Daily Archives: January 5, 2014

unwrapping: bedside beaded cord lamp

I scaled way back on my DIY Christmas plans for gifts this year, but I did manage to get two of them done. The first was this beaded cord lamp for F’s room, and I’m really happy with the results. When her big sister was three we gave her a reading lamp on a timer and started letting her stay up for a short time past her tuck in time. It was an independent reading time, and even though she wasn’t quite reading yet, I think she really loved (and benefited) from that time that was solely devoted to the act of looking at books. Having the “bonus” time specifically for that – because she couldn’t use it for playing or romping around the room – really instilled a love of winding down the day with a good read. She still does it every night, on her own.

We were a little behind on this with F, but I was determined to get on the ball for Christmas. I outlined the plan (and all the links) for the supplies that we used here, and I had no trouble getting any of it… except for those pesky wooden beads. I scoured all the local craft and hobby stores to no avail. I ended up purchasing them from this etsy shop and had them in my hands three days later.

I originally thought I might spray paint all the beads a nice glossy color. But my favorite source for the best colors of spray paint is ArtMart, and those suckers are kind of pricey when you just need to paint a few beads – and you need six different colors. I wasn’t really interested in forking over $60-$80 on spray paint, so I got out my stash of acrylics and started mixing.

A few days later, while F was busy in the tub, M installed the small white hook into the ceiling, and I played around with the installation, marking where I wanted the thumb switch, and thinking that we might trim the mint colored cord to the correct length. But then we decided to leave the cord long for flexibility in future installations. I arranged most of the beads I had painted in a completely random order – selecting them with my eyes closed, and only putting them back if I had two colors in a row. M got busy wiring the whole thing after F was in bed. 

Here’s a shot of the lamp with the light off.

We originally purchased the silver tipped bulb shown in the diagram above, and it was super cool looking. It cut the glare out at eye level, but directed light up and off the walls. There was just something about the metallic look of it that didn’t quite go with the rest, so I found a few alternates and liked this frosted bulb a lot better. It’s 60W, and it would probably be better at 40W. It’s definitely not blinding though, very soft on the eyes, even without a shade. I’ll keep my eyes open for a 40 watter the next time this one needs replacing – might need to purchase one online. It’s supposed to last two years, so we’ll see. (It will be easy to check with everything documented here!)

I’m pretty excited with the results, and bedtime has been a little bit smoother with the new lamp. (Not perfect, I promise – she’s still quite the spitfire when it’s time to call it a night.) We love hearing her through the monitor “reading” her books aloud – it reminds of E when she was little, and we know it won’t be too much longer before she’s doing it completely on her own.