Proof That Creating a Light Fixture is Easier Than You Might Think

updated Dec 19, 2019
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(Image credit: Emma Fiala)

The first time I visited Thomas’ home, he told me not to focus on the light hanging in his dining room—he had plans to make a custom fixture. After it was completed, I came back to take a look and was so impressed by how he was able to implement his vision while waiting patiently for all the pieces to fall into place.

(Image credit: Emma Fiala)

Thomas’ Inspiration:

I often have an idea of something I want, in my mind. An end table, a dresser, a piece of serving ware, etc. With that idea, I spend a fair amount of time searching for it. However, after a long time looking (sometimes years) and not finding it, I decide I need to build/design/fabricate/make it myself. I rarely will move into making an item unless I have really figured out how it is going to be constructed. My design background is helpful in this area as it aides me to better understand materials, how they work together, and the look of the final piece.

With this light fixture, I knew I wanted a multi-pendant style fixture for above my dining table. I wanted something unique, slightly industrial, yet minimal. I was clear the fixture would be made up of cube shapes or, more accurately, the outline of a cube. I found several versions online. But the fixture I was hoping for needed to have the light source (bulbs) suspended from the corners of the cube with the bulb floating in the middle.

I had literally been imagining this fixture and searching for it for years. Along the way I kept gathering pieces and components which I thought might work together to create the piece one day.

(Image credit: Emma Fiala)

Thomas’ Process:

I worked at a place that purchased an existing “off-the-shelf” light fixture (they had bought it because of the particular pendants on the fixture). After snipping off what they were after, the hardwired main portion of the fixture (the part that mounts to the ceiling) was about to be discarded— I grabbed it and kept it stored for later use.

When I discovered a set of hurricane candle lanterns I knew I had found the “outline of the cubes” I had been in search of. The original hurricane lanterns had a bracket across the base which I ground off with a metal grinder. I then painted them black with spray paint.

(Image credit: Emma Fiala)

The final part I needed was a small collar which I could use to create a tension knot in the cord thus allowing the bulbs to “float” in the middle. I found the collar in an antique hardware bin at a thrift store. Lucky for me it was made of copper, which I think adds a very nice touch the the aesthetic of the fixture.

All that was left was to buy lamp wiring hardware at my local hardware store and put it all together.

After finding all the parts and pieces, putting the light fixture together was just like putting together a puzzle. There are many online videos that can show anyone how. Hard-wiring the fixture into my ceiling was easy, too, and super safe once you turn a main power source off.

Thanks, Thomas!

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