Do you have a dark spot in your home that needs more lighting? I do, too.
Are you an electrician that can run wiring through a wall? No? Me, neither.
How about re-wiring a wall sconce? Hey, we can do that!
You pick out your new light fixture, and we’ll get started together, OK?
This tutorial is for transforming a wall-mounted light sconce (one that is made to be wired inside a wall and operated by a wall switch at a switch plate). We’re changing it to be wired with a roll switch on a cord that plugs into a regular wall outlet.
Our master bedroom has too many doors and windows. The only wall for the bed is one that is too short for the bed plus two night stands. We could change from a king sized bed to a queen, but who wants to do that? So, we only have one lamp, and not on my side of the bed.
After looking for the right light for six years, I finally decided to take action. Everyday DIY-ers like me can’t run wiring into an existing wall. But many DIY-ers like me (and you!) can wire a sconce to plug into a regular, existing wall outlet.
Before we start, gather your supplies.
Step One: Attach Roll Switch
My cord needed the roll switch to be attached, since the kit didn’t come with it already wired onto the cord. Follow the package instructions for that. Be sure to attach it at a handy location, closer to the wired end than the plug end.
Mine was about 18″ from the wired end before attaching my light fixture. It slightly hides behind the headboard but is easy to reach. If you were lucky enough to purchase a cord with the roll switch already attached, cut your cord to the length you will need for proper placement of the switch.
Step Two: Drill Hole In Fixture
Run the roll-switch cord, wired end of course, through the hole in the bottom of the fixture.
Now, you’re ready for the wiring part.
Step Three: Wiring Your Fixture
The light fixture has a black wire, a white wire, and a copper ground wire (push aside for now). Remove the mounting plate from the back of the light fixture and set aside. We’ll get to that soon.
On the wired end of the plug-in cord, separate the 2 strands 2-3 inches down the length of it. Simply pull them apart with your fingers after making a tiny snip in the plastic between the wires.
Locate your black-coated wire and your white-coated wire. My cord had a slight color to it, making it hard to see which wire was black and which was white. After testing, I discovered the “black” wire has tiny writing along the cord, but you can’t see that the wire itself is black. If you’re over 40, you might need to grab your readers. (I said tiny, but it is miniscule!)
The black wire (or the strand with the tiny black letters) gets connected with the black wire on the fixture. The white wire on the fixture gets paired with the white wire (or the wire with no writing) of the plug-in cord.
To “marry” the wires, start by stripping the plastic wire coating off the ends of all wires. To do this, use your wire cutters to penetrate the plastic coating (one half inch from the end), but not so hard you cut the wire itself. The plastic slides off easily once it’s cut. Check the wires under there to be sure you didn’t cut into them. (If you did, it’s OK. Just move down a half inch and try again.)
With the wire ends stripped, pair your black with black wires and twist them together. Do the same with the white wires. After twisted together for full contact, twist a cone-shaped wire connecter over the married wires until it’s snug.
This picture shows one “married” set twisted together and the other set twisted and capped with the wire connector.
Wrap electrical tape around each wire connecter for extra protection. I’m a bad example and didn’t do that this time. Just didn’t think it necessary, because my wires were very snug under the connectors. Do as I say do, not as I do. 😉
Step Four: Attach Fixture Bracket
Find the bracket you removed from the fixture. Mount it securely onto the wall with 2 screws, preferably into a stud. My fixture didn’t include these, so I used sheet rock screws. (When you “shop salvage”, like I do, you sometimes get home without all the parts.) I had one screw that went into a stud, but the other didn’t, so I added a wall anchor.
The plate for your fixture might not look exactly like this one. Sometimes, they are round. The two screws included with your bracket need to protrude, and they need to be level, because the two (manufactured) holes in your light fixture will mount on those screws. Notice that the mounting screws come through a slot rather than a round hole so you can adjust for proper width of the screw holes in your fixture.
Lift the light fixture to the bracket. The copper ground wire needs to be wrapped securely around the screw on the plate. Before attaching your fixture to the plate, tighten the screw so the wire doesn’t come out.
Step Five: Mounting the Light Fixture
We’re done! See how easy that was?
I am enjoying my new light every night when I read.
Are you enjoying yours?
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