Add a light switch to a cloth cord
Fabric plug-in light cord sets have become very popular and readily available. The problem is that, just like the IKEA Sekond cord set, many cloth cord pendant light kits don’t come with an integrated switch, which can limit their usage. Adding a cord switch is easy and will take you under 15 minutes.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- In-line feed thru switch*
- Wire stripper/cutter
- Utility knife
- Electrical tape
*Note that they sell various types of in-line switches, but make sure you get a heavy duty switch to allow the thick cloth cord to pass through, like the Leviton HD feedthru Rocker switch.
Determine where to put the switch
The first step is to determine where on the cord you want to install the switch. Consider what the lamp is used for when positioning the switch. For a table lamp, you’ll want the cord close to the lamp base, while for a sconce, like this DIY copper pipe wall sconce, you may want the switch lower down to reach it while in bed, for example.
Peel back the outer fabric to reveal the wires
Once you’ve determined where you want the switch, you will need to make a cut into the outer fabric to expose the 2 wires inside. To do this, use a utility knife to score the cord all the way around (1,2). Be careful in this step not to cut the inner wires, only the outer fabric shell. Make a second incision about 1 inch from the first incision, again scoring all the way around the cord (3,4). Make a final incision, this time parallel to the cord between the 2 score marks (5, 6). You should now be able to peel back the fabric and sleeve. If not, make the incisions a bit deeper. Wrap the cut fabric with some electrical tape to prevent the fabric from fraying.
Cut the black wire
Now that the wires are exposed, sever the black wire in the middle using wire cutters. Using wire strippers, strip about 1/2″ from each end of the black wire.
Install the switch
Remove the 2 screws to remove switch cover plate. Place the wires as shown. Wrap the exposed black wires around the screws and tighten the screws so the wire is snug. Replace the cover and tighten the screws.
And voilà, let there be light.