Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Vintage Picnic Jug Lamp Tutorial


There is an incredible camp and cottage store here in my hometown that has the cutest home accessories made from vintage items.  I thought the lamps made from vintage picnic jugs were to die for, but there was a big problem: the price.  They started at $350.00.  So I started to search for vintage picnic jugs.  I found a couple on ebay that I liked, and a couple at a large flea market. Then I asked my husband, who can make, fix, and build everything to help me make them. Here is the tutorial:

Vintage Picnic Jug Lamp Tutorial

What you'll need:

electrified candlestick and bottle adapter kit (includes the socket and all the parts you will need)

detachable harp - this holds the lamp shade

30" all thread lamp pipe ( A very small one is in your candlestick kit, but they are always too short.)
Hint:  If you go ahead and buy the 30", you can cut off the length you need for each lamp project and save the rest for other projects.

small rubber grommet

vintage picnic jug

lamp shade to match (or clash...whichever)

Another hint:  This project works best if you have a drill press.


1.   Drill a hole in the lower back of the jug.  It should be the same diameter as your 110 wire.

2.   Put a small rubber grommet and thread it onto the wire.  Run the wire through the hole. The grommet will keep the metal from cutting into the 110 cable.

3.   Cut your lamp nipple from your 30" all  thread lamp pipe.  The height will depend on high high you want your lampshade.

4.   Take the lid off the jug.  Find the exact center.  Once you find the exact center, use a drill press to drill a hole the same diameter as your threaded lamp nipple.  Put a bolt on the top and bottom, and tighten and anchor your lamp nipple.

5.   Thread the wire through the lamp nipple.  Secure the lid.

6.   Attach the wire to the socket.  Screw the socket down to the lamp nipple.

7.  Attach the harp.  Screw in light bulb, and attach the shade.

8.   Now you can do your vintage picnic jug lamp happy dance!

Written instructions are on the back of the lamp kits, which helps.

Here are a few more pictures of our lamps.  We have made four so far.



Sometimes I purchase the jugs because I like their names or colors.


I bought this one because it has my Westie Bonnie's name on it, and it also has a Scottish tartan plaid pattern on the jug.


I have not made this jug into a lamp yet because it still has its original tags.  I might just use it for this:


*Photo courtesy of Country Living Magazine*

My lamps cost anywhere from $18.00 - $55.00 including lampshades and kits.  Considering I would have spent anywhere from $350.00 - $400.00 per lamp, I saved quite a bit of money!

This is my first DIY tutorial.  I hope my instructions are clear.  If you have any questions, please email me!

I am joining Coastal Charm's Nifty Thrifty Tuesday Linky Party, and Vintage Inspiration Friday.

Until next time...

Ricki Jill


Sunny simple life said...

These are so awesome. I would have to have my hubby do it or I'd electrocute myself or something. We have one of these up in the cupboard that was his grandmas. Where did you find such cute shades?

Pam @ Our Adventures in Home Improvement said...

OMG, you are so talented! The lamps are SO cute.

Thanks so much for sharing.


Willow said...

Thank you for sharing. They are absolutely beautiful. Great job remaking them. I too love the shades you put on them.

Linda@Coastal Charm said...

Thanks so much for coming to my party with these "cool" lamps!


Marie said...

OMG Ricki Jill! They are just the cutest!!! How very inspiring to put together such cool looking lamps.



Gina said...

These are really so cool & very interesting! Thanks for sharing the tutorial.

Carol Schiff Studio said...

Hi Ricki Jill, I love your blog and this post about the lamps is genius! You are one clever lady! Thank you for entering Karena's contest for my painting give-away. Feel free to mention it to your readers too. Good luck in the contest. I will be visiting here often.

The Polka Dot Closet said...

You did wonderful on your tutorial! What a great idea, I have never seen these!


⚜ ↁℯℬℬᴵℰ⚜ said...

These are way too cool! I love em!

Normal Daily Chaos said...

oooo, i love them, especialy the green one with yellow! Applause for your husband and for your idear. I don't think whe have got picnic jugs here!
sadly!,the idear with the flowers is also great!


Mary Sheehan Winn said...

Wicked COOL!
The Bonnie Jug is so vintage. Love it!

Gayle said...

Hello Ricki,
Love the lamps! My favorite design element is turning the old into something new. I am a new follower. Please check out my blog.

A Cottage Muse said...

Goodness this is the cutest project!! I am behind on my blog visits...so glad I didn't miss this one!

Blue Ridge Altered Art said...

Oh my these are just too cute. I will be on the look out for some of these. Wish I had my Grandmothers. She had a Scotch plaid one. ~~Sherry~~

A Few Pennies said...

Awesome idea! I have to show my husband this; he loves to remake lamps--thank you for sharing.

Jamie said...

I love this idea! If you were closer to me, I would give you all of the parts to my favorite lamp that I just broke. I am determined to find another just like it.

Holly Kennedy said...

Really cute! Great job!

Miss Charming said...

What a cute idea! If those types of lamps are so expensive to buy outright, then you could have yourself a little business with your own designs. They really are unique. (And I love the little Bonnie jug!)

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