How To Make a Pendant Light from an Old Pot Lid

How To Make a Pendant Light from an Old Pot Lid

Dabney Frake
Apr 9, 2015
(Image credit: Eric Smillie)

From reader Eric Smillie comes this great tutorial for making a hanging pendant light, inspired by old enamel barn and factory lamps. The real deal can be rather pricey, but Eric came up with a clever way to get the look for a lot less. Using old cookware found at secondhand stores, he fashions new lamps using enameled pot lids as the shades. The final lamp will depend on the pot lid you buy, and can look either industrial, rustic, or cottage.

(Image credit: Eric Smillie)

What You Need


  • Pot lid
  • Strain relief nut (not pictured)
  • Bulb cage (optional)
  • Mounting hardware for attaching the lamp to the ceiling, which includes screws, a bracket, and the wire connectors.
  • Ceiling canopy, on the left, with matching screw caps.
  • Cloth-wrapped cord. The length depends on how low you want it to hang. I use 6 feet per lamp, counting on a loss of 6 inches on either end for wiring, which leaves plenty in case someone has high ceilings.
  • A short length of standard all thread lamp pipe and two lamp nuts (to the left of the orange wire connectors).
  • Light socket


  • Electric drill
  • File
  • Scissors
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Hammer
  • Wire strippers
  • Electrical tape
  • Masking tape
  • 3/8″ all-purpose drill bit
  • 5/16″ masonry drill bit
  • Nail punch


(Image credit: Eric Smillie)

1.Drill a hole in your lid. Start by taping the area you'll be drilling, then mark the exact spot using your nail punch (or nail) and hammer. Start the hole with the masonry bit and switch over to the regular bit. A bit of oil on the hole will help speed things up. So will hammering a nail through once the hole is deep enough. Once you finish the hole, you will likely need to widen it just a hair with the file or the grinder drill bit so that the lamp pipe will fit through freely.

(Image credit: Eric Smillie)
(Image credit: Eric Smillie)

2. Attach the socket. Take apart the socket. Screw in the lamp pipe into the top half. Add on one nut, then the pot lid, and then the other nut.

(Image credit: Greg Smillie)

3. Wire it up. Put the cord through the lid. Cut back the cloth on the two wires and strip off half an inch of insulation on each. Screw them to the bottom half of the socket. The black wire goes to the brass screw, the white wire to the white screw. Press together the two halves of the socket together and screw them tight.

(Image credit: Eric Smillie)

4. Add the bulb cage. The lamp is ready to go!

To see the process in more detail, please visit Eric's website and his Etsy shop to see more lamps he's made.

Thanks Eric!

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