If you want to be sure that your Halloween makeup or special effects look perfect, you'll need good lighting. If your overhead light just doesn't do the trick, give yourself a treat and install a lighted wall mirror. It's relatively simple to power a hard wired (no plug) wall mirror from your existing overhead light if you can use a few simple tools and are not afraid of electrical work.
What you will need:
A lighted mirror
Check out different types of mirrors before you decide to buy. Some have bare bulbs for brighter, but sometimes glaring light, while others may have bulbs concealed behind a translucent cover for a less glaring but muted light source.
Check the circuit breaker that controls power to the overhead light. If it is a fifteen amp line, the breaker will be stamped "15" and you will require a fourteen gauge three wire sheath. A twenty amp line will require at least a thicker twelve gauge three wire sheath.
You will only need a few meters of wire for this project. Measure the distance from the overhead light to the area of the ceiling above the planned location of your lighted mirror, then down to the actual location. Add one meter of length to the sum of these two measurements.
Wire nuts and electrical tape
Used to secure wire connections, buy an assorted bag of wire nuts and a small roll of electrical tape.
Wire cutter/ stripper tool
You will need a Philips head bit and a fifteen millimeter reduced shank drill bit.
Removing the overhead light from the ceiling
Turn on the overhead light and then turn off the circuit breaker that controls the flow of power to the light. this will ensure that you've chosen the correct breaker when the light goes out.
Using your Philips head drill bit, remove the two screws that secure the light to the bracket inside the ceiling. The light fixture will drop and hang by the wires, so support it and lower it slowly. This will also help to keep dust and debris from falling into your eyes.
You will see two sets of connected wires. One set will connect power wires from the ceiling to the light switch. The second set will connect the light switch to the light. if you want the lighted mirror to be controlled by the light switch, choose the second set of wires that is connected to the light fixture.
Remove the black electrical tape and the wire nuts (they look like toothpaste tube caps) from the ends of the connected wires. Leave the other set of wires intact (from the ceiling to the light switch).
Installing and wiring your lighted mirror.
Place the mirror against the wall in the desired location and mark the spot on the wall where the connecting wires protrude in the back. Remove the mirror and drill a fifteen millimeter hole for the new wiring to go through. If you hit a wall stud, drill a hole several centimeters to the side of the first hole. the mirror will cover the first hole if you don't want to patch it right away.
Begin to feed the wire sheath through the hole in the ceiling in the direction of the new mirror. You may need to wiggle it or retract it slightly to go over mall obstructions and down the wall to your pre-drilled hole. When you can see the wire sheath through the hole, pull it through.
Using the cutter/stripper tool, strip twenty millimeters of wire from each of the three wires in the wire sheath. Place each wire into the numbered slot in the handle (12 or 14 according to the gauge used), close the blades, and pull the wire through to strip the insulation.
Cut the wire at the overhead light location and strip the insulation from each wire as before. You will then connect the new wires to the exposed wires at the overhead light. Twist the black wire onto the existing black wires, the white wire onto the existing white wires, and connect the green nor copper wire to the grounding screw on the light fixture to which the existing grounding wires are attached.
Twist a wire nut onto each set of twisted bare wires until it is snug, then wrap the open end of the wire nut with several layers of electrical tape. You can then reattach the light fixture back onto the ceiling with the two connection screws.
Connect the mirror wires to the new wires in the same color pattern, and secure them in the same manner with wire nuts and electrical tape. Screw the mirror onto the wall with the screws ( and drywall anchors if needed) provided.
Turn on the breaker and you're finished. Your mirror will be controlled by the light switch as well as any built-in switch on the lighted mirror. For more information, contact a a local electrician like PRO-FX Services Inc.