Ever since posting about cage lights last spring, I have been trying to come up with a DIY version suitable for my own home. Like many readers, my husband was not as gung-ho as I was about shelling out $100 + on an old wire bare bulb light, and I am almost always up for trying to make old things into something new. So, a project was born!
As I mentioned in my post on my before, during, and after evolving living room, my husband and I had agreed that we wouldn't spend any money on the room unless it was for something we both really liked. Since we already had one exposed bulb industrial style light in the room, my husband was worried that the room might feel too cold with another one, when we both wanted it to feel relaxed, natural, and somewhat homespun.
Meanwhile, we both liked a surveyor tripod lamp base that I had found, but finding a suitable lamp shade proved more difficult. The usual drum shade made it look too bulky for its spot in front of the window, so I began to think about other solutions.
Then one day as I was replanting our hanging baskets, I realized that the wire planter form might be the solution. Although my husband was not so convinced, he didn't object, seeing as we could easily reuse it for its original purpose if my idea failed.
Vintage Metal Hanging Cage Lamp available through several vendors such as Mothology and Hudson Goods and ranging in price between $184- $245.
My goal was to put my own spin on the industrial concept, while tying it into the feeling of our living room, using only materials that I had around the house. Since we didn't want an exposed bulb, I tried to think of another solution that would have a similar feel to a cage light while providing a softer light.
• Hanging wire planter
&bull: Mod Podge, clear drying acrylic gel medium, or clear drying glue
&bull: Sheet music or paper
&bull: Wine cork
• Serrated knife (bread knife)
• Paint brush
• Select a hanging planter basket with a crossed bottom (as opposed to a solid disk)
• remove filling and hanging chains from the basket (most chains are simply attached with easy to remove clips)
• Place piece of paper on the outside of basket and trace the lines of the basket onto the paper (I used a falling apart book of Bob Dylan music as an inside joke with my husband…I've loved Bob since I was 12 but my husband can't stand him :)
• Cut out the strip of paper and use as a template for cutting out remaining strips. Note: You can be less meticulous about cutting out the strips to perfectly match the width of the bars, or you could simple cut out random strips to create a paper mache effect. I wanted the light to distribute evenly when turned on, so I cut the strips to correspond exactly to the width of the wire bars.
• Brush mod podge or acrylic gel medium onto the strips of paper and place them on the inside of the basket wires, pressing them lightly into the bars so that they stick to the wire bars as well as to the other sheets of paper. Repeat until you've covered the inside. Note: the key is pressing lightly, so that the paper doesn't loose its shape or warp.
• Let dry for several hours. Reapply mod podge in any areas that look weak. (After it was completely dry, I brushed the entire inside with mod podge to make sure it kept its form.
• Cut the top third off a wine cork
• Using a drill or knife (I used a paring knife) create a hole that's slightly smaller than the width of the harp's finial screw
• On the other side of the cork, slice a cross (I used a serrated bread knife for this part as it cuts through cork very easily)
• Screw the hole side of the cork onto the harp's finial screw
• Place the cross at the bottom of the hanging basket through the slices in the top of the cork
Reactions: I will say that not everyone that comes over quite gets it. Some people think it's a little too unusual, but my husband and I love it! The Bob Dylan lyrics make me smile every time I look at it, and it gives off a nice warm glow. After about 6 months, it still looks just as good as it does when I first made it.
Images: 1-13: Leah Moss, 14: Hudson Goods