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How To Re-Wire A Vintage Lamp

By Rachel

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Last Updated on June 26, 2024 by Rachel Granholm

Welcome! Today’s project is going to teach you how to re-wire a vintage lamp!

Vintage lamps are, well, old, and usually in need of re-wiring. Cords on vintage lamps are usually fraying in the back, exposing the wires and we can’t have that! Sometimes people shy away from buying antique or vintage lights because of the daunting task of re-wiring, but I’m here to tell you to buy that old lamp because it’s not as hard as you think it is to put in a new cord! Follow along as I teach you how to re-wire a vintage lamp.

Thrifting for Vintage Lamps

I go to my local thrift store on a weekly basis to check for antique and vintage pieces. This particular day, as soon as I walked in the door, this milk glass lamp was sitting in a box right inside the door. The best part? It was a red tag and that color happened to be 50% off, making it only $2.99! It did not have a lamp shade attached to it but this white linen shade from Target goes with the base perfectly.

*Please make sure nothing is plugged in while you are working on this project. It’s electrical work so please be safe! The Antiqued Journey is not responsible for any injury or electrical issue.*

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Materials Needed for How To Re-Wire A Vintage Lamp

a vintage brass lamp on a nightstand

Instructions for How to Re-Wire a Vintage Lamp

1. Remove the Old Cord.

 Start by removing the lightbulb socket from the lamp. The old cord goes right through the middle of that part and the cord is what you want to replace from the lamp.

All you need to do is cut the cord, as seen in the picture, to be able to pull the old cord out. You can discard the old lightbulb socket because you will be putting a new one on.

2. Remove All Parts of the Re-wiring kit From the Bag.

There is a handy instructional guide in the kit tells you what all the different parts are for and then you can just follow along with the steps, but it goes something like this.

3. Thread the New Cord up Through the Base of the Lamp.

Pull the cord through the top.

4. Spread the Cord Apart a Bit in the Middle.

This helps give yourself a little more room to work with. You don’t have to pull it too far, 2-3 inches should be good.

5. Strip Back Some of the Cord Covering with a Wire Cutter.

This exposes a few centimeters of the wiring inside and will make it easier to attach to the new bulb socket.

6. Tie an Underwriter’s Knot in the Cord.

This knot helps to make sure that the cord doesn’t pull free from the socket mounting screws.

Here is a YouTube video on how to tie an underwriter’s knot.

7. Screw the Wire Tight to the New Socket.

Put the exposed wires on either side of the socket and secure down with the corresponding screw heads. Make sure there is no excess wire sticking out from under the screw heads.

If the wire is too long, you can cut that off with the wire cutter.

8. Attach the Socket Shell.

The socket interior is what you just screwed the wires to and this is the part that covers all of that securely. Push the socket shell down and it should click firmly in place.

9. Test the Wiring.

Next, screw a lightbulb in and then plug in the cord to make sure the new wiring is all working properly.

10. Attach the Lamp Shade.

This kit comes with a harp, which is sometimes used with old lamps that have finials at the top of them. But, since this lamp does’t have a finial, there was no need to use the harp. I just attached the lamp shade like you would on any other lamp.

11. Display the Pretty Vintage Lamp!

There you have it! A finished, re-wired vintage lamp, all ready for display.

Closing Tidbits for How to Re-Wire a Vintage Lamp

You have learned a new skill and know how to re-wire a vintage lamp! I hope this encourages you to try more projects that might be a little intimidating.

As you can see, old things are so full of beauty. When you take the time to re-work an old piece, you are giving it new life and a chance to live on for many more years.

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Let me know in the comments how your lamp project turned out OR what kind of vintage lamp you would like to have. I love hearing from you!

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a vintage brass lamp styled on some books

If you are new here, I’m Rachel, the writer and content creator here at The Antiqued Journey. I’m so happy to have you! I encourage you to stop by the ‘about me’ page to get to know me a little more.

Here on the blog, you will find loads of inspiration for decorating with vintage and antique decor, simple DIY crafts and many thrifting adventures. If that interests you, I invite you to sign up for my e-mail. You will receive a free digital download as a thank you!

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Rachel from The Antiqued Journey blog

Hey! I’m Rachel!

I’m so glad you are here! Old things are my jam. Antique malls and thrift stores are my happy places.

Here on the blog I love to share my excitement, knowledge, and ideas about all things antique, vintage, and thrifted. Let’s journey together!

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