Have you ever
visited Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort and Campground and admired those
wonderful lamp posts with the Mickey Mouse ears? Me too! Many of the campers
at Fort Wilderness proudly display them at their campsites.
They stand about six-and-a-half feet tall and they look awesome!
When I fist saw one I was so taken with it that I asked the camper, “Where
do you buy them?”
I was disappointed when he grinned and said, “You can’t buy them; you
have to make them.”
But my wife Carol was determined to have one for our campsite so she did a
bit of online exploring and soon found a list of the basic parts required to
build a lamp.
It wasn't long before I had all the parts and I started to work on my very
first Mickey Lamp!
I was surprised at how easy it was to build!
It turned out quite well. So well in fact that several friends wanted me to
make them lamps too.
I have now made more than fifty lamps and in the process I have refined my
Here are some instructions which you can use to make your own lamp.
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.
The parts to build a complete lamp (including the base and smaller lights to
illuminate the ears) will cost you about $250.
Keep in mind I am not a certified or trained electrician and I am simply
offering the "how to" that worked for me. Use caution, always, when building
electrical lamps. Seek professional advice as needed.
key parts are:
Westinghouse 12” White Acrylic Globe (NO neck flange)
Westinghouse 6” Polyethylene Globe
(WITH neck flange)
Newport Coastal White Post Top Globe Fitter
online prices as of January 28, 2019 - If you can find these parts in your
local store the price may be a bit lower.
All those comments above, about the parts to build your lamp, are meant for
American residents. If you are Canadian, like me, you will probably
not find the acrylic globes or the globe fitters in your Canadian
Home Depot store. I don't know why, but most stores in Canada do not
carry them. Fortunately I live close to the border and I can pick up
the parts I need at the closest Home Depot store in the USA. All pricing is in US Dollars.
If you live in Canada you might be able to find a kit which includes the 12"
Acrylic Globe and the Globe Fitter on Amazon.ca. Search for 'Sunlite
Note - the kit does not include the
2 6" Globes. They are sometimes available on Amazon.ca or E-Bay.
(Be sure to buy 6" globes WITH a flange and a 12" globe WITHOUT a flange)
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
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.
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 [about $16.00 at Home Depot]
and the mandrel 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.
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.
LePage’s Flexible Plastic adhesive which is sold in Home Depot in Canada.
In the USA look for Loctite, it’s the same product.
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.
If you already have a lamp post in your front yard it is probably 3"
diameter . . . that's the standard size . . . and this fitter will easily
clamp on to it.
Step 2: Illuminate the Ears
I think it's very important to add smaller bulbs to illuminate the ears as well
as the larger globe. It really adds to the effect of the lamp.
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 which is now visible
inside the 12” globe. Test it by sliding it onto the flange of the 6"
globe (see the picture below) and adjust the length as necessary. It
should be a snug fit but it needs to slide easily so you can replace the
2 of these pieces, one for each of Mickey’s ears.
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 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 at
right) inside the globe.
assembly should look like picture on the left.
Here is a detailed look at the light socket riveted to
the strap. Note the 90 degree
bends in the ends of the strap which provide a “friction grip” on the
flanges of Mickey’s ears, inside the larger globe.Bend them to provide a snug fit and just slide them on.
If your light socket doesn't have a little flange to hold
a pop-rivet, simply use a hot-glue gun to attach the metal strap to the
light socket. Cover the base of the socket with hot glue and press the
metal bracket into the glue. Once it has cooled and hardened, add
another layer of glue across the top to hold it firmly together.
When I use a hot-glue gun I also wrap
the glued connection with electrical tape to strengthen the joint.
Inside the 12" globe - the strap
just slides onto the flange of the 6" globe.
Plug the string of smaller
lights into the globe fitter.
Attach Mickey’s head to a lamp post
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. Just wire it up,
install it on your patio or deck and you are all done!
you have just built a Mickey Lamp – don’t you feel proud?
Step 4: Do you 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 under 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 or PVC pipe about 5 feet long and one coupler
(that is the piece plumbers us to glue two pieces of ABS or PVC pipe
NOTE: You do not need any glue!
by getting the globe fitter ready to attach to the ABS pipe. First step:
Attach a standard plug to the globe fitter.
Now you need to attach the ABS coupler to the globe
fitter. Remove the three clamp screws from the fitter:
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.
This piece will now slide on and off the ABS or PVC 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.
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 like to use a cast metal base for a patio umbrella (WalMart –
about $20 - $25). You simply use a chisel or hacksaw to knock off the nut
which holds the retaining bolt and the ABS post will slide right over top of the post on the
umbrella base. I paint it black to match the post, then drill through
the post and the base to secure it with two
long bolts and wing nuts.
Be sure that your base weighs
20 - 30 pounds or more. It needs to be heavy enough to prevent
your lamp from blowing over. The umbrella base has worked very well for me.
Christmas tree bases are
usually not heavy enough and are not very reliable.
I cannot stress it enough - if your lamp is on a portable
base your biggest enemy is wind!
Be sure to use a heavy base!
Would you like to
add a cross-bar to the post? A place to hand a flag, pennant or sign?
That's very easy to do . . . just cut a length of dowel (or a replacement
broom handle) to the length you want and drill an appropriately sized hole
through the ABS post.
I use 3/4" dowel. 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
lamp. My favorite so far is an old farmer’s milk can painted in
Mickey’s colors, red, black and yellow. It looks great!
A custom-built base for Mickey!
One of my completed lamps.
If you are ordering online from Home Depot, here are those numbers and
descriptions again, to help you locate what you need:
Online order –
Westinghouse 12” White Acrylic Globe $38.28
Online order –
Westinghouse 6” Polyethylene Globe
with 3 in. fitter $12.69
Online order –
Coastal White Post Top Globe Fitter $9.97
3” Steel Lamp
Online order – Item #202636904
Design House Black Lamp Post with Cross Arm $42.96
Online order – Item #
Design House Black Outdoor Lantern Pier Base $11.17
Shipping is usually
free if your order exceeds $45.00
ENJOY MAKING YOURS!
Some people keep their Mickey lamp outdoors!
proudly display him inside!
Wrap the post with lights and add a mask!
They look great after dark!
Change the bulbs to change colors!
A Mickey lamp is 'outdoor safe' and can stand
up to Canada's worst winter weather!
Here's a YouTube video
our friends Cheryl and Katie produced for their vlog site after they watched me make a
I hope their video will help you put your Mickey lamp together!