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IKEA Hack: Lantern to Lamp How-To | Killer b. Designs



IKEA Hack: Lantern to Lamp How-To

I was using an IKEA Grono table lamp as a nightlight of sorts in the nursery for when I have to get up for late-night feedings. I had it perched on the window sill next to the trundle bed we had set up, and during a particularly vigorous romp with our heeler, the lamp shattered. Whoops! Not wanting the entire thing to go to waste, we improvised. We took an IKEA Borrby lantern that runs about eight bucks and with a few simple changes, made it into a lamp! If you want to do this easy hack on your own, but don’t have a broken lamp to work with, you could pick one up at a thrift store or use the Hemma cord kit IKEA offers for about $3. Here’s how we did it:

• Lantern
• Cord kit
• hole-saw bit
• frosting spray

Step 1 – Drill your hole

We had a hole saw bit that we purchased for our bathroom vanity project. It just so happened to be the perfect size for the light base. I believe it’s 1 and 1/4 inches. Once you drill the hole, be sure to check the fit.

Step 2 – Notch out a space for the cord

Using tin snips, snip two lines slightly wider than the cord.

Rock the snips back and forth until the excess piece snaps off. Just like a soda tab.

Pop it off, and you’re ready to go!

Step 3 – Frost your glass

Use a piece of paper as a shield, and apply frosting spray to your glass. You can also get fancy if you like and use a colored spraypaint, or maybe a glaze to paint on. Whatever you like! Just make sure you do something to change up the clear glass, or else the light will be really harsh and you’ll see the ugly bulb and lamp parts. I’m thinking you could even mod podge on some pretty patterned vellum or sheer fabric. Get creative!

Pretty frosting!

Step 4 – Paint your cord

This is an optional step, since you won’t see the cord base anyway. But we went ahead and painted it black to match the lamp. We just sprayed the base, but you could spray the entire cord to match the color you choose for the lamp/glass.

Step 5 – Assemble!

If you’re using a lamp kit, this step is simple. Just pop the base through your hole, screw on the cap, and insert your bulb. Voila! Instant lamp! If you use the cord kit from IKEA, it could be a bit more complicated as the base is rounded, not flat. Good luck with that 😉 I love our new lamp, especially since it was a free hack! It’s kind of like a phoenix rising from the ashes, just not so poetic. Hopefully this one will be a bit sturdier than the last, since it’s going to be my new nursery lamp replacement!




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  1. Mk

    Looks great, but are you “supposed to” spray paint cords?

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      You’re fine so long as you don’t spray the interior of the bulb housing, or the tines on the plug. Other than that it’s just regular old plastic! Nothing dangerous there.

  2. Doreen Grace

    What a great idea! You could make almost anything into a lamp with this tutorial. Thanks for sharing. :)

  3. Candace Creations

    This is a great project I love how it turned out!

    come link this up to scrappy saturdays @

  4. susan

    This is a great tutorial. And I love lanterns so the idea of turning one into a lamp has me swooning!!!

  5. Porch furniture

    Great tutorial, my wife is looking for ways to spruce up our patio. I will have to e-mail this to her, thanks for sharing!!!

  6. Ashley @

    so cute! LOVE the light!

  7. Tonya Smith

    I love it!!!!! I love your site. You are a very talented lady

  8. Kristine at The Painted Hive

    Wow, so funny! I just posted a project almost identical to this last night. I only found yours this morning after doing a few Google searches to see if my post had been indexed yet. Lucky we decided not to frost our glass in the end (this was something we did consider) or they would have been almost the same. I wish the Ikea stores here in Australia would sell all the stuff you guys seem to get over there. I had no idea they sold plug-in cord sets. The only cords you can get here in Oz from Ikea are hard-wired pendant ones :( We have to buy a whole lamp just to get the cord.
    Love your lantern BTW…clearly you have awesome ideas :-)

    1. Brooke

      Ha! Thank you Kristine! As my art teacher loved to say, “there is nothing new under the sun, all ideas are recycled”! This has happened to me more times than I could count. I hit publish and sit around patting my back for my creativity, and somebody points out that it’s been done before 😉

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