Spotlight Tripod Lamp diy

Tripod Spotlight Lamp diy-002

I usually have a few things on my to buy list for whenever I’m in a thrift store, whether it be a frame, a mirror, a cool chair…And most of the time I don’t find what I’m looking for.

So, here I am in a thrift store, not finding anything on my list, but I see these 2 tripod lamps. The lamps were marked at $20 for the pair, but this was my lucky day, it was 30% off of pink tags. I have a pink tag. So now these tripod lamps are only $7 each. Still not convinced, I pick up the two lamps and go and check out the frames.  Meanwhile, I’m talking myself out of the lamps.

Tripod lamps, or any other kind of lamp for that matter, were not on my to buy list.  I really had no idea on what I could do with them other than stick a lampshade on top.  Not terribly original.

So why do I have these 2 tripod lamps?  Because, while I was walking around, one of the guys that works at the store told me that I had a REALLY good buy with those lamps.

I do? Well, if the guy working here tells me I have a good buy, it must be a good buy.

Tripod Spotlight Lamp diy

OK, now I had to buy them and they’ve been sitting around my house for a month just waiting for me to figure out something to do with them.

Well I finally came up with a project, and no, it’s not just sticking a lampshade on top. Spotlight lamps!  Only problem is, I don’t have any spotlights.

As you can see above, I’ve already started to take apart my lamps (they didn’t come that way).  I needed to get the lamp down to just the wire coming out of the top.

Before I went too much further in my lamp destruction I had to go back to the hardware store where I spent some time walking up and down the aisles looking for something I could use to create the perfect “spotlight.”


Commercial Electric 6 in. Aluminum IC Recessed New Construction Airtight Housing-CAT7ICATA - The Home Depot - Google Chrome 10252015 61557 PM.bmp

After some looking I finally came up with this aluminum housing used for recessed lighting. It had a nice spot-lighty shape and even better, it came with wiring and a lightbulb socket.

Taking apart a recessed light housing

I totally destroyed the housing, wires were cut, screws were unscrewed. All that was left was the metal cylinder, the socket for the lightbulb and the black and white wiring.


Tripod Spotlight Lamp diy-001

A threaded nipple was inserted in the lamp base replacing a shorter one that was already there.

Tripod Spotlight Lamp diy-002

The threaded nipple was tightened in place with a hex nut.  If your lamp did not come with one of the nuts (you’re gonna need 2) you can find them in the lighting section of the hardware store.

Tripod Spotlight Lamp diy-003

I thought I would have to drill a hole, but on the bottom of the recessed light there was already a hole where the wiring was fed.  It happened to be the perfect place to stick the nipple and wiring through, because of where it is placed, it gave the cam housing a nice upward tilt.  I couldn’t have planned that better if I tried. That part was held in place with another hex nut.

Tripod Spotlight Lamp diy (wiring)

Split the end of the wire a couple of inches and stripped the ends of the wire with a wire stripper. This was the wire coming from the tripod lamp.

Tripod Spotlight Lamp diy wiring

You’ll also need to strip the ends of the black and white wire coming from the recessed light.

Twist together  the ridged side of the brown wire  from the lamp with the white wire and secure with a wire connector. The smooth side of the brown wire attaches to the black wire coming from the cam housing and they too are secured with a wire connector.

Tripod Spotlight Lamp diy-004

Tripod Spotlight Lamp diy-005

Now was the moment of truth…plugging in the lamp. Surprise, surprise, the light actually works.  I really did have my doubts.

Now I had to take the thing apart and paint. Trust me, I wasn’t going to paint anything until this idea actually worked.

Tripod Spotlight Lamp diy spray painting

Both recessed lighting cams as well as the part that holds the lightbulb were spray painted black.

Tripod Spotlight Lamp diy-006

The lamps were put back together and the  metal piece that holds the lightbulb was reinserted and attached with the wingnut the recessed light came with.

Tripod Spotlight Lamp diy interior trim

I bought 2 baffles that are sold with the recessed lights to give the interior of my lamps a nice finish.

Tripod Spotlight Lamp diy interior trim-001

Tripod Spotlight Lamp diy wiring a thumb switch

At the moment, I had no way to turn my lamp on and off other than by plugging and unplugging the thing.

Back to the hardware store for a thumb switch. Unfortunately the only color they had for my sized lamp wire was a white one.  So I guess white it had to be.

It’s actually surprisingly easy to wire a thumb switch.

Separate the thumb switch in half by unscrewing the screws.  On your lamp wire, figure out where you want to place the switch and slice between the two cords with an exacto knife about 3 inches making sure you don’t cut into the copper wire.

On the wire you’ll see that one half is smooth and one half has ridges. Cut the smooth wire and strip the ends with a wire stripper.

Tripod Spotlight Lamp diy wiring a thumb switch-001

On the inside of the thumb switch, loosen the two screws and wrap the stripped wire around the screws, then retighten the screws. The other half of the wire just gets pushed out of the way.

Screw both halves of the switch back together.

Tripod Spotlight Lamp diy wiring a thumb switch-002

My switches are a little noticeable but they work great.

Tripod Spotlight Lamp diy wiring a thumb switch-003

I’ll keep an eye out for a brown switch but until then a coat of brown spray paint works great. I may not even have to find a brown switch unless this one starts to peel.

Tripod Spotlight Lamp diy-009

Tripod Spotlight Lamp diy-003

Tripod Spotlight Lamp diy

Tripod Spotlight Lamp diy-002

Tripod Spotlight Lamp diy-007

Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together, or in this case, the lack of a plan?

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