Wednesday, August 15, 2012

How to Repair a Lamp Cord

Meet the newest member of our family: Brooklyn!

Brooklyn is a one year old golden doodle with a lot of spunk and energy. Why haven't all the smart people figured out a way to capture bouncing dog energy?  My monthly energy bills could be sooo cheap!  

Even though we've only had him for about a month, Brooklyn already likes to tackle DIY projects around the house: sometimes it's redecorating with the dirty tissues from the garbage, and sometimes it's feeding himself a lovely dinner of PBJ sandwiches.  The other day, he figured that he'd try his hand at updating the cord of my favorite lamp:

Needless to say, it was his first DIY fail.  Better luck next time Brooklyn! (PS: the switch to the lamp's outlet was turned "off" at the time so Brooklyn wasn't hurt at all)

I had my husband show me how to fix the lamp cord, because I figured that it would be something good to know for future reference.  And now I'm passing on the knowledge on to you, because I'm sure that I'm not the only one with a pet who likes to tackle his own remodels ;)

First, you'll need a pair of wire snippers (left) and some wire strippers (right).  You're also going to need a lighter or something similar that can produce a flame (not shown).

You're also going to need some electrical supplies.  On the left are two "sure connect sealed butt splices."  I'm going to call these splices from here on out.  On the right is some heat shrink tubing.  You'll notice that each of them seem to be made of rubber-like tubing.  After you have them positioned/clamped down where you want them, you will use the lighter to heat them up.  When they are heated up, the loose rubber-like parts shrink down and conform to your electrical cord for a nice tight fit.  

Each one comes in different sizes.  Most low-voltage household cords have 18 gauge wires, so you'll need to get splices that are made for that size wire.  Try these ones--they are the  "red" colored ones.  In real life, they look pink, but let's just roll with it shall we? ;)

I used 3/4'' heat shrink tubing.  Try this tubing that shrinks down to about 1/4.''  You can buy these things online, or an electronics store might also have these things in stock.

Take your wire snippers and cut out the damaged part of your cord.  Strip about 1/2'' of the plastic protective coating from each section of wire using your wire strippers.  Twist each end of your exposed wire so that all of the smaller individual wires stay together.  

Slide your heat shrink tubing over one section of your wire:

Slide the "sure connect sealed butt splices" into your twisted wire ends and clamp them with your wire strippers.  You will do this for each side of the splice.  See below for a demo pic!  Make sure to use the clamping gap that's labeled "22-18" because your wire is 18 gauge wire.  

Note: I'm using the "16-14" clamp in the picture below--I should have used the "22-18" clamp, which will crimp the splices tighter than the one that is shown in the picture.  My splices promptly fell off after I got done taking this picture ;)  That's when I got the husband involved and he helped from here on out while I took pictures of everything. 

Once you're done clamping, your wires should be held in the splices nice and tight.  If you tug on them gently, they should not pull out.  You'll be able to see crimp marks on the splices.  

Use the lighter and carefully heat up the splices.  Be careful not to melt your electrical cord!  The red tubing will shrink down around the cord.  You'll know that you are done when and a little bit of clear sealer leaks out of the ends of the splice.  This built-in sealer just helps to keep everything secure.    

Once your splice is cool, slide your heat shrink tubing over it:

Use your lighter again to heat up the tubing up and shrink it down tight to the electrical cord.  Take your time and keep your flame moving to prevent things from melting!  After you're done, try to keep it straight for a few minutes.  The tubing becomes stiff as it cools, and if it's bent it will harden that way.  

This is what the cord looks like when it's all done!  I was pleasantly surprised that it blends right in, and you can't tell that it's been repaired unless you look really close.

Here is Brooklyn admiring the handiwork!  I think that he's impressed with the results...and probably silently plotting his next DIY project. ;)


  1. Would a hairdryer work instead of the lighter for heat shrinking the tubing?

    1. You might be able to use a hair dryer on the hottest setting, but I would use a lighter or an open flame instead (the hair dryer might not be hot enough). Just be careful not to melt the plastic, and you should be ok!

    2. You should really use a heat gun instead of an open flame or hair dryer if you want best (safest) results.

  2. I followed your instructions and I fixed my chewed lamp! Thanks! :)

  3. Just wanted to say thanks for sharing!

  4. Would these splicers work if it's a hanging pendant lamp? Pretty light weight but I can't figure out what to use to space wires when weight will be applied.

  5. HLF: It's probably best to replace the wire (at least the portion supporting the weight) instead of relying on the repair to hold weight. Also, as hanging light the repaired portion may not look great cosmetically.

  6. My Golden puppy chewed the cord of a brand new FLOOR lamp..thank you so much for your instructions..thank goodness the cord was not plugged in and I thought I had wrapped the cord high enough, but she chewed it off right where in comes out of the base...I am going to fix it, but put it out in a room where she can't get to it.