When we built our house, we decided to forego the builders choice ceiling fixtures in the bedrooms and choose our own after we were moved in. Fast forward 3 years later and the kids all still have bare light bulbs on their ceilings. What can I say, I’m the world’s slowest decorator. But today, we’re tackling the light fixture in Sam’s room with a DIY pendant light we made out of a metal wire container found on the clearance rack.
I recently finished Sam’s bedroom, with the exception of the light fixture. I did a vintage airplane theme for his room (I’ll be sharing it with you next week!), and I wanted something that felt a little industrial and a bit like it could be found in an Air Force barracks.
Everything I found that I liked was around $100 and I didn’t want to spend that much. Then last week Vic and I were in Hobby Lobby and I saw this metal wire container on the clearance rack for $6.00. The base of the container is thin metal, and I figured I could easily cut a hole in the bottom and make a ceiling fixture out of it.
Disclaimer: I’m not an electrician by any stretch, and this tutorial is simply to show you how I did this project. If you’re not comfortable doing this type of project on your own, consult a professional electrician. DIY pendants are cool, burning your house down is not.
First, I removed the existing ceiling socket. Removing and replacing the socket is pretty simple. If you’re not sure how to remove the socket, this video might help.
Originally, I thought I’d just cut holes in the container, and have it sit flush against the ceiling using the existing socket under the container. To make the large center hole, I drilled several holes with a power drill and used tin snips to cut until I had the right size hole. After I had already cut 3 holes in the container, I decided to change directions and make it a pendant fixture. I did this for a few reasons. Mostly because I was having a hard time getting the wires back in place with the container right against the ceiling, and secondly because I thought it would look a little nicer as a pendant.
So I headed to Home Depot and purchased a pendant light kit for $16.00. Fortunately the hole I had already cut in the bottom of the container was small enough to work with the pendant kit. Had the hole been too big, I probably would have used a ceiling plate or a large washer to cover part of the hole.
(*Note: If you can’t or don’t want to rewire, they had another pendant kit just like this but with one big difference. Instead of having to rewire the top, you simply screw it into the existing socket just like a light bulb. Perfect for renters or people who really don’t want to mess with the existing wiring! And it was only $3 more. So you can still make your own custom lighting and when it’s time to move, just unscrew it and screw the light bulb back in. No mess, no damage.)
Putting the pendant light together was really simple. The length of the cord can be adjusted simply by unscrewing the top nut and feeding the cord up through the hole. Any excess cord will lay inside of the ceiling plate up against the ceiling.
The bottom of the pendant (where the light bulb goes) has a threaded piece that fits into the hole, while a larger piece on top holds it in place. A plastic nut screws in under the container to hold it in place. It’s possible to use any type of container to fit on this pendant kit, as long as you’re able to make the hole the correct size. Too small and you won’t be able to feed the light bulb portion through, too big and the nut won’t hold it in place.
Then I simply rewired it back to the ceiling. The little “No. 1” tag is just a paper tag that’s held on with twist ties. The entire project cost me less than $25 and about 30 minutes of my time. It’s got my head swimming with other random objects that could be used for DIY light fixtures…bowls, bird cages, I even found a really cool small wire garbage can that would make a neat pendant light. And have you seen this project where they cut an old globe in half and made a pendant out of it? Or this one using an old exhaust fan? The possibilities are endless.
You can see the rest of Sam’s vintage airplane bedroom here!
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