Hey guys! To say that I am excited about this project would be an understatement. My LOVE for DIY, vintage finds, and repurposing made this a complete joy for me! This was a Christmas present for my brother and his girlfriend this past Christmas.
Once I decided what I wanted to do for them, the search began for the perfect fan. I knew it wouldn't be easy but I didn't have to look far. Luckily, there are no shortages of antique and junk stores in my area. I found the perfect fan at one of my favorite places in town the Rink Gallery. I will say, I am typically rather partial to this place. It has the right amounts of antiques and junk (junk being my absolute favorite).
So, as I was about to give up on even finding a fan after going to multiple places with no luck at all, and I was almost all the way through the place, there one was. Just sitting there like it was waiting for me to find it.
I will admit, it took me a minute to decide on it. I mean, it was $75 and it seemed high for something I was about to completely gut. There I stood, in the middle of the store, they were about to close in 15 minutes and I am searching on Etsy and Google for other fans and their pricing. Once I found that the majority of the fans started around $60 for fans half the size of this one (and my parents telling me to quit over thinking things) I bought it.
And home we went.
Once home and ready to work, it was time to take this puppy apart. This I will tell you is an intense process. One suggestion I have, I did this over a couple week time span, (not that it took me that long, I just did little bits here and there), so as you take your fan apart, find a system to keep track of what parts go where. The majority of the guts will become trash. I however, DIDN'T, so it was a lot of fun at the end putting it back together and seeing what fit where. I felt like a toddler learning that the round peg doesn't fit in the square hole.
(I know you are jealous of this awesome tie-dyed blanket I have here. I used it to keep my carpet clean since I was working on in my den and this has basically become a dog blanket 🐶)
Look at that gross old plug I took out.
Once I had it all take apart, I cleaned out a lot of the old grease. Not that this was needed for function, I just thought it gross to leave it all in there. And there was a TON. Then I decided what colors I wanted to paint it. I wanted to keep the vibe of it but have it look newer/more modern. You can also leave it in its original state I just new that wouldn't fit in my brother's aesthetics (mine it would). So I decided on a chalkboard and satin nickel spray paint both from Rustoleum.
I made sure to take the manufacturer logo off the grill and tape off the original labels on the fan body to still keep the integrity of the fan. I then painted all the pieces.
(Before I painted.
I didn't actually need to paint the bottom since I recovered that in felt but oh well)
The painting process was interesting considering my brother was now home at this point and insisted on going out in my garage so I had to keep covering with a dog crate lid and a sheet. I recommend if this is a gift, do it when they aren't staying at your house or make sure they don't enter into your space. I had to do a few touch-ups because of this but no biggie.
Now, it was wiring everything up.
Things I used on mine:
- Brass keyless sockets from Lowe's
- 18/2 clear lamp cord from Lowe's (about 5')
- 8-pk brass lamp pipes from Lowe's 1/8 (I only used the small ones so I bought 2 pks)
- Rotary switch from Lowe's
- 4-lite cluster body from Liberty Brass (make sure you watch the pipe sizing, I used 1/8 which is pretty standard).
- Vintage bulbs I bought from my store Lifestyle's Stores
- Black and white zig-zag round wire from Vintage Wire Supply (I ordered 5' but they are completely awesome and sent me an extra foot)
- Antique replica black plug from Vintage Wire Supply
- Long 1/8 all thread approximately 8"
- Wire strippers
- Electrical tape
- Wire nuts
- Razor blade
**WARNING-IF YOU ARE NOT COMFORTABLE WITH WIRING GET SOMEONE WHO IS. I AM NOT AN ELECTRICIAN AN AM NOT RESPONSIBLE IF ANY WIRING IS DONE WRONG*
I began by wiring the sockets one-by-one. Make sure, if you are not familiar with wiring you look up the correct way. I typically use this image. It helps you find the correct wires and screws. (This is also helpful when you get to the plug.) There are also a lot of great videos on YouTube you can watch.
Once I had all the sockets wired, we had to attach them to the cluster body. This was tough since it gets very tight with all the wiring. I actually had to redo it since the first time I did the wires shorted. I knew this because when we plugged it in it POPPED and smoke came out the back. DO NOT touch the lamp when you are testing and plugging it in for this reason. If I had been touching the lamp when I plugged it in I could've been seriously injured.
Once we had all the wiring good and safely wrapped in electrical tape I attached cluster body and sockets to the body of the motor with the long all thread. This is a trial by error process finding the correct length and positioning. You don't want it too far into the cluster body that it pinches or cuts into the wires. I painted the all thread since you would see it through the body and I didn't want it to be noticeable.
Once that was in place, I wired the sockets onto the decorative round wire. I only used this where it would be seen (along the side of the body and for the actual plug). Once again, make sure you use your wire nuts and electrical tape properly and make sure that the wires are not touching one another (hot and neutral).
I then added the plug to the end. This was also fun since it was my first time using a separate plug I had to wire on. The plug I used also had the same size prongs so there wasn't a "hot and neutral" side which took me lots of searching online.
I also added a rotary switch which I enlisted the help of my Uncle to wire that since he is an electrician and I kept blowing the breaker so I insist on enlisting help here or finding a good how-to online.
When all the wiring was said and done, all I had left to do was reassemble it. I recovered the base with all new felt which I already had but you can find this at any craft store. This took two people to do FYI.
And voila...all done!!!