Disney Crafts Archives

October 30, 2016

Make a Mickey Lamp Post

Gary Cruise banner

Have you ever visited Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground and admired those wonderful lamp posts with the Mickey Mouse ears?

Mickey Lamp decorated for Christmas

Me too!

Many of the campers at Fort Wilderness proudly display them at their campsites.

When I first saw one I was so taken with it that I asked the camper, “Where do you buy them?” I was disappointed when he replied, “You can’t buy them; you have to make them.”

But my wife Carol was determined to have one so she did a bit of online exploring and soon found a rudimentary parts list. I assembled the parts and started to build one. I was surprised at how easy it was!

That first one turned out quite well, so well in fact that several friends wanted me to make them one too. By the time I had made a few dozen lamps I had refined my technique.

Here are some instructions which you can use to make your own. Keep in mind I am not a certified electrician and am simply offering the "how to" that worked for me. Your mileage may vary; use caution, always, when building electrical lamps. Seek professional advice as needed.

After all, no true Disney fan should be without one! All of your friends and neighbors already think that you’re a crazy Disney nut . . . why not prove it to them by building one of these beauties!

All the parts you need are available at Home Depot. If your local store doesn’t carry all the parts you can easily order them online.

Mickey Lamp Parts

The parts to build a complete lamp (including the base and smaller lights to illuminate the ears) will cost you about $150.00 - $160.00

The lamps are weatherproof; we have had one on our backyard patio, fully exposed to the elements, for about 6 years. It has endured summer sun, heat and humidity as well as Canadian winter winds, ice and snow and it continues to shine brightly every night!

The key parts to build the head are:
Mickey Lamp Parts List

Step 1: Build Mickey’s head
To do this you simply drill two 3 ¼ inch holes in the 12 inch globe and glue the 6 inch globes into these holes. Begin with the 12 inch globe. Apply masking tape across the top of the globe along the center line in order to mark the centers for the holes needed to mount the smaller globes. Draw a line at the “top dead center” of the lamp and then measure down 4 inches on each side and make another mark. This will mark the centers for each ear hole; the centers should be 8 inches apart.

Mickey Lamp 12 inch globe

Drill a small lead hole for each ear and then use your electric drill and a 3 ¼ inch hole saw to cut the ear holes. (If you don’t have a 3 ¼” hole saw you can buy one [$15.97 at Home Depot] and the arbor needed to attach it to your electric drill. Any employee at Home Depot can find these tools for you.)

When you use the hole saw, keep it flat to the surface of the globe and keep it moving at all times. If you stop the saw in the middle of the cut it may jam and crack the globe. Use light pressure, don't press too hard.

Mickey Lamp 12 inch globe with holes

I have found that the hole saw melts it's way through as much as it cuts it's way through. Just rub around the edges with a file or sandpaper to remove any beads of melted acrylic and you're ready to glue!

Remove the tape and glue the smaller globes into these holes, clamp until the glue is set.

Mickey Lamp 12 inch globe with ear

I use LePage’s Flexible Plastic adhesive which is sold in Home Depot in Canada. In the USA look for Loctite, it’s the same product.

Mickey Lamp Glue

The Globe Fitter attaches to the bottom of the 12” globe and holds the light bulb. It is designed to clamp onto a standard 3 inch metal lamp post also sold at Home Depot.

Mickey Lamp Globe Fitter

Step 2: Illuminate the Ears
After building my first few lamps I decided to add smaller bulbs to illuminate the ears as well as the larger globe.

Begin with a piece of metal strapping, about 4 inches long. Bend about ¼ inch on each end so that the ends will create a “friction grip” on the flange of the 6” globe. That flange is now visible inside the 12” globe.

Make 2 of these pieces, one for each of Mickey’s ears.

Cut a length of outdoor Christmas lights so that you have 2 socket and enough cord on one end to attach a plug. Use pop-rivets or hot glue or tape to attach each socket to one of the metal straps you just made. Attach a plug which will plug into the new white socket (pictured below) inside the globe.

Mickey Lamp Ear lights
Your assembly should look like this.

Here is a detailed look at the light socket riveted to the strap.

Mickey Lamp Ear lights close up

Note the 90 degree bends in the ends of the strap which provide that “friction grip” on the flanges of Mickey’s ears, inside the larger globe. Bend them to provide a snug fit and just press them on.

Mickey Lamp 12 inch globe with fitter

Mickey Lamp 12 inch globe inside

Step 3: Attach Mickey’s head to a lamp post
You can order a 3 inch lamp post online from Home Depot (search #501817) for $58.90 but your local store probably carries them, along with the mounting bracket (search #502211) for $14.36.

If you are going to permanently mount your lamp on a patio or deck, these items are what you need. The globe fitter was designed to clamp directly onto that 3" post. Just wire it up, install it on your patio or deck and you are all done!

Congratulations, you have just built a Mickey Lamp – don’t you feel proud?

Step 4: Need a portable lamp?
If you are like me, and prefer to have your lamp more portable, the rest of these instructions are for you!

I need to have one that comes apart easily to store in the hatches underneath our RV. I use standard 2 inch ABS pipe for the post but PVC pipe is very similar and works well too. ABS or PVC is the pipe used by plumbers for household drains and it’s available in any building products store. It’s light, easy to work with and it doesn’t rattle in the RV. You need one piece of 2” ABS pipe about 5 feet long and one coupler (that is the piece plumbers us to glue two pieces of ABS pipe together). NOTE: You do not need any glue!

Let’s start by getting the globe fitter ready to attach to the ABS pipe. First step: Attach a standard plug to the globe fitter.

Mickey Lamp Globe Fitter with plug

Now you need to attach the ABS coupler to the globe fitter. Remove the three clamp screws from the fitter:

Mickey Lamp Globe Fitter remove screws

Insert the ABS coupler in the hole on the bottom of the globe fitter (it’s a very loose fit) and drill small lead holes through the holes where you removed the clamp screws.

Use 1 inch screws to attach the coupler to the globe fitter. You have simply swapped the small retaining screws for 1 inch screws which hold the ABS coupler tightly in place.

Mickey Lamp Globe Fitter with coupler

This piece will now slide on and off the ABS drain pipe which will be your post. This makes it easy to take the lamp apart and move it. Do not use glue!

Now drill a ½ inch hole about a foot from the bottom of the ABS pipe and feed a length of power cord up through the pole. Add a female receptacle to the top end of the cord and a male plug to the bottom.

Mickey Lamp post assembly

Plug the fitter into the female receptacle you just added to the top; slide the globe fitter onto your post and install a 25 watt frosted light bulb. Place the globe on the fitter and enjoy your lamp.

You will need to devise a base for the lamp. I use patio umbrella bases I buy at Wal-Mart or Christmas Tree Shops for about $25.00. You simply use a chisel or hacksaw to knock off the nut which holds the retaining bolt and the ABS post slides over the post on the umbrella base. I paint it black to match the post and secure it with two or more screws.

Mickey Lamp base

Be sure that your base is wide enough and heavy enough to prevent your lamp from blowing over. I would not use a base weighing less than 30 pounds! The cast metal or composite umbrella base has worked very well for me. Christmas tree bases, or those plastic umbrella bases you fill with water or sand are not very reliable. If your lamp blows over it will shatter!

Mickey Lamp Better Base
This is the base I have been using recently. It's composite material,
weighs 30 pounds and is available at Wal-Mart or Christmas Tree Shops.

Would you like to add a cross-bar to the post? A place to hang a flag, pennant or sign? That's very easy to do . . . just cut a length of 3/4" dowel to the length you want and drill a 3/4" hole through the ABS post. Be very careful to keep the holes exactly even so that your cross-bar will be level. Use a drill press if you can, or measure very carefully!

Slide the dowel through the two holes and add some decorative end caps. I use wooden drawer pulls from Home Depot, the kind you find on the drawers in your kitchen cupboards. Just screw one on each end of the dowel to add the finishing touch to your cross-bar.

Some ingenious folks have used unique things to make a heavy base for their lamps. My favorite so far is an old farmer’s milk can painted in Mickey’s colors, red, black and yellow. It looks great!

Our friend Al made a pair of decorative Mickey coloured boxes to support his two Mickey lamps. This box represents Mickey, the other has smaller polka-dots and more of them. It holds the Minnie lamp. The boxes are a nice personal touch to make his lamps very elegant and distinctive!

Al's Mickey Lamp With Custom  Base

Building your own Mickey lamp is fun but you will soon find that your fun has just begun. Think of the great times you're going to have decorating Mickey for the seasons!




Use different coloured bulbs, use strings of lights, add pennants and banners, masks, hats, ribbons . . .

So what are you waiting for? Get busy building your very own Mickey lamp!

April 3, 2016

Disney Scrapbooking

Gary Cruise banner

Carol loves to create scrapbooks filled with all of our special Disney memories . . . or does she?

Every time we take a Disney trip she picks up a blank scrapbook, a package or two of “scrapping accessories” and gathers every bit of paper she can find. By the time we get home she has brochures, maps, ticket stubs, colourful paper, Disney themed picture frames, bags of embellishments and many other little bits and pieces which will showcase our magnificent story.

All of this stuff is packed into a bag or a folder and then stored in a big plastic bin . . . waiting until she starts the scrapbook.

That’s where the problem arises . . . the starting! You see, scrapbooking moves up and down on Carol's priority list, but it never hits the top of the list!

We now have two big tote-bins full of those carefully saved memories. In those two bins are more than thirty bags and folders, possibly as many as fifty.

Bags and folders full of paper

I'm afraid that counting the "un-scrapped" trips wouldn't motivate her . . . she just cannot find the right time to start scrapping!

The last scrapbook she completed covered our Panama Canal cruise on the Disney Wonder in January 2011. My sweet scrapper is seriously behind and each year she loses more ground!

It has become a running joke with us, I tease her quite a bit about her “someday I’ll scrap” bags . . . but of course I dutifully pick up every bit of paper I can find . . . everything in duplicate in case she has to cut one of them up!

Empty Scrapbooks
The scrapbooks on the bottom shelf are all empty . . . waiting to be filled!

Yes, we’re both retired and we have all the time in the world, but the time for scrapping just never seems to be there. Other priorities seem to pop up!

Then, just a month or two ago, fate intervened. Our friend Carrie also loves Disney and she's a die-hard scrapper. She and Carol decided it was time for a weekend scrap-a-thon! On the appointed day Carrie loaded up her car, bright and early, and drove east for two hours. She pulled in at 9:30 and started unpacking her trunk.

Wow! This girl has a load of “stuff”! She brought a Cricut, a die cutter, boxes and bins full of paper, embellishments, knives, pens, adhesives and a partridge in a pear tree.

Cricut and Die cutter
Carrie's Cricut and Die Cutter


Paper stock

Tool carousel
A carousel full of tools

The scrap-a-ganza took place in Carol’s Disney room! We set up two tables . . . there wasn’t enough room . . . so we set up a few folding TV tables . . . still not enough. The materials overflowed, filling the coffee table, TV stand, couch, love-seat and a few chairs!

Then they spent an hour strategizing . . . I thought it was just another stall tactic, but they explained to me how important it is to get that first page “just right”!

By 10:30 Carrie and Carol were both in action . . . working on an April 2011 cruise on the Disney Wonder. The ship was re-positioning from Los Angeles to Vancouver and it remains one of our favourite cruises ever!

The empty books
The book on the left is filled with our Panama cruise pictures.
The middle book is waiting for the re-positioning cruise.
The book on the right will eventually showcase our Alaska cruise.

They had that first page pretty much finished when I called them for lunch, then they scurried off to get right back at it. They were determined; they were inspired!

The first page

I poked my head in a few times during the afternoon to see what was going on. I was astounded as I watched the Cricut work, moving the paper back and forth again and again as it cut out little letters on coloured paper. It’s an interesting piece of technology and it sure does a nice job!

A finished page

At one point I said, “Hey, what’s going on? Those are the same pictures you were working with two hours ago!” I was invited to leave!

They took a break for dinner then quickly re-immersed themselves . . . vicariously reliving our fabulous two-day stop in San Francisco. I watched some TV, then popped in to say goodnight at 11:00 p.m. The ladies laboured on into the wee small hours!

Sunday morning we all lingered over a pot of coffee and a few muffins, then Carrie and Carol dove in again! Victoria, British Columbia and Butchart Gardens were on the morning’s agenda and they couldn’t wait to get started! Carol loves flowers and she had plenty of great photos from our stop at that world famous destination!

Busy hands

By the time they broke for lunch the ladies had finished documenting our shore excursion on Vancouver Island and our ship was steaming toward the mainland!

The re-positioning cruise was at an end when the Disney Wonder reached the cruise terminal in Vancouver. Even though we were staying aboard to do a back-to-back cruise to Alaska we left the ship for a few hours and took a self-guided tour at Stanley Park. Not long after lunch the pictures from that excursion were framed, embellished and finding their way onto the pages!

Stanley Park

By 2:30 Sunday afternoon it was Fait Accompli . . . the scrapbook was finished. Here are some sample pages; don’t you think they did a magnificent job?

Sample pages
(Click on the image to see a larger version)

It was a very productive weekend . . . but there are still plenty of trips left un-scrapbooked!

Will Carol find the motivation to finish them on her own . . . or will Carrie have to come back and crack her whip a few more times?
Return to Blog Central

About Disney Crafts

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to All Ears® Guest Blog in the Disney Crafts category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Disney Collectibles is the previous category.

Disney Cruise Line is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.