Rewiring a lamp

I found a cheap lamp at Goodwill last weekend and spray painted it a fun color.  Then I plugged it in and realized that it didn’t work.


Thankfully it was cheap, but since I’d already put a fair amount of effort into painting it, I decided to just buy a rewiring kit from Home Depot and fix it.

Here’s what you need:

  • Lamp wiring kit (my shade doesn’t use a harp, so I didn’t buy the kit with one)
  • Wire cutters
  • Phillips screwdriver

Here’s what to do:

1. Take out the light bulb (if any) and unplug from the wall.

2. Unscrew the socket from the top of the lamp.  You may need to remove the on/off switch to do this.

3. Use your wire cutters to cut the wire next to the bottom of the socket.

4. If you think it’s going to be difficult to thread the wire through the lamp, do this:

  • Cut the wire at the base (near the plug) as well as under the socket.
  • Use electrical tape to tape the new wire to the old wire (near base)
  • Thread the wire through by pulling the old wire through the top of the lamp.

5. If it’s not difficult to wire by hand, just thread it through with your hands.

  • Mine also included making a knot inside the fixture so there was less chance of the cord being pulled from the socket.

6. Thread the base of the socket through the wires.

7. Secure the base socket to the lamp by screwing it on tightly.

8. Tie an underwriters knot:

  • Loop one side of the wire around.


  • Loop the other side of the wire around.


  • Thread one end of the wire through the opposite side’s loop.


  • Thread the other end of the wire through the opposite side’s loop.


  • Pull tight.

9. Pull the cord so the underwriters knot sits at the bottom of the base socket.

10. Identify the hot (smooth cord) and neutral (ribbed cord) in the wires and grab the inside socket.

11. Read the instructions that came with your socket, but mine connected the neutral to the silver and the hot to the gold.

12. Wrap the exposed wiring (not the white insulation part) around the screw and then tighten.

13. Put the inside socket covering back on.

14. Push all the wiring down into the base socket and push the inside socket/cover into it until it feels secure or clicks.

15. Put your light bulb & shade back on and plug in your light!

This is such an easy and quick (less than 15 minute) project.

Have you been wiring anything lately?  Or buying things from Goodwill without trying them out first?


3 responses

  1. I am so glad I found your blog – you have ALL the projects I need to complete and your directions and pics are just wonderful! Awesome work……



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s