How to Build an Antique Fixture for Under $25

Mar 30, 12 How to Build an Antique Fixture for Under $25

As we’ve discussed in an earlier articleAntique light bulbs and antique light fixtures have become increasingly popular in recent years. Whether it’s nostalgia or just an honest affinity for ornate blown glass and intricately looped glowing filaments, restaurants, upscale retail shops, and even homeowners can’t get enough of antique lighting.

Unfortunately, high demand leads to inflated prices. Any simple fixture that claims to be “antique” or “vintage” costs a premium. Some are worth the price, but we’ve seen simple antique pendants out there going for over $100, when the raw materials to build the fixture cost under $25. These are certainly nice products, but are they worth the markup?

The following guide will show you how to build your own antique swag light fixture in less than 10 minutes with materials you can buy for about $25, including the bulb.

Needed Materials:

(1) antique twisted wire cord - $6.00
(1) dimming brass socket - $10.00
(1) EZ grip antique plug - $1.50
(1) antique light bulb - $5.00

Needed Tools:

A flat head screwdriver
A set of wire strippers
A pair of scissors

Step 1: Prepare the Wire

Prepared Wires

Prepared Wires

Using wire strippers, strip the PVC jacket of both wires on both ends of the cord, exposing about 1/2 inch of the inner copper strands. Trim back the cloth covering another 1/2 inch, using scissors to cut away any frayed threads.

Step 2: Attach the Socket

Attaching Socket Terminals

Attaching Socket Terminals

Pop the socket cap off the socket shell. Feed one end of the cord through the top of the socket cap. At this point, tie the wires into an Underwriter’s Knot to relieve excess strain. Using the screwdriver, attach the wires to the terminals in the socket shell. Since the plug we’re using is non-polarized, it doesn’t matter which wire you attach to which terminal. Slide the socket cap down the cord and snap it back to the socket shell.

Step 3: Attach the EZ Grip Plug

Attaching Plug Terminals

Attaching Plug Terminals

Remove the plug cap from the shell by removing the screws on either side of the plug blades. Slide the plug shell out of the plug cap. Feed the free end of the cord through the top of the plug cap, then attach the wires to plug terminals on the shell, just as you did with the socket. Slide the cap back over the shell and replace the screws.

Step 4: Screw in the Bulb

Screwing in the Bulb

Screwing in the Bulb

Screw the bulb into the socket. You can now hang your swag fixture from a ceiling hook and plug it into any wall outlet. Use the built-in dimmer on the socket to adjust the brightness to a suitable level.

Optional Modifications

If you’d like to make a pendant fixture instead of a swag, the modification is simple: Just leave off the EZ grip plug and direct wire the fixture into an existing J-Box.

This is a very simple and versatile fixture, so there are many ways to modify it. You can use a different socket, add a cage or lamp shade over the bulb, twist together multiple pendants to create a chandelier, or even attach the socket to an old table lamp. Do you have other ideas? Post them in the comments, on our Facebook, or let us know on Twitter. Even better, send us a photo of your project and we’ll post it on our Pinterest.

Important Safety Note

This homemade fixture is not UL listed. Use reasonable safety precautions when assembling and installing your fixture. Never leave the fixture unattended or plugged in when not in use.

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Buying Fluorescent Ballasts: 3 Factors to Consider

Feb 10, 12 Buying Fluorescent Ballasts: 3 Factors to Consider

Unless you’re an electrician, you’ve probably never changed a ballast. Chances are, when your garage fixture or kitchen light went out, you changed the bulbs, and when that didn’t work, you went to an overpriced hardware store and bought a brand-new fixture. Sound familiar?

Unfortunately, you could’ve saved a lot of money by switching out the ballast—an investment of only $10 to $15.

But with so many options out there, how would you know which ballast to pick? The truth is, it’s pretty simple. There are tons of fluorescent ballasts to choose from (we have nearly 300 on our site!), but most business owners and even homeowners will find it easy to wade through that seemingly never-ending selection if they concentrate on just 3 key specs: Bulb type, start method, and ballast factor.

Bulb Type

Needless to say, this is the most important part. If you don’t know what type of fluorescent bulb you’re using, you’re going to have a hard time figuring out which type of fluorescent ballast to buy. Fortunately, most fluorescent fixtures will use one of three common bulb types: An F40T12 (4′ long; 1.5″ in diameter), an F32T8 (4′ long; 1″ in diameter) or an F54T5 (46″ long; 0.625″ in diameter). If your bulbs don’t meet one of these descriptions, you’ll need to check the etching near one of the ends of the fluorescent bulb (a good idea even if you think you know the bulb type).

Start Method

Once you’ve determined what type of  fluorescent bulbs you have, don’t burn them out prematurely by choosing a ballast with the wrong starting method. As discussed in a previous article on how to extend the life of a light bulb, an instant start ballast hits the fluorescent bulb cathodes with about 600 volts every time you flip the light switch. As you might imagine, the bulb can only stand so many of those on/off switches. Consider where your fixture is installed. Offices, boardrooms, and retail spaces tend to stay lit for long periods, so use an instant start ballast should be fine, as long as you don’t switch the lights off and on more than about 3-4 times a day. Hallways, stairwells, and bathrooms are switched much more frequently, especially since the lighting in these areas is often controlled by an occupancy sensor. In these areas, it’s best to use a programmed start ballast, which will heat the bulb cathodes more slowly and prolong its life.

Ballast Factor

Finally, you need to consider light output. “What?” you say. “You mean the bulb isn’t exactly the brightness it says it is on the label?” Nope. The light output shown on a fluorescent bulb’s label, expressed in lumens, is figured using a normal light output ballast with a ballast factor between 0.77 and 1.1. A normal ballast factor is usually the right option, for “normal” circumstances. But if you don’t need your room quite as bright, you can save electricity by using a low output ballast with a ballast factor below 0.77. On the other hand, if you are lighting a warehouse or manufacturing facility where brightness is important, you will need a high output ballast with a ballast factor above 1.1, which will push the bulb to be 10% or more brighter than stated on the label.

Of course, if you need something more specialized like a sign ballastdimming ballast, or circline ballast, you’ll likely need an equally specialized electrician. The same principles still hold true, however, so if you need to call an electrician, at least he’ll be impressed by how much you know!

 

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Exit and Safety Lights

Oct 19, 11 Exit and Safety Lights

If you own or manage a business of any sort, it is likely required that you invest in exit lights, safety lights, and emergency signage. While no business owner wants to think his or her business might suffer a fire or other emergency, it is important to prepare for that contingency anyway. Insurance companies demand it, and most local fire codes make it a requirement. Most importantly, however, proper emergency lighting is for the safety of your business, customers, and suppliers. The last thing you want is for a simple lack of signage or emergency lighting to lead to a tragic accident.

Exit lights, safety lights, and emergency signage come in many forms. They range from simple illuminated signs that indicate where an emergency exit exists to multi-head, interconnected halogen emergency lights. While exit signs are available in many forms with various features, at the least businesses need signs that are bright enough for easy viewing even in smoky or dark situations. The minimal “extra” feature to consider is an emergency battery backup; in case of a power outage, emergency battery backups make it possible for the light to still function and provide safety for those in the building. Even when all the main exits are covered, you must consider the possibility that occupants inside a building may not be near an emergency exit door or window. They will need guidance to reach safety. That is where emergency lighting comes in. These lights put out a great deal of light to offer illumination in even the darkest and smokiest circumstances so that people can reach exits quickly and safely.

Proper emergency lighting does not end with installation. Existing exit lights, safety lights, and emergency signage must be kept in good working order and occasionally updated to meet new fire codes. This means testing battery backups on a regular basis, replacing light bulbs when they burn out or break, and even performing regular cleaning to make sure the lights will give out the necessary amount of illumination when an emergency arises. For this reason, it is wise to find a reliable supplier of emergency lights that can help you with both new needs and ongoing maintenance requirements.

Many businesses think that exit lights, safety lights, and emergency signage are added expenses with which they do not want to bother. They will meet minimum requirements and then forget the situation. Nevertheless, in order to keep people safe inside your building, you need to take care to make sure the lights and signage will allow them to get out of the building during an emergency. It is the right thing to do. Find a company that can give you the equipment you need at a great price. It will make the process much easier.

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Residential Fixtures

Jun 13, 11 Residential Fixtures

Needing to beautify your home with lighting? Look no further than 1000Bulbs.com! 1000Bulbs.com offers residential fixtures from Nuvo Lighting, Nora Lighting, Cree LED Lighting, Halo Lighting, and a number of other trusted manufacturers. Because lighting is an essential element in bringing your home to life, whether you are looking for general room lighting or task lighting, it is important to find fixtures that fit your needs as well as your decorating style.


The first thing to take into consideration when looking at lighting for a room is general lighting. General lighting usually consists of fluorescent fixtures, chandeliers, ceiling fans with light kits, close-to-ceiling fixtures, and in some cases, recessed cans. Most rooms require general lighting simply so the homeowner can get around without injury; even rooms that you keep dark most of the time need illumination for cleaning and other utility reasons. It is most helpful to think of general lighting as the “primer” for your room while other lighting sources provide the “paint.”

Once you have general lighting taken care of, you should consider task lighting. This lighting gives you illumination where you need to work or do other tasks. Reading lamps are essential next to beds, on desks, and near favorite reading spots. Under-cabinet fixtures give you light on the kitchen counters so you can work safely. Lighting around bathroom mirrors and on vanities provide light so you can see when applying makeup or other personal grooming tasks. A number of attractive options exist for task lighting that run the gamut from industrial-looking full spectrum lamps all the way to beautiful decorative shade lamps.

Another type of lighting to consider in your lighting scheme is lighting to enhance the look of a room. You can add spotlights to give works of art the lighting they deserve. You can use sconces on walls to illuminate columns of light or to add depth long hallways. Up-lights can work to show off architectural features or give a particular large plant the lighting it deserves. This type of highlighting helps to enhance what you want and makes the rest fade into the background.

You can beautify your home with residential fixtures designed to work with your home’s current décor. You can also start a redecorating project by starting with a new lighting fixture in a room. You can take a traditional room and lead it towards transitional with a modern light fixture. With so many options available, you can select a light fixture that is perfect for any room in your home. You can find them in a number of finishes ranging from polished brass to brushed nickel. With modern and traditional styles, the options for your home continue to grow. Find your new fixture today.

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Enhancing Your Interior Decor with Nuvo Residential Fixtures

Feb 07, 11 Enhancing Your Interior Decor with Nuvo Residential Fixtures

Nuvo residential fixtures are one way to update your interior spaces and take your decorating in new directions. This particular manufacturer offers a wide range of lighting options to fit into just about any existing decorating scheme. Many people have outdated light fixtures and are not quite sure what to do with them. You will find our inventory of these fixtures will give you plenty of ideas on where to take your lighting. Replacing an old outdated brass fixture with an updated light can transform a room in a matter of minutes. That is a quick and easy way to update any room in your house.


Let us take your living room or family room as an example. You can use Nuvo residential fixtures to transform this room. 1000bulbs.com offers several options in chandeliers, ceiling fixtures, pendants, and wall fixtures. You can choose to replace your existing lights. You can also choose to have additional lights put into your room. This particular manufacturer offers styles ranging from extremely modern all the way through ornate and elegant. With the number of sizes and finishes available, you can find a new light fixture for your living room or family room today. Look through our inventory and see what is available.

Nuvo also offer bathroom lighting solutions. Nuvo residential fixtures come in a variety of styles that are perfect for vanity lighting. You should consider replacing your overhead lighting with a brand-new fixture. You might have sconces installed alongside the mirrors to give better facial lighting. If you have a big soaking tub, a small chandelier over the top of it is the perfect touch. You can find any number of options available in our selection of Nuvo residential fixtures. You can use traditional bathroom fixtures or check out the options for other rooms at the same time.

Other rooms in your house do not have to be neglected either. One obvious option is the replacement of your dining room chandelier with a brand-new one. You can transform an outdated room into an elegant modern space with a simple change. We offer chandeliers in a number of sizes and designs styles. This wide selection may actually work against you since you have so many options from which to choose. Look through our inventory of Nuvo fixtures and see which ones strike your fancy today. Then place your order and have the light of your dreams delivered.

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