Electric Avenue

The original lighting in my art studio was coming from these ugly wall-mounted sconces. But they were hard-wired and controlled by a dimmer switch that was a nice convenience.

As I started coming up with ideas for the shelving, I had this brilliant idea of extending the wiring and having the lights attached to the shelves, but still hard-wired. Then I could control them with a switch and life would be so much easier. I saw these photos and I knew I wanted some task lights.

Source: weheart.co.uk 

So I perused online for some hard-wired task lights, and they don't come cheap. But you can buy a plug-in task light for less than $30. I just happened to be at Home Depot and came across a simple desk light.

I've already re-wired lights in my house, so I knew how to do it. But I had never converted a plug in. It seemed simple enough. First, you cut the cord (gasp!). No turning back now.

In order to access the wall wires, I had to cut a hole in the back of the shelf.

Not pretty. And as I was cutting the hole, I realized I had no idea how, aside from the wires, I would make the light fixture stay up. I found a door knob plate thingy in one of my drawers and tried screwing it to the shelf backing, through which I stuck the stem of the light through. And then I hung the top on some chain links that were also lying around.

Confused? Yeah, don't try this at home. But this is how my mind thinks. Try to find spare parts lying around and make it work. It actually was working. But then I started worrying about how there was no ground wire on the light. Suddenly, I had visions of my house going up in flames and my home insurance not covering the damage as I had altered the electrical wiring. 

And I happened to be at Ikea. Where I found even cheaper task lights. And they came with a base that you could mount on a wall. They weren't hard-wired though. But then came that thought of my house burning down. And I decided plug-ins would be fine.

Soooooo... after my hours of tinkering, I took down my DIY hard-wired fixture. Sigh. (I ended up reattaching the plug with electrical tape and have used it on another part of my desk so not a total loss.)

The Ikea light was screwed on to the shelf and the cord passed through a hole in the backing and brought behind the shelf down to the outlet. 

Multiply times two and voila, task lighting on my shelves done. It only took 6 hours, lots of trips back and forth to the circuit breaker, and some sore fingertips from twisting and untwisting electrical wires.

Now on to organizing some spare parts...

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