My 2014 Upcycle Challenge Project: I LOVE LAMP

   Good Morning!

It’s a beautiful day around here at Recreated because it’s finally the day I get to reveal by 2014 Upcycle Challenge: Stylize project!  WOOHOO!  The Upcycle Challenge is a charity competition put on by the Fall Home Show benefiting Habitat for Humanity.  Each contestant wad given $100 to spend at the Habitat for Humanity Restore to find something to upcycle, and with the help of Rustoleum products (the contest sponsor) were tasked with creating something new and better.  Participants chose from a the following style categories for their project:  Modern, Country Rustic, Industrial , Vintage Glam, and Eco Chic. The voting takes place between now and September 20th, 2014. Then all the items will be displayed at the Fall home Show for public Auction.  All proceeds of the auctioning of the products goes to the Habitat for Humanity GTA for their great work building affordable housing in our area!

This year I went out of my comfort zone and instead of going with an upholstery project, I decided to tackle something new….lighting.  Why lighting?  I still have not figured out the answer to that question myself so I’ll have to get back to you.  But the style I chose was industrial.  Having made these decisions, I went to the Restore and picked out this ugly 1980’s chandelier….


…and then walked it the 4 kms back to my house with the chandelier thrown over my shoulder like a continental soldier.  There are times I miss my car.  This was one of them.

I then decided to take it apart and figure out what I would use need to make this super fugly chandy into an awesome industrial floor lamp.  (Consequently, the theme I choose was industrial….)

  Taking apart 2

The part that was once the top (on the left) would now act as the base of the lamp.  And I needed to keep all the lights, so the bottom of the chandelier would now become the top of the lamp, but flipped over and added on to.

tools 1

I then went to Home Depot to get some extra materials.  The guys working the plumbing aisle were quite intrigued/alarmed as I lay out dozens of copper fittings on the ground.

HD guy –  “You aren’t trying to use those for actual plumbing, are you?”

Me –  “No”

HD guy – “Good”.

After my many trips back to that part of the store I become known as the women doing something “artsy” with plumbing parts, and they became curious about what exactly I was doing.  Despite my explanations they just didn’t see my vision.   Ahhhh, the plight of an artist.  Never fully understood.

Next up was the tough part, the electrical.  I read a lot about before I tackled it and looked carefully about how it was originally wired.  For the most part I did pretty well…..except when I was testing out the plug that I added for the lamp.  I plugged it in followed by…..mild shock….followed by all the lights going out in my apartment…..and then I quickly pulled out the plug and the lights went back on.  Phew.

electrical -  what not to do copy

I managed to sort out my error.  Each larger wire had 2 smaller wires inside, meaning that I put 4 wires together.  What I needed was 1 marette for each set of wires for a total of 2.   Once I got that figured out, I got all the lights working!  Booya. And in doing the electrical I got to use new tools like this one….

second best new tool

…..a wire stripper!  So fun to use. And when I have a fancy dancy tools like this, how can I not be an electrical genius??  I also got another new kick-ass tool as part of this challenge…..a metal pipe cutter (the blue BrassCraft tool in the picture below). I love this thing, and it came in very handy when cutting all the copper piping for this project. You just slide the pipe inside, tighten it and circle it around and around, tightening it every so often and in a few short minutes, a perfect cut!

best tool ever

Given my unreasonable excitement over new tools, it won’t will surprise you that I’m the granddaughter of a hardware store owner.  Despite having not spent much time in his store, the love of tools certainly runs in my family. My father is similarly afflicted.  But I digress….

Next I took my time figuring out the piping for my lighting arms, gluing all the fittings together and inserting the existing light sockets/wiring into them.  I did have to extend the wiring to make it long enough to reach with the new extended arm lengths.  This was done using….I can’t even say it……a butt splice.  Perhaps this shows my immaturity, but could they NOT have come up with a better term for that?  Really?

light pieces copy

Once it was all glued together, I put it upright.   What I hadn’t taken into account was the added weight of the metal on the top which made the base wobbly resulting in what I called “The Leaning Tower of Lamp”.  #FAIL.   I had to come up with a solution. So I went back to my fave Restore and got a large solid floor tile and brought it home.  I decided I would drill a hole in the tile, glue the base to that and then attach the lamp post to it.  Have any of you ever tried to drill a hole in tile?  IT IS PAINFUL.  I did everything I was supposed to.  Got the proper drill bit, used water to temper the dust and tape to keep from getting fractures and cracks.  But it still took FOREVER.  Eventually I drilled through, and it totally worked to keep the lamp upright. #NAILEDIT

Next up was painting, which, despite lots of protective cover, wreaked havoc on my newly painted exterior doors.  Note to self for next time: spray paint migrates VERY far from the actual spray area.  I used Rustoleum Universal Paint in Gloss Canary Yellow, and it worked really well.  A big shout-out to Kamila at Rustoleum for being so helpful!


And all of this work was worth it for the final product!  A new super-fun, totally unique industrial style lamp!

after photo - 2

And it totally functions, which was my main concern at the beginning.  Sure, I can come up with an idea, do some gluing and painting but I’m so happy that I was able to figure out the electrical and make a functioning light out of it!   So just as a recap here is the before and after shot.

before AND AFTER copy

In the simple words of Brick Tamland from Anchorman…..



And I hope you do too!  The next part,  I need your help for is VOTES!!  Starting now, please CLICK HERE to vote for my upcycle challenge piece! (you have to have a Facebook account to vote).  You can vote once per day so vote often.  Share with your family, friends and co-workers on social media!  I would be most appreciative.  


Signature- new



The Story of Seats 2 & 3 – The Ultimate Upcycle Challenge

Good Morning!

As you may recall, I am participating in the Fall Home Show’s Ultimate Upcycle Challenge to support Habitat for Humanity. I’m so humbled to be included in this fabulous group. Today I’ll share with you my project. I call it

“The Story of Seats 2 & 3”

Be warned, this is a tale of tears, some frustration, and in the end, something beautiful.  But here is where I started…sort of.

Chapter 1 –  The piece

I was asked to do this challenge while I was away on vacation, and I immediately said YES!  I was so excited.  When I got back (on a Monday night) I got an email that said I had to buy my piece at the Habitat for Humanity Restore (with the $100 we had to spend) and send a before picture….by Friday.

And I work until 5 or 6 pm and they close at 7 pm….



So…I checked out some pieces on the Restore’s online store and  I saw this great pair of old theater seats at the Etobicoke location. The were still attached but looking a little sad and bruised. Oh, but I was sure these were for me.

But the were listed online at $120…I only had $100. I was still sure I could work something out so I left work early, battled traffic, and arrive at 6:55 pm…found them….but in the store they were listed at $160!!!!! So….I haggled. 

Who the f&%k haggles at a store where the proceeds go to CHARITY, you ask?  Apparently, this girl. I explained the situation, and guaranteed they would make back the $160 and more once I was finished. After a call to their manager, they were mine for $100. Phew.

Chapter 2 – The Tears

After I got them home I slowly started to take them apart on my desk outside.  And left some of the pieces out there because I have a tiny apartment. I left the pieces under a covered portion.  Some of you may remember the night we had the TORRENTIAL downpour in the downtown core. So, it didn’t matter that they were under the covered part of my deck, the seats got drenched.  I got home, brought them inside. Picture this…10 pm, I’m drenched, they are drenched, I’m sitting on my kitchen floor in a pool of water trying to get them apart so the insides don’t get completely ruined….and I can’t……



Luckily, I eventually did get them apart.  I replaced what I needed to be replaced and back at it again…

Chapter 3 – The Transformation

So, first I stripped them down and I repainted all the metal bits in a glossy black….

Covered over the ugly wooden arms…

Reupholstered the back and the seats.

Sewed and added some piping

And painted some 2 x 4’s and assembled a base….since they no longer would be screwed into a movie theater floor…

Chapter 4:  The Conclusion

And here they are….

This would make great entryway seating or even could be used for a bench on the long side of a table!


And now it’s time to vote!  Click HERE to be transferred to the voting page and to see all of the other entries. Obviously, I would really appreciate your votes but the important thing is to vote for someone! There are some phenomenal pieces there. And be sure to use the share button to send to all your Facebook/Twitter friends too! The pieces will also be up for auction with all proceeds going to Habitat for Humanity, so if you like something a lot you should bid.  I’ll have more details on how to bid soon!

Have a great day!