Vintage Insulator Garden Art

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While we were in Portland to pick up Brinley we stayed with my mother-in-law and since Mother’s Day was the weekend we were there we decided to create some unique garden art for her gift using some of the vintage glass insulators we got from her sister’s ranch in Colorado.  You might remember some of them from our kitchen island pendant lights.

The entire project was super simple.  We started with various lengths of 1/2″ copper pipe, which the hubs cut right in the store parking lot so it would fit in the truck.  He used this nifty little tool we found in the plumbing section.

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Back at the house we added some pipe sealant tape to one end so the insulators would have a bit more grip.

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Next I chose where I wanted each pipe to be in the garden and pushed it down into the soil.  Then you just put an insulator on the top.  Repeat a few more times and you’re done!

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While the copper and glass combo is quite interesting, we used varying heights on the poles to create additional interest.

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And here’s the finished project!  Simple and sentimental, that’s my kind of mother’s day gift!  I plan to create a similar display in our garden as well, but have a bit more prep to do before we’re ready for that.

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And the project took was so easy I had time left over to appreciate the garden including some amazing iris growing nearby!  I was able to bring home a few bulbs from both of these plants so hopefully later this season I’ll have blooms like this in my yard!

Iris

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Shared on Knick of Time’s Talk of the Town #24.

TDC Before and After

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DIY Glass Insulator Pendant Lights

We knew we wanted something unique for the pendant lights over the bar in the kitchen, but weren’t sure exactly what that might be.  I spotted this idea on Pinterest and immediately loved it.  Surprisingly, so did the hubs who took me to an antique store he’d just discovered to pick out insulators for our project a few days later.

We also acquired some heirloom insulators from the hubby’s Aunt in Colorado during our road trip in September, so we had quite a selection to choose from.  I set them all out and tried different combinations to decide which we liked best.

We hadn’t given the project much more thought since then as we were busy with other details and the house wasn’t ready for light fixtures just yet.  But now that it is, we suddenly had to figure out how to make it happen and choose exactly which insulators to use.

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And finally decided this was just right.

Winner

My handy dandy hubs found the right bit and snuck in time on a drill press at work to drill the holes.  The first four drilled without a hitch, but then while drilling the last one it cracked!

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Crack

We had a few others in the same color and size, but they all had pretty big chips, so that wonderful hubby of mine made another trip to the antique store and picked up two more for $9 each.  He drilled both without a problem, but one did develop an internal crack.  We decided to still use it since it added character, and that left us a spare in case any ever did meet an untimely fate and require being replaced.

We followed the tutorial from Pinterest and purchased the same materials to retrofit the pendant cords the builder installed.

Supplies

It took a little trial and error to figure out the best method for removing the parts we didn’t need and reusing the parts we did, but the hubs made it happen – even though he was super tired!

Work
Notice that mess on the counter? That’s how the rest of the house looks too.. I think I have hives.. LOL

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It also took a bit of adjusting to get them all at the same height, but they look awesome!

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The builder thought we were nuts when we showed him what we were planning, and all he had to say when he saw the finished product was “It’s different.  I’ve never seen that before.”  But at this point, if it’s something he doesn’t have to do, he’s game.

The LED bulbs don’t put out much light at 0.6 wt, but the recess lighting in the main area of the kitchen supply plenty of light to cook by.  They do make a nice ‘night light’ when on by themselves, so that’s probably how we’ll use them the most.  We will be on the lookout for brighter bulbs that will fit, but for now these it the bill.

Finish

I just adore the finished result.  Not only are they unique and repurposing something that is otherwise unused, but they bring a piece of family history to our new home.

Have you ever used old glass insulators for projects?  If so, please share!  We still have several and need some ideas.

Shared at Knick of Time’s Vintage Inspiration Party #203!