggie must have been a popular piece…sounds like they’ve been making him a while. I found mine in an antique store years ago, probably 12-15 years ago. He wasn’t an antique, though. I took him to a local lamp store that advertised they could make things you love into lamps. Unfortunately, both the antique store and the lamp store are gone now. If I come across something else that I think would make a cute lamp, I’m going to try and make my own next time. I love this idea…what a wonderful way to get an original lamp and something you really love. I’m not too crazy about the lamps I’m seeing in stores these days…nor the quality.

  15. I believe if you put a piece of duct tape on item you’re drilling through, it will prevent cracking, also, make sure it’s not really cold, that makes porcelain, glass, etc, more brittle.

  16. SharonFromMichigan says

    Vikki your lamps look wonderful. I truly love your toile wallpaper and you have a good eye to know that the vase would look perfect as a lamp there. Doesn’t it feel good to know you made something so beautiful? Now you have me thinking about some old teapots that I have that would look great as lamps. I may just a project on my horizon!

  17. Cyndia Montgomery says

    Hubby and I have drilled ceramics and glass many times, and the key is going slowly and making sure the bit and surface stay wet so as not to overheat and crack the piece. We use alcohol, either denatured or rubbing. You could pour a small amount on your piece or use an eyedropper full every little bit. And go easy on the pressure! Pushing too hard can cause it to crack as well.
    I love creating lamps that no one else has!

  18. Beautiful lamps Vikki! Not an expert by any stretch of the imagination but I agree with Cyndia that the key is going slowly and making sure the bit and surface stays wet. (A similar method when cutting interlocking stones.) In event that you can submerge the item under water completely then all the better but please ensure that you are using a cordless drill. ☺ -Brenda-

  19. Vikki’s lamp is beautiful. I love the way it goes with her lovely toile wallpaper. I have always been drawn to blue and white and the lamp against the wallpaper is just lovely. I do have to say I have learned so much from the comments today that I think I would feel confident in making a lamp of my own if I found a vase to make one with. Kudos to everyone for all of their advise!

  20. Vicki that is one ambitious project and it is beautiful. Susan thanks so much for sharing so many different kinds of projects. I’m learning lots of new things over here!

  21. Nancy from Lake Stevens says

    You will have to make a doggie themed tablescape and serve dog biscuits for your doggie lamp party 🙂

  22. Sue jackson says

    I need a 14 inch figurine post. Where do I find one?

  23. Jean from Georgia says

    Cute, cute, cute. Making lamps has been my hobby for many years. The trick to keeping the porcelain from cracking it to constantly mist the area to be drilled, so keep the drill tip wet. And use a drill with lots of speed and a special drill bit made especially for drilling glass. Would love to send you photos of my many lamps.

  24. I have one of the dog with ball figurines, too. I found it at a very nice consignment shop in Mobile. I haven’t made a lamp yet! I enjoyed this postcard today, Susan!

  25. Margrit Grey says

    How to drill through porcelain: make friends with your dentist and ask to use a water-cooled diamond high speed turbine drill.
    Failing this, begin with a really fine drill bit and gradually increase the size until it is the right diameter.

  26. lilian larson says

    To drill thru porcelain without chipping and cracking use cool running water

  27. I just did this successfully first time! No cracks. You can buy a diamond tip bit at the hardware store. I works great. Keep spraying the area you are drilling with water. It must stay wet. Go slow and have patience. It took me a little over an hour to drill through the porcelain bottom and several hours to get through the top which had a little knob I had to go through. I broke it up so I never drilled for more that 15 minutes at a time. I think that is important to not overtire your drill hand or shoulders AND to not lose patience.

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