Decoratiing DIY Tutorials

Let There Be Light

April 22, 2015

Last week I teased you all with this photo:

light fixture playroom (1 of 1)

I didn’t ever tell you what it is, did I? Well, before I tell you what it is, let me tell you what it was. It was something I stumbled upon at Hobby Lobby. I suppose it was intended be a sort of decorative hanging fixture. When I saw it, however, I saw a light fixture. A little more back story: Michael didn’t want to keep the current light fixture in the office-soon-to-be-playroom, because he was worried it would get broken. I thought it would be fine as long as we raised the pendants. I finally conceded after realizing we could [possibly] use that light fixture somewhere else. Well, after that, I got it in my head that I wanted a curvy, multifaceted-like fixture. This hanging fixture fit the bill. It wasn’t exactly what I had in mind, but it was marked 50% off from $30, so I decided to take the chance on it. Michael hated it.

m holding  light fixture up

He didn’t say he hated it. He said he didn’t like it, but I knew he meant he really didn’t like it. He couldn’t see past the gold. I didn’t mind the gold; I know it’s a very hip thing at the moment. However, gold just wasn’t right for this room. I figured he would change his mind once I painted it glossy black. He did – a little.

painted fixture

But even before it was painted, I was trying to figure out how to wire it. There was a bolt at the top joining the three separate pieces together. I figured if I could remove the bolt then I could run the wire through there. Plan B was to wrap the cord around the small handle at the top. The bolt was soldered on there, so it wasn’t just going to unscrew. First, I tried drilling a hole through the bolt with our diamond tipped, masonry drill bit; it barely made a dent. There was an o-ring near the top holding the bolt in place. I figured if I could get that off, then the whole thing would come off. The o-ring was also soldered, however. I tried prying it off with wire cutters and pliers, but that didn’t work. I have a general knowledge of how soldering works, so I figured if I could heat it, it just might come off. In lieu of a soldering iron, I used a lighter. I was able to pull part of the o-ring off, but not all of it.

light fixture tutorial

I fought with it here and there for a few days. With a little brute strength I was able to pull more of the o-ring off, but not enough to take the bolt out. After some wiggling, I was able to push the bolt up enough to be able to use the hack saw on it, this is what finally worked. With the bolt out, I had a clear path to run the wire.

bolt removed from fixture

I picked up a pendant light cord set from Ikea. It was $5, but we had a store credit, so it was actually free. $5 is still pretty awesome, even if you don’t have a store credit. The cord set had a plug at the end of it, but we wanted to hardwire it to the ceiling, so the plug had to go. I used wire cutters to cut the plug off and strip the wires.

wiring light fixture for the playroom

I’m not sure why, but I really enjoy cutting and stripping wire. I find it very relaxing… Anyway! I was thankful that the cord fit through the opening. Although, now I was faced with how to keep the light where I wanted it. I didn’t want it flush with the top portion of the fixture. I wanted it to be centered within the fixture, but if there was nothing supporting it, it would slip right to the top when we hung it. I tried adding washers to the cord, but the cord was smaller than the washers, so it spilled right on through.

Remember that bolt that I removed? I almost threw it away, but I kept it to take pictures for this post. Am I ever glad that I did! Most of it was actually hollow. Don’t ask me how, but I realized that I could use it to stabilize the cord. I used our pipe cutters to cut off the section that still had the bolt on it.  Pipe cutters have a blade that cuts through metal that you tighten as you you turn it until it cuts through your pipe – or in my case, my bolt + rod thingy.

cutting bolt process

I slipped the a washer on the cord, then the rod, then another washer (to stop the rod from receding into the fixture), and finally the end of the cord through the fixture. It worked. Hallelujah!


Another happy accident was using a smaller sized bulb. This bulb size is intended for ceiling fans, but it just so happened to be in the lamp that was next to me when Michael and I were discussing what kind of bulb to use. It wasn’t my intention to use it. I just wanted to see what any bulb would look like in there, but both Michael and I immediately loved it.

finished fixture

You’ll have to come back Thursday to see what it looks like in the room. We haven’t actually hung it yet. Barring any unforeseen catastrophe, we should have it hung  by Thursday. In the meantime, here is the cost breakdown:

Fixture: $15
Spray Paint: Free (leftover)
Pendant Cord Kit: Free (store credit, but usually $5)
Washers / Small Rod: Free (leftover / upcycled)
Ceiling Canopy: $6.58
Bulb: Free
TOTAL: $21.58

I don’t want to brag, but less than $30 for a new light fixture?! I am super proud and amazed! And Michael loves it now. You get a high five! You get a high five! You get a high five! Hopefully, I’m not jinxing myself…

diy light fixture on the cheap from here-lately

You Might Also Like


  • Reply Annie April 28, 2015 at 12:52 pm

    Awesome job!!!!

    • Reply Blair April 28, 2015 at 2:28 pm

      Thank you, Annie!

    Leave a Reply