Saturday, April 6, 2019

Shedding Light on the Subject

I'm making lamps for the attic bedrooms. This one is for the girl's room. My original instructions came from Dollhouse Miniature Furniture Tutorials: 1 inch. I was thinking about how much work we go to create a room to make it believable, charming, and realistic and that's what makes the hobby so much fun, living out our fantasies, revisiting our childhoods, maybe, channeling our creative nature. And I am so glad that you are here with me. Thank you. 

So before I get down to business here, I posted my electrical problems on the Face Book group that I belong to that focuses on tutorial and how-to's. I don't think that I am allowed to to mention my blog there, so I am re-writing the tutorial that I wrote for Face Book. I have sosmetimes directed readers to go the blog, asking them to comment if they visit, but it is very hard to get them to sign on or leave a comment, so I am ever grateful for the handful that visit me here and take the time leave a little something to make me smile. 

More importantly, however, aside from my own ego, are the horror stories that those miniaturists told about their own experiences with the MFD kits and tape wire. Seems that a lot of people have heart ache over the eyelets or brads coming loose from the composite wood. Round wire and batteries seem to be the solution, but there is another that I have seen on Greenleaf's forum, so I began to practice yesterday: Soldering. 

A bit scary at first, but I think I am getting the hang of it. Might need stronger glasses, tough. My bifocals may need updating. 😁My sweet hubby bought me a simple soldering kit from Amazon, so I finally got brave and tried it out, after doing a bit of reading about how to use it. 

I put a piece of copper tape on a little piece of wood, striped off the plastic covering and went to work. A bit messy, (and out of focus), but I got the hang of it. The connections are secure and strong.
Could this be our answer to brads and eyelets?

I practiced connecting wire to wire, using round wire and with some practice I think I have that down, too, except for the glob that is not good. The one comment on Face Book said that it is a weak spot and told me to flux to help the flow of the solder and to help it attach to the wire.

One note: the small shrink tubes will not fill over the joint. I have larger ones, but they add bulk, but soldering these splices is superior to just twisting wires together and putting the shrink tube on because the splice is not secure. Solder reduces that mishap.

So here is my parts list:

  • Hobby Lobby cabinet. Cheap. I don't like to paint or drill my vintage Shackman furniture.
  • Evan Designs, a web store that sells parts for hobbies: a lithium battery kit
  • Shrink tubes Electrical tape
  • Wooden spindle with extra wood removed and hole drilled down the center
  • jewelry finding: tube. probably 1/32-3/32 in diameter. 
  • Lamp shade kit. This one is out of order on most sites. Very hard to find, but there is a lamp kit in the online stores that has all of the parts or you can visit 1 inch minis to see how Kristen builds support for the lamp shade and you will find dozens of tutorial on Pinterest for lamp making and lampshade patterns. Search 'lamps' on my side and you will find my previous tutorials.
  • Tool: drill--either a thumb drill or a Dremel. I put my spindle in a vice on my workbench in the garage to secure it in place then use my Dremel with the round cutter blade to remove the ends of the spindle and to drill. I used two bit sizes to drill the hole: 1/32 and then the 1/16. You may have to use a sharp blade to hollow out the top of the hole to make your jewelry tube fit.

To splice the wires from the battery to the LED together, read the instructions that come with the light, but it is red to red. Green to black. The wires on the left are the batter. Do not insert the battery yet to avoid a possible short.

To begin: drill a small hole in the top of the furniture piece that you hide the battery. 1/16 bit or big enough to accommodate your wiring.

Assemble your lamp. Insert the jewelry tube, insert the LED.

Now begin splicing the LED wires to the battery wires.

Twist the wires to tether. The LED wires are much smaller than the more rigid battery wires, so it is sort of a one sided twist. If you are going to use shrink tubes instead of solder, put them in place before splicing the wires.

Solder. I think for my very first try, I did okay. the shrink tube will not slide over this splice.

So I cut a small piece of regular electrical tape to keep the bare wires from touching, avoiding a short.

Not very pretty, but the splices will be hidden.

I wind the wires in a circle and tuck them inside the cabinet, with the switch easy to get to.

I used craft acrylic paint, two coats and fingernail decals. Some who are talented (I am not) can paint their decoration, use water slide decals, cover shade with fabric or wallpaper or craft paper. Create whatever looks you want. I love my lamps. Search 'lamps' to see my other lamps.

I am excited to get this little room finished. I have wallpaper on order. Oh and the little photo. I love that one. It's grand parents celebrating their wedding by eating cake on a bride to somewhere. Early 20th century, Kansas. My dad was born in 1917, so 1918. They are married in a double ceremony with grandpa's brother and his bride, Renny and Goldie.

Finally, the Bellingham farmhouse lighting has been patched. It was a messy fix. I simply ran round wire from the point of origination for the electrical system to the wire on the second floor where the kitchen lights are connected and the lights are on, again. I'll hide the wire best I can. I do think that I will end up soldering the top connection because it tends to be sensitive to touch since the eyelets don't seem to be in tightly secured or the wires or something. 

So glad that you stopped by. Perhaps you have noticed that I add a Pin feature to my photos, so feel free to pin my good photos.😜

Have great weekend. Next, the Roy Rogers lamp. 


  1. Good for you tackling the problem head on! I hope it works for all your future wiring endeavors!
    P.S. It would be interesting to see the comments from the FaceBook group. Is it possible to leave a link for that?

  2. Wuauuu verdaderamente admiro su trabajo, muchas gracias por todo. Un abrazo

  3. Great work!!! I messed with lighting for one house I worked on and gave up! Kudos to you!!!


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