How to Upcycle an Old Toilet into a Lamp
Upcycling old or unused items into new, functional pieces is a fun and creative way to reduce waste. Toilets are bulky items that can be difficult to dispose of, but with some simple supplies and techniques, an old toilet can be transformed into a unique lamp. In this guide, I will walk through the full process of upcycling a toilet into a lamp, from selecting the right toilet to wiring and decorating the finished lamp.
Selecting the Toilet
The first step is to find a suitable old toilet to upcycle. When selecting a toilet to transform into a lamp, consider the following:
Size – A standard, elongated toilet with a tank will provide the most flexibility in terms of lighting options. Avoid toilets with rounded tanks or unusual shapes.
Condition – Make sure the porcelain is not cracked or damaged. Small chips are fine, but large cracks could lead to breakage when drilling holes.
Hardware – Older toilets with metal flush pipes and levers are ideal. Plastic pieces may not hold up well to modifications.
Style – A plain, classic toilet style will be easiest to modify. Avoid toilets with lots of ridges or flourishes.
Ideally, opt for a standard, vintage-style toilet in good structural condition. These provide a great base for drilling and wiring a lamp.
Once you have selected a suitable toilet, gather the following supplies:
- Power drill and drill bits
- Wiring supplies – lamp cord kit, wire strippers, connectors
- Light socket and light bulb
- Adhesive – epoxy, silicone
- Decorative supplies – spray paint, mosaic tiles, etc.
- Personal protective equipment – gloves, safety goggles, mask
Preparing and Drilling the Toilet
With the toilet and supplies ready, the hands-on work begins. Follow these steps to prep and drill the fixture:
- Use a scrub brush and mild cleaner to thoroughly clean the toilet. Remove any dirt, grime, or buildup.
- Rinse well and allow to fully dry before continuing.
- Disconnect and remove the tank from the toilet base. Set it aside to work on later.
Mapping Out Holes
- Decide on the location for the light socket and cord hole. Mark with a pencil.
- Drill a pilot hole first before slowly enlarge to proper diameter.
- On the back base, drill a 1″ hole near the bottom for the lamp cord to feed through.
- Based on the socket size, drill a 2″-3” hole near the top of the tank or bowl.
- File down any rough edges around the holes.
Wiring the Toilet Lamp
With the holes drilled, it’s time to add the wiring:
- Feed the lamp cord through the hole in the toilet base.
- Secure the light socket in its hole using epoxy or silicone.
- Attach the lamp cord wires to the socket terminals.
- Add wire nuts to secure the connection.
- Plug in the lamp cord and test the socket. Turn on the bulb to verify it works properly.
- Coil up any excess cord and pack it neatly into the toilet tank.
- Reattach the tank securely onto the toilet base when finished.
Decorating the Lamp
Now the wiring is complete, so you can decorate the lamp:
- For a sleek look, spray paint the entire toilet and tank with fresh coats of color.
- For a more playful style, glue colorful mosaic tiles or broken china onto the tank.
- Get creative with materials like glitter, shells, beads, or fabric. Personalize the design to suit your style.
- Top with a lampshade for soft, ambient lighting. Pick a fun shape or print.
Add any finishing touches, like handles or a base, then finally screw in a light bulb to complete the toilet lamp upcycle project. Enjoy your innovative new lighting fixture!
Tips for Success
To ensure your upcycled toilet lamp comes out well, keep these tips in mind:
Take your time drilling holes. Use a smaller bit first to pilot the hole.
Sand down rough edges smooth for safety. Wear gloves when handling broken porcelain.
Use strong adhesive like construction epoxy to firmly attach the lamp parts.
Make sure all wiring connections are secure. Check the cord for frays or cracks.
Seal any gaps or open edges with caulk to prevent dust and bugs.
Add weight to the base if the toilet is top-heavy after modifications.
With some creativity and these tips, you can divert an old toilet from the landfill and upcycle it into a functional lamp for your home. This satisfying project is the perfect way to practice beginner electrical skills while making a unique decorative piece.