Make Your Own Unique, Artful, and Kooky Lighting Fixtures

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and "lazy person's memoir," called Borg Like Me.

3989 Articles

By Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and "lazy person's memoir," called Borg Like Me.

3989 Articles

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lightFix_5[via andersdenken.at]

There’s a booming business on Etsy and eBay for selling upcycled shabby chic and industrial pendant lighting fixtures and table lamps. Why? Because many of these lights look so darn wonderful. They instantly add a very strong and unique presence to a room. And because they are also so dog-simple to make.

For most of these projects, basically you need whatever the dome or the structure is that you’re going to use for your lamp. And you need a lighting kit of a cord, bulb fixture, and associated hardware. You can get such kits, for both pendant and table lamps at any hardware/home store. Depending on your design, you may also need a ceiling canopy, the part of the lamp that hides the cord going into the ceiling.

Here are some lamp designs for inspiration. Many of these and other lamp conversions found on Pinterest, Imgur, and elsewhere include no more information than the image itself. But these really aren’t projects that require much in the way of step-by-step instruction. You should be able to easily figure it out on your own.

lightFix_1This is one of my favorites of the lot, a pendant light made from an old enamel pot lid.

cratewood-light-600x418Some pieces of crate wood are all you need to hide a plain fixture in a pleasing rustic way.

lightFix_4Old milk cans have such character, they would look amazing as lighting in a country-style kitchen.

lightFix_6Wooden box lamps made from old shutters, anyone? Via Imgur.

lightFix_7When thinking about ideas for creating your own custom lighting, if you have access to a 3D printer, don’t forget to think about it as a potential design tool. As you can see in this profile of an artist who designs amazing 3D printed lamps, varying the depth of the print can create dramatic light patterns.

lightFix_9This project on The Design Pages shows you how to create a twine-ball lamp.

In this Make: video, Meg Allan Cole shows you how to make an Industrial-style wire cage pendant lamp on the cheap.

actionLamp_3For an easy and fun project for a kid’s room, some plastic action figures and a can of spray paint can create a fun and funky desk lamp.

lightFix_8Pin-poked shades add a very magical feel to a room. It’s a time-consuming process, but the results are worth it. Here’s a tutorial on how it’s done.

To find hundreds of other ideas for upcycled pendant and table lamps, just do a search on sites like Pinterest, Instructables, and Etsy.

If you’ve made any cool, unusual upcycled lamps yourself, we’d love to hear about them. Please share in the comments and include photos, if possible.