Oh hi. It’s me again. I don’t usually post twice in one day but I figured today only comes around every 4 years, so why the heck not?
If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you would have seen this sneak peek:
Get excited. This DIY is going to blow minds (Hopefully. As long as I don’t screw it up and everything goes according to plan. Great. I’ve just set myself up for disaster. Never mind, I give up). Did you know that every.single.one of my DIY projects start with some amount of fear? But I do it afraid. Any guesses? #sneakpeek
I’m thrilled to report that although things didn’t go according to plan, I pushed through and made this gorgeousness happen:
So check this out. My friend Brittany from Pretty Handy Girl is hosting a DIY Lighting Challenge and I thought, “hey ok, lighting. It ain’t a party till someone gets electrocuted. Let’s do this!”
And leave it to me to accept a challenge with zero experience whatsoever in the materials and tools involved. Yep. Makes perfect sense. This was my first time working with porcelain tile, as well as my first time using a tile saw. Yeehaw!
I was scared, but I did it anyway. Do it afraid, y’all. You’ll be glad you did.
Alright, so here’s how everything shook out.
HOW TO MAKE A DIY LAMP OUT OF PORCELAIN TILE
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Supplies (for 1 lamp):
- 2 – 12×24 Porcelain Tile
- 1 – Lamp kit
- 1 – Lamp pipe kit
- Tile adhesive
- Scrap wood
- Tile saw
- 3/8″ Diamond drill bit
- Circular saw
- Safety Glasses
- Hearing Protection
Approximate Cost: $32/lamp (I know… insanity!)
Using a tile saw, I cut the tiles down to size. Oh hi, newbie. I’ve had this tile saw for almost a whole year and am just now taking it out of the box. Hey, it happens to me too. It’s a shame that I often allow fear to hinder me from anything. God did not give us a heart to fear. I sometimes forget that. #fearlessfaith
It was loud and scary, but less scary than a table saw because that blade can literally decapitate you and I use a table saw every day, so I figured my odds were pretty good.
Now that the tiles were cut, it was time to drill a couple holes into the tiles. First, we tried using the masonry bit – and by “we,” I mean “my husband.” He’s the muscle around here and boy, did we need a ton of muscle for this. Don’t you remember? I am a tiny Asian woman. Contrary to popular belief, I am not a ninja and I don’t know how to do kah-rah-tay or kung-fu. Even with my man’s big, manly muscles, he was only able to successfully drill two holes into the tile before both he and the masonry drill bit were worn out.
Porcelain is freaking dense and hard. This was not an easy task. I’m guessing real marble is softer because it’s a natural stone, whereas porcelain is manufactured… I’m not sure. All I know is you need to use the right tool for the job and a masonry bit ain’t the right tool for this job. #lessonlearned
So roundabout 8:45 p.m. a few nights before this project was due, I ordered a diamond drill bit online. Aaaaand the store closed at 9. (Of course it did. This is what I get for waiting till the last minute for everydamnthing.)
And no matter how much I begged my husband to get off the couch and into the truck to get my drill bit, he would not do it. Can you believe the that?
He was all, “I’d never make it in this traffic.”
And I was all, “Traffic? What traffic? At 8:45pm?! If you leave now, you could totally make it before the doors close. Everything is already paid for, all you have to do is pick it up!”
Nope. He just wanted to lay there like a lump and watch Alaskan survival shows and not help me in life at all.
So cut to the next morning, he was knocking on the sliding glass doors of The Home Depot at 5:58 a.m. This is how we roll, people. He got back home and had that diamond bit in full rotation before I could rub the sleep out of my eyes. What a good husband.
It only took him about ten minutes to drill the rest of the holes – and with hardly any pressure bearing down on the bit. He pooled a bit of water on the tile as he drilled.
Allow me to save you some time and frustration: ditch the masonry bit and just go with the diamond drill bit when drilling into porcelain tile. It’s worth every red cent.
Okay, so once the tiles were cut and the holes were drilled, it was time to put it all together. Because the tile needed some surface area to ‘grab’ onto, I dug through my scrap wood pile to build a support ‘skeleton’ for the lamp. I spread the tile adhesive over the wood and stuck it to the tile. I started with the top and bottom pieces, then moved onto the sides.
This was very much like making a gingerbread house: spread the icing, stick the walls together. Same concept here, only the scrap wood is offering a bit more stability to the whole shebang.
I put the top, bottom, and three sides together, said a little prayer, and let the whole thing set overnight before finagling with the lamp parts. The next day, I eyeballed how high I wanted the lampshade to sit and determined that the lamp pipe would have to extend about 2-3/4″ out of the top.
Then I threaded the wire through the bottom hole, then through the pipe, and up through the top hole. I glued the last tile into place, clamped everything together, and let the whole thing cure for 48 hours. I added felt pads to the bottom to protect my bedside tables because these lamps are dang heavy!
After everything was good and solid, I simply followed the directions on the lamp kit, installed the rest of the parts, then added the bulbs, lampshades, and finials. I knew if this whole experiment just happened to turn out well, I would be annoyed that I only made one lamp, so I made two.
You guys. I can’t believe a pair of lamps cost me only $65 to make. Insanity.
By the way, those nightstands are DIY. Here’s the tutorial.
I’m kind of in love with this tile. As I was browsing the tile aisle at Home Depot, this tile stopped me dead in my tracks. Gut reactions are the best, aren’t they?
Man, I’m so glad this actually worked out. I was sure I’d gotten in over my head, but as it turns out, it wasn’t as intimidating as I thought it would be. Huh. Go figure.
SHOP THIS ROOM
So what do you think? Have you tried your hand at DIY lighting? Hugs to Brittany for hosting this DIY Lighting Challenge. We want you to participate too! Feel free to link up your DIY lighting project and don’t forget to take a peek at the rest of the projects below. Have a lovely week everyone!
Brittany aka Pretty Handy Girl says
I am in awe of your lamps! True beauty and I’m impressed by your tile wielding skills. 😉 Thanks for taking the challenge with me.
Thank you for hosting Brittany! It was such a fun challenge!
This is absolutely genius!! The lamps turned out so cool!
Thanks so much, Anika!
Erin Spain says
Shut up! This is amazing! I absolutely love it, and your leopard heels too. 😉
Thanks Erin! Yes, great minds really do think alike, don’t they? <3
This is an AMAZING tutorial!!! Love it!!!
Thanks Megan! I wasn’t sure how it was going to turn out, but I’m glad it turned out the way that it did!
Hello Jen, these lamps look fantastic! I wonder how did you handle the tile edges? Ceramic tile does’t look pretty from the side view….. Just wondering! I love your project!
Thank you Bea! I didn’t do anything to the edges – the look doesn’t bother me. I suppose you could bevel the edges on the tile saw, just to give it a more finished look.
Stunning job, way to go! This project gives so many ideas for lamps to make. Do you think any type of tile can be used?
Mermaid Lamps says
Loved this post! You have wonderful views which are evident from your writings. Keep posting such kind of blogs as they are really informative, wish you good luck for your future blogs.