I’ve always liked bare light bulbs, especially the edison style ones that really show the filament. Local restaurant Rustico has these lights all over their dining room, which looked awesome. So after some sketching, I decided to actually go out and make it. I consulted with a couple friends about the logistics of lighting five lights (parallel or series?) to a regular wall plug. I’ve never really put together my own lamp before, so I wanted to make sure I got it right without electrocuting myself or burning out tons of bulbs.
Here is what I learned:
– Home Depot doesn’t have a great selection of light fixture parts, but you can find what you need – but maybe not the exact style you’re looking for.
– wire the lights in parallel, this avoids resistance problems that lighting in series could potentially have
– instead of an in-line dimmer switch, I used one which you just plug the lamp into. this seemed like less work (and HD didn’t have an in-line dimmer)
– a heat gun is perfect to use with heat-shrink tubing
So onto the materials list:
5 25W light bulbs (medium base, T10 style) (~$4.00 ea)
5 weatherproof light sockets (~$3.50 ea)
1 polarized wall plug (~$3.00 ea)
20 ft. 16 gauge lamp wire (~$0.30 per foot)
18 in. heat shrink tubing (~$2.00)
10 AMP butt splices (~$2.00)
The instructions are pretty self explanatory, when cutting up the wire, just make sure to keep track of the “white” and “black” wires. the lamp wire I got had a ridged half and a smooth half with text on it, so I just made sure to keep connecting the ridged half to the black socket wire, and the smooth half to the white socket wire. I chose to have each lamp piggyback off the previous one because if this works, I’m going to expand it to 10 bulbs to hang from the ceiling.
The original plan was to have a bunch of wires coming from the same junction, so there would be an intentional mess of wires and bulbs. After some thought, and not finding a good way to connect the lights together, I decided to string them to each other and make it easily scalable.