how i made a gumball-machine lamp

ok, i have to start this with a little history.

as a girl i LOVED gumball machines. i don’t know what it was about them. they held gumballs-which i was hardly ever allowed to have? they were colorful? they look quaint and old fashioned?  i even remember i had a gumball machine birthday cake once. it cracks me up to think of my obsession.

and then one time i saw someone made a lamp out of one. it was so cute! and they were selling it for like 80$ or something. i loved it but they put fake apples inside. {tragedy!you gotta put gumballs inside!} but i knew right then and there that i wanted one. goofy, i know.

fast forward to last year:: my sweet friends from Princeton and I were garage sale-ing. i saw one for sale. for 5$. i wanted it! but then some old lady stepped in front of my a grabbed it practically out of my hand. sad day. anyway…  my friend Sharon found one for sale last Christmas and gave it to me as a gift because she knew my plan. sweetest thing ever, right? 🙂 i thought so.  i had the machine. now i just had to make it.

then i got cold feet and was afraid i would fail. i put it off all year because i was afraid i would break it, or ruin it or something. that and Husbuddy was afraid it would look tacky.

yesterday i conquered my fears and just did it. ha! ok. maybe it does look a little tacky… but i still love it. 🙂 and wouldn’t it look so cute in a little kiddos’ room someday? {waaaay  in the future, mind you}

ok this is what you need:

my supplies:

  • the gumball machine
  • a lamp kit
  • thread pipe(to screw the light kit into)
  • washers/nuts- to hold the thread pipe in place
  • sharpie
  • light bulb
  • lamp shade
  • and a curious puppy who watched me every second of the whole process (totally optional)

first i figured out the path that the wire would have to go. the wire can’t go all the way through to the bottom because i wanted the gumball machine part to still work. i marked where we needed to drill the holes.

for some reason Husbuddy doesn’t let me use the drill. {i have no idea why!} so i watched him masterfully work… that and get metal shavings all over his wallet. whew, good thing he did that and not me 😉

then i screwed in the thread pipe. you can see it’s a little wonky because i couldn’t put it directly in the center. that’s the hole that you need to screw on the lid to the glass. so, to make it straight i fashioned a couple of pieces of thick leather to hold it straight up and down. {sorry, forgot to take a pic of this.}

then i had to wire it.

to do this i had to take apart the top lamp-kit piece so i could feed the wires through all the holes and up through the threaded pipe. then i used my mad electrician skills {no, not really, it’s super easy} to wire it back together. and look! it works! {and still looks crooked because i hadn’t screwed on the top piece yet}

then when i was trying to pour the gumballs in i found i’d made a mistake putting together the machine… i put in that little rubber piece that holds the bottom of the glass- UPSIDE DOWN! doh.

fail. i would have had to take everything apart and start over. so instead, lazy lil’me,  i improvised and cut it. it’s not perfect, but it works. it still holds the glass correctly, there’s just a little slit in it. i know that i could order a replacement for like 2$ if this ever fails, so i’ll just go with it for now 😉

after i finally got that figured out… i poured in the gumballs and attached the lampshade!

woot woot! i love it! Husbuddy admits that it’s not as tacky as he thought it would be.

what do you think? love it or too tacky?

xo-kimberly renee.

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0 Responses to how i made a gumball-machine lamp

  1. Cindy Lauffenburger November 17, 2012 at 7:19 pm #

    Love it!

  2. Elissa Bowen November 17, 2012 at 7:32 pm #

    Love it! So clever!

  3. Jim L November 17, 2012 at 7:44 pm #

    I’m impressed!

  4. shu June 23, 2013 at 7:23 pm #

    was looking for an idea for sofa end table lamps in a home theatre…outstanding!

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