How to Build Handcrafted Pendant Lights
Abraham Hopkins of Design on a Dime demonstrates how to make pendant lights from scratch.
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Materials and Tools:
four sheets of decorative paper or wrapping paper
four sheets of white styrene (to use as a plastic liner)
medium-density fiberboard (MDF)
paint (Behr's Nature Retreat, 730F-5)
four light cord kits
four 13-watt energy-saver compact twist bulbs
5/16" aluminum tubing
two extension cords
1. Use a pencil to draw a cone shape onto each piece of decorative paper. Use scissors to cut out the shape and use as a template for the other cones. Laminate the paper cutouts, or take them to a photocopy mart to have them laminated, as Hopkins did.
2. Using the same paper cone template, trace and cut four plastic liners out of the white styrene. Roll the laminated decorative paper into cones and place over the plastic liners, then glue together with welding glue (figure A). Hopkins used welding glue because it can take the heat of a lamp. The low-watt bulbs help reduce heat as well.
3. Use a jig saw to cut two oval shapes out of MDF to use as mounting bases for the ceiling. Drill two holes in each, making sure they are far enough apart that the two lamps won't bump against each other, once hanging.
4. Cut two C-shaped brackets out of the leftover one-inch-thick MDF. The brackets give a one-inch gap between the light base and the ceiling, leaving room for the electrical cord that will connect directly to the lights.
5. Sand and paint both brackets and mounting bases for the lights. Hopkins used leftover paint from the room's walls.
6. Sever the plug end of the purchased cord sets using wire-stripper pliers for clean cut. Put the energy-saving bulb in place and then slide lampshades down over cord sets (figure B).
7. Thread the cords through the aluminum tubing. Insert the tubing into pre-drilled mounting base (figure C).
8. Attach the painted bracket cut from MDF to the ceiling with wood glue and then secure with a nail gun. Attach an extension cord to the ceiling and along the wall with a staple gun (figure D) and then cut the adaptor end with the wire-stripper pliers.
9. Marry the raw end of the cord kit onto the raw end of the newly cut extension cord; white wires (positive) to white and black wires (negative) to black. Secure the twisted wires with electrical tape.
10. Secure the mounting base to the bracket with wood glue and a nail gun. Repeat process three times for a total of four pendant lights.
Valerie Tremelat of Minneapolis is a law clerk by day but she loves to make jewelry.