DIY- How to Make a Teacup Lamp - Pretty Real

DIY- How to Make a Teacup Lamp

12:37 PM

Ok, so in the spirit of full disclosure this should be titled "DIYWSHFYH- How to Make a Teacup Lamp"--(Do it yourself with some help from your husband). Because I'm not very patient, not a huge fan of power tools, and was eight months pregnant when I made this teacup lamp, I enlisted my handy husband for help. That said this really is a project almost anyone (with patience) can do.

I was inspired to make a teacup lamp when I fell in love with this one, but was SO not in love with the price ($110!). I thought, surely I could re-create this! And I figured I could make it look vintage and modern if I got to choose what types of cups to include. I promised I'd post specific instructions when I mentioned the teacup lamp in the post "Decorating a Nursery on a Budget, Part II." So here they are.
For me the most fun part was, you guessed it, shopping for my plates and teacups. I'm a little obsessive so I picked out all kinds of girly, fun teacups and teapots with the intention of deciding which ones I'd actually use in the comfort of my own home. (Plus I was waiting on baby and unemployed; let's just say I had some time to kill). The great thing about this project is you can spend as little or as much as you'd like. I shopped at thrift stores, Homegoods, TJ Maxx, and Marshall's for my plates and teacups. All in all, it cost me about $35 to make. Besides the fun stuff, you'll also need:
Drill bits
Lamp kit
Self hardening clay
Lamp shade

Ok, so after the fun part, comes the technical part.
1. Before you start to drill, stack your teacups in various arrangements and decide which you like the best. Make sure something heavy is on the bottom (or you can fill a teacup with marbles, etc) to avoid the lamp being top heavy. I also recommend buying some practice plates from a thrift store or garage sale to make sure you get the drilling right!

2. Start drilling holes in each plate, cup, and teapot. This step takes the longest. I used tungsten drill bits about 1/4" thick that I bought on eBay. However, diamond drill bits would have saved some time. They are expensive but you can find them on eBay for a reasonable price. An important thing when drilling is to make sure you keep wetting the drill bit so it doesn't overheat. That will make the drilling process go a lot smoother. Also, when Joe stepped in to help I realized that you do have to put some power behind it. I was afraid I'd break the glass (ok, and I have the upper body strength of an 11 year old), but it takes a lot longer if you're trying to be gentle. Use your practice plates to get the pressure right. Drill in the center but if you’re a little off, don't worry about it. It doesn't have to be perfect; it will still look cute!

3. Once all the drilling is complete, you’re ready to thread the lamp cord through the cups. For this part, just follow the instructions that come with the lamp kit. It’s fairly simple (I did the wiring with no help from my husband so it must be simple!). The toughest part is pulling the cord taut and looping it (the instructions make it seem like you’re looping tiny string instead of a fairly inflexible plastic cord). Besides that, it’s pretty easy.

4. Glue cups/plates together.  I'm kind of speculating about this part since I haven’t done it yet (and yes, Genevieve is 4 ½ months old!). But now that my lamp is assembled, I’m realizing I probably need to glue the cups/plates together. I only move my lamp when I clean the table, which, let’s face it, isn’t very often, so I’ve gotten by, but ideally the lamp would be a bit more sturdy than it is with no glue.
You may want to reverse this with step 3.  I was afraid if I had issues with the wiring it would be easier to correct if the cups were not glued…your call.

5. I have to admit I haven’t done this yet either but I’d suggest filling the top cup with clay as this demonstration shows. Right now I have pebble type things in the top cup but they are not heavy enough and are choking hazards (how many things you think of as choking hazards once you have a kid never ceases to amaze me!). So before Genevieve is mobile I plan on following these instructions.
6. Place your lamp shade on and ta da! You’re finished!

Here are some links I found helpful:

 Here are some photos of the process and the finished product!
So these are the mock ups I did initially to see which cups, plates, and teapots I wanted to use.
And the winner was, drum roll please:
The top teacup was $2 on clearance at Marshall's and has an embellished dainty chandelier on one side and a dressing table with perfume bottles on the other.  Just darling! 
The G mug was $5 or $6 at Homegoods and the teapot was on clearance for $3 at TJ Maxx.  The plates in between were 50 cents each at a thrift store.
And now the finished product:

You Might Also Like


  1. Your lamp turned out amazing! I'm glad you were able to find some inspiration from my blog.
    Thanks and enjoy!

  2. i love this idea. is there a reason why you have to use special drill bits? I have some regular husky brand ones or something from home depot. do you know if there's a certain type of drill bit that you can use to drill through porcelain and/or glass? i'm excited to try this out soon!


  3. Hi Jen,
    From my research I found people who had made a similar lamp recommended diamond drill bits- apparently regular ones aren't strong enough?? My husband (who did the majority of the drilling) said you have to also apply a decent amount of pressure...Hope this helps!

  4. This is awesome..You are really great..You have got cool ideas..
    Diamond Drill Bits