Tuesday, May 11, 2010

DIY drum shade chandelier

Well, if you follow me on Twitter, you know this project has been a doozy. It started with my need for more light in our office/den. I mentioned last week that part of my issue with this space is it’s so dark.

I talked to our electrician a while back about installing an overhead light in this room. Because of the way the beams run in the ceiling, it would be a major project I’m not willing to mess with right now – AND it would be costly.

Thrifty is my name. Not costly.

So I considered a couple options for a ceiling light in the room and nothing had panned out. Then an idea hit a couple weeks ago, and while shopping at HomeGoods over the weekend, I found a perfect, huge, beautiful drum shade:

drum shade

I’m pretty much obsessed with drum shades lately. They’re all over our house now. This one was exactly what I needed for my DIY light fixture…and it was only $13! Booyahhhh!

I’ve seen this project in numerous magazines and every time they give directions, they say to find a light kit – I’ve seen them on TV so I knew what I was looking for. But when I got to Lowe’s there was no “light kit” to be found. There were smaller versions for chandelier-type bulbs, but I needed something I could run through the top of my drum shade. (More on that later.)

Luck was on my side that day at Lowe’s because very knowledgeable Lowe’s Guy was there to help me out…and he didn’t look at me like I had two heads when I described what I wanted to do.

We clicked, yo.

Guy helped me pick out the parts I needed, and when I got home to put them together I was VERY pleasantly surprised at how fast and easy it was to put them together! There’s a large BUT coming, so stay with me here…

Most of what I needed was in the lamp part section at Lowe’s. The first thing you need is a cord with a plug at the end. I forgot to take a picture of the package, but it looks exactly like this:

The second piece to the puzzle is the socket:

And the third was a loop:


You need to believe me when I say this is EASY to do. I’m pretty experienced with electrical work and I’m not just saying it. If you have all the parts in front of you, it will quite literally take you ten minutes to put this together. I do not lie!

First step is to take the top off the socket, and screw the piece above into the top of the socket, then put it through the middle of the lamp shade bracket, then screw the loop onto it on top:

023Are you with me? It’s easy! Promise.

Then take your cord, with the open ends, and put it down through the pieces I just mentioned:


Next, you’ll want to separate the two wires a bit. Sometimes you can just pull them apart, sometimes you’ll need a wire cutter to cut down the middle:

The directions for the cord will show you how to tie it into a “knot” – I can’t remember what it’s called, but it’s very clear how to do it, and it takes a minute. You can see it here, but on the directions it’s much easier to follow:

034Then follow the directions – one wire is smooth. Wrap that around the screw it says to, then tighten the screw. One wire is ribbed – wrap that around the screw it says to and tighten that one.

If you’ve ever installed a light fixture it’s just like that. If you haven’t, don’t be sceered. I SWEAR TO YOU IT’S EASY!!  ;)

When you are done, slide the parts of the socket back together, put in your light bulb, and plug it in!


Hear a pop and see sparks!

Ummm…I’ve totally lost all of you who were going to try this, haven’t I?  :)

I was so annoyed. I know how to do this stuff peeps, and I did it right. But I don’t mess around with electrical stuff, so I took it all apart, and took the socket back to Lowe’s.

Can you say “GAH?!”

I was praying Nice Lowe’s Guy was still there, and I actually trolled the aisles for a few minutes, hoping I would find him…and then I almost smacked the cart right into him! Yippee!

He looked at the socket we picked out and realized the problem – it had too many connections on it. There was a third screw (you only need two) that was supposed to be connected to something. He mentioned it was meant for a lamp that has two light sources or something like that. I have no idea what that means, but I nodded my head like I did.

Soooo…he took me to the electrical aisle, where we found a much simpler socket:

It was much cheaper than the first socket – I think $3? And it only had two screws inside – one for the smooth wire, one for the ribbed wire. You can find it at the end of the electrical aisle – it’s in a set of bins you pull out and it was wrapped in plastic.

It worked!! And all was right with the world again. Thankyouverymuch.

I covered the drum shade with some of my lovely fabric for the new office:


And because this project was doomed to be a total science fair, I cut the fabric wrong TWICE to cover the thing. I had to end up using two pieces to get it covered:


I just folded over the raw edges and used hot glue to get them down on both sides of the shade.

I always forget that you can see areas like that when you turn on the light:


But I was about over it by then so I say who the heck cares? NOT ME!  :)

Can I tell you how much I adore this fabric?:


Please ignore the wall color. It’s not staying for long:


Think light, bright and fab.  :)

I always cover the inside edges with ribbon:


It finishes it off and covers the ragged edges you’d see with the light on:

DIY drum shade chandelierEven though this is super lightweight, I didn’t want the wires to be the only thing holding it up. So I took some chain from an old fixture and hooked it to the loop I showed you above, then hung it on the hook in the ceiling. (It takes the weight off the electrical cord.)

Because I have to swag this over a bit, I wanted to cover the cord and chain. I took some of the fabric I bought for this room redo and cut a couple of strips. Then I just hot glued it together to make a cord cover:

   DIY cord cover

I put the cord through all of it and scrunched it a bit and it looks fab!

For now I took the cord up behind the drapes, down to a plug:


I bought a switch to add to the cord so I can just leave it plugged in and turn it on easily, but I may just see if our electrician can run a light switch up from the outlet so I can use that instead.

I LOVE IT. It hangs directly over the desk, which is getting a redo as well. It's a perfect source of overhead light -- what I was wanting so badly in this space.

And being purdy sure doesn’t hurt!:

Sigh. Lurve.

Total cost for this DIY light fixture was $35:

- $13 for the shade (HomeGoods)

- $12 for 2/3 yards fabric (I got extra for this project)

- $5 for the cord with plug

- $3 for the socket

- $2 for the loop set (comes with two)

That’s $35 right? I was never good at math. Covering lamp shades I’m OK at. Math, no.

I hope I didn’t make this seem harder than it is – it really will take you a VERY short time to put it together. I can guarantee it will take longer to cover the shade with fabric than it will take to put the fixture together.

Cross my heart, swear on my pretty new drum chandelier.

So, you think you could do this one? I bet you could!  ;) Let me know if you try!

P.S. To see my DIY Ballard Designs inspired pendant light, go here.


Thanks to my latest advertiser!:



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