Water Jug Lamp Conversion

Lamp Conversion: Chinese Water Jugs

Making unique lamps out of vintage and one-of-a kind artifacts is a passion of ours at The Golden Triangle.  We made our first conversion in 1992, at the request of a customer who was an interior designer.  Over time we put together a network of suppliers for brass necks and sockets, cloth-wrapped cords, hand-turned wooden bases, shades, cord switches, dimmers and the like.  We also learned finish techniques for different materials and various assembly techniques that would insure a long useful life for any lamp coming out of our atelier.  As antiques dealers we are always on the lookout for unusual and beautiful accessories, some of which can be very successfully adapted to be lamps.  In addition of porcelain and ceramic vases of every size, we've converted tea cannisters, wooden vessels, glass olive jars, sculptures, stone urns, rocks, industrial gears, molds, printing rollers and more.  Each artifact presents its own specific challenges, both artistic and technical.

1. These wooden water jugs were ideal candidates for lamp conversion because of their size, shape, color and the fact that they are a pair.  Everyone needs a pair of bright red cinnabar lamps. 

2. Next, we chose the bases and the other wooden parts, such as vase caps, necks and finials.  We opted for a red-and-black scheme.  The rounded-step base harmonized well with the bulbous shape of the vases. 

3. Fitting the custom -colored and finished parts to the lamp bodies.  The vintage water jugs were originally made from Cypresswood, which is easy to drill.

 4. Here is a detail of the base.  The water jugs were milled flat on the bottom to assure a perfect fit. 

5. We wanted to raise the socket a few inches above the top of the wooden jug-cover and vase cap.  We selected a solid brass neck and gave the neck an antique bronze finish. 

6.  Here is a fitted-out jug before adding the cord.  The socket switch is a 3-way. 

7. Finished!  We've added black shades with white interiors so as to keep the attention on the cinnabar red of the jugs.  The white interior of the shades reflects plenty of light.