Upcycled Lamp Garden Totem

Hello! It's time for another Thrifty Chicks challenge!

If you're new here the Thrifty Chicks is a group of blogging friends and each month we get together (virtually) and participate in an upcycling challenge project, this month's challenge is garden art!

I'll share my take on garden art and then be sure to check out the other ladies' projects at the end of the post!

How to make a glass totem pole for the garden
Thrifty Chicks Challenge

I must give credit where credit is due, I originally saw this project on Karen's blog, Somewhat Quirky! Be sure to check out her totems, they are beautiful!

The great thing about this project is it checks 3 items off the Operation Garage Cleanout list... three vintage lamps I had been saving for this very project! Nevermind the fact that I had to go thrift shopping for three more lamps 😏 I think it's ok since they never even made it into the garage hoard!

Here are all my lamps for this project, six lamps total (one is not showing in this picture).

Vintage lamps with colored glass globes

First I had to take the lamps apart and remove the electrical parts to get to the globes.

The lamps will have a nut on the bottom and once you unscrew that the whole lamp will come apart!

take apart the lamp

I cut the wires to make it a little easier.

cut the wiring

Once all the globes were removed from the lamps I washed and dried them.

vintage colored lamp globes

At this point, I discovered that two of my globes were not "true" colored glass but the color was "painted" on with some sort of colored film instead.

It's hard to tell when you are buying lamps but I think you can see the areas where the coating has flaked off.

I'm not too worried about it because I figure if it all comes off I'll still have a pretty plain glass globe and maybe I can try painting them at that point!

painted glass globe

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Once all the lamps were disassembled I picked out the metal lamp parts that I wanted to use as my spacers between the globes on my totem. I gave these all a couple coats of one of the Hammered Metal Spray Paints.

lamp parts

The globes and lamp parts will be threaded onto a piece of rebar stuck into the ground.

I'm not gonna lie, this was the most difficult part of the whole project! I had to call in some brute force (my boyfriend) and the neighbor's sledgehammer to get this thing far enough into the ground!

It's a 10' piece of 3/8" rebar and it's down in the ground 4', leaving 6' for my totem. I also added a little concrete into the hole for more stability.


Once that had set up overnight I started creating my totem!

upcycled lamp totem pole

It would have been nice if I could have used 1/2" rebar but that wouldn't have fit through the holes in the lamp parts. Even with 3/8", I had to widen a couple of holes in the metal lamp parts (I used tin snips to do that).

building a totem pole for the garden

upcycled glass totem pole

glass garden totem pole

The rebar sticks up a little but I'm on the hunt for a longer piece of something to cover that up.

garden totem

I think it looks better to have a piece of garden art like this tucked in behind other plants and shrubs.

garden totem pole

make a totem pole out of glass lamp globes

garden art totem pole

I hope that having it tucked back a little will shelter it from the wind... I mean I don't think it's going to go anywhere since the rebar is halfway through the earth and surrounded with concrete but it's still a little nerve-wracking to have all that glass outside like that! Time will tell!

Be sure to check out the other talented ladies' projects! Just click the pictures below to be taken to each of their posts!

garden art totem pole made from recycled glass lamp globes