When I discovered a few years ago how easy it is to re-wire a lamp, I soon progressed to making lamps out of cool objects I found at flea markets and antique shops--like the tripod above (see here for instructions). Since starting my own business, I've created a small collection of one-of-a-kind lamps out of everything from vintage tins to industrial molds. I have two main criteria for deciding if an object will make the transition: I have to be able to drill a hole large enough to fit a lamp pipe and then be able to tighten a nut at the base that doesn't compromise the lamp's balance (or be able to adjust the base to support the hardware and electrical cord). Clear cords are the priciest but they're guaranteed not to be an eyesore.
Each piece presents its own unique set of challenges, some of which can't be foreseen until the work has started. Sometimes the trickiest part of the project is tracking down a lampshade that complements the base. Most often, I choose simple shades that don't compete with the object base. But I will occasionally recover an existing shade with fabric if I can't find what I want in the marketplace. Joann carries self adhesive lampshades that take the guess work out of that task. Overhead light serves a purpose, but a great lamp serves style and ambiance.
Wood vase turned upside down.
Vintage wallpaper printing roller.
Stack of vintage books (drilling holes through paper requires space to make a mess).
A vintage coffee tin.
A wood spool with a metal dry measure shade (requires low-energy bulbs to keep it from over-heating).