Rosie’s Refashioned Ikea Brän Lamp

bran lamp diy after

When I showed you all Rosie’s chandelier project a while back, I told you that I wanted to re-do the lamp on her dresser.  We bought the lamp, with all of her shelving and most of the frames at Ikea, right before we started putting her room together.  I knew right away that I wanted to use it in there because it was the perfect size, had a handy switch on the cord, (perfect for her height and little hands), and it was pretty and modern, fitting in with the style we were going for.

I make it up to Ikea only once or twice a year because it’s a 2 hour drive from Louisville. I usually have a list going for months and spend hours there, making sure I buy every single part I need, because we all know, you can’t order off of their website with those shipping rates.  Why does shipping cost so much with them?  I just learned this though: there’s a lot of Ikea stuff on Amazon for just a little more than buying it from the store.  This lamp is not available, but check there first before you go and pay $50 to ship a couple of shelf brackets.


I started off putting the lamp on Rosie’s dresser as is, but it disappeared against the grey wall and white frames. I thought covering the lampshade in fabric, (like I did with the chandelier shades here), would help it stand out more, which it did, but then I wasn’t loving the minty green color I chose.  The fabric didn’t look the same in her room as it did in the store, and it was putting way too much emphasis on the shade and taking away from exposed cord.  It doesn’t look terrible in this picture, but in real life, the shade was a darker green, and I don’t know, it just seemed “off” to me.  This is how it was in Rosie’s Room Reveal:

Rosie's big girl room 13

The coolest part about this lamp and the reason I bought it, is the exposed cord.  So I thought, why not paint the cord a bright color like hot pink (Rosie’s favorite hue) to accentuate it?  I’ve seen similar lamps with a bright color cord like this  and various DIY lamps on the web.

So, I pulled the shade off to see what I was dealing with, and let me tell you, this ended up being the project from HE-double-hockey-sticks.  For those that are interested, I’m going to tell you all about it, but if you want to skip to the end where I’ve laid out the steps, I totally understand.

So here goes.  I unplugged the lamp, removed the shade, and figured I could just unscrew the socket part to get to the cord, but to my chagrin, the damn thing was glued on there.  I did a Google search for dismantling the Ikea Brän lamp, and came across this blogger’s post.  She heated the metal piece with a hairdryer to melt the glue, and fortunately for her, was able to pull it right off.  (Check out her post for a different take on redoing the Brän lamp. It is so pretty.)

The cord is painted and pulled out of the lamp in the following photos, which doesn’t make sense now, but I’ll explain that in a minute.

Bran lamp hairdryer

I made several attempts, keeping the hairdryer on it a little longer every time, and the top still would not budge; each time a nervous wreck that the lamp was going to bust in my hands and send me right to the emergency room.  (A few minutes into it, I did put on some oven mitts, so I wouldn’t burn or cut myself.)  I referred back to the comment section of her post and someone mentioned pouring boiling water over the piece to melt the glue.  I tried that too, and nothing.  I felt a little better when I read more recent comments from other people who were having trouble, and how they thought Ikea “caught on”  and was using stronger glue now.  “Caught on” to what exactly?  They don’t want people making a much more awesome version of their lamp? Come on now.

I decided to try a different route, and dismantled from the other end at the base of the lamp. I was able to pull the switch mechanism apart and pull the cord through enough to paint it, (score!), but the next day when I attempted to put the lamp back together, the section of cord where the switch was (it’s split in two on one side), got trapped inside the lamp, and the acrylic paint was scraping right off of the cord.  Ugh!  It was even worse now than when I started!   Instead of throwing the lamp across the room like I wanted, I walked away like a sane person and didn’t look at it for 2 weeks.

I hadn’t totally given up, but you know when you just have to forget about something for awhile and regroup?  Well a few weekends ago, Rosie was at my Dad’s overnight and Jeff at the lake, so I did what I normally do when I’m alone and had myself an all day Craft-A-Thon.  Just me, my craft room and the Lorde + Bjork + St. Vincent Pandora channel.  Pure. Bliss.  And it put me in the mood to tackle this thing once and for all.  I got my hairdryer back out and this time, hit up the tool drawer, grabbing a couple of different kinds of pliers and screwdrivers to aide in prying off the stubborn top.  First, I twisted the socket part a little and pulled it through the top and away from the metal cap, aimed the hairdryer on the metal cap again for a minute, and then put a large flat screwdriver in the small opening and gently pulled.

Removing top bran lamp

Voila! It popped right off of there.  I was so happy, I laughed out loud and did a little dance.  I’m not kidding.

So, back to the reason why my photos don’t match up.  I didn’t take pictures until the second time around, after the original top debacle and when I had already tried painting the cord.


bran lamp diy top removed

Since painting the cord didn’t work out, I needed to explore other options to get the cord a bright color, my whole reason for getting myself into this mess.  My new repurposed craft carousel   was sitting there, and I had the idea to wrap the cord in embroidery floss, just like my stepsister used to do with her boyfriends’ giant class rings to get them to fit.  You can buy these at any craft store, and they’re only about 80 cents a piece and come in a million different colors.

bran lamp embroidery floss wrap

I pulled the cord out through the top as far as it would go, and began wrapping, starting an inch away from the socket thingy.  (I don’t know if it makes any difference, but I have a crazy fear of catching the house on fire, and I wasn’t sure if it was safe to put string so close to something that may get hot.)  I continued wrapping it around and then used fabric glue to secure it down.  After the glue dried, I carefully pulled the cord back through and reassembled the lamp, glueing the cap back on with Gorilla Glue.

bran lamp glue embroidery floss

Finally, I removed the green fabric from the shade and replaced it with this fun, crosshatch fabric from Stash Fabrics.

Bran lamp diy shade closeup

Oh my gosh, it’s so much better.  And although it took hours, (from bringing it home – to green shade – to the whole metal cap fiasco), I’m really happy with how it turned out.

bran lamp diy after 2


Have you had a project that took way longer than expected? Any other Bran lamp re-dos out there?  I’ve seen some that are filled with little toys, like Legos or plastic animals.  So cute.


What you’ll need for this project: 



Protective Gloves (I used oven mitts)

Flat Head Screwdriver

Embroidery floss

Fabric Glue

Strong Glue to Attach the Cap  (I used Gorilla Glue)

Directions (photos above)

1.  Unplug the lamp and remove light bulb and shade.  Gently twist the socket to pull it away from the glued on cap. Put on your protective gloves and turn on the hairdryer (hot setting), and heat the metal cap at the base of the socket, turning the lamp, for about a minute.

2.  Insert a flat head screwdriver and gently tug until the cap pops off.

3.  Pull the cord through.  Starting an inch from the socket, wrap embroidery floss around the cord until you reach the switch mechanism.  Glue down the end with fabric glue.

4.  After the glue dries, carefully pull the cord back through and reattach the metal cap and socket with glue.

Optional:  Fabric covered shade directions can be found here.



2 thoughts on “Rosie’s Refashioned Ikea Brän Lamp

  1. Cayden

    OMG I LOVE YOU! We tried to get the top off for soooooooo long and finally came across your post and voila! We also laughed and did a little dance ^^


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