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How to Make a Driftwood Light Fitting Using Fruit Bowls

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Our bach (modest beach house) needed new light fittings and we couldn't find anything in the stores that suited its unique inelegance or our unique financial beauty. We didn't really want to buy the light fittings we saw, as they were surprisingly expensive, especially as they weren't really what we wanted anyway. So armed with lamp fittings, driftwood and some $3 fruit bowls, we were ready to embrace something different.
 
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Step 1: Materials and Tools

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You will need...

Driftwood
2 Fruit bowls
2 Metres of electrical cable (two core or three core if you plan to earth it)
2.5 Metres of thin copper wire
Copper tacks
2 Mounting eyelets and hooks
2 Lamp fittings
2 Power Saving Light bulbs (15 Watts)
Ceiling rose (if you don't already have one)
Electrical connectors
Pencil & Tape Measure
Jigsaw or Hand Saw
Scissors & Pliers
Hammer & Chisel
Router & Drill
Screwdriver

Step 2: Select & Clean Driftwood

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Driftwood comes in all shapes and sizes, so find something with a suitable shape and colour for the intended room. I decided to use a single ‘plank’, however you could achieve a similar effect using three thinner ‘branches’. Brush down and wash your driftwood with hot soapy water.

Step 3: Cut Driftwood to Size

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Decide where the fruit bowls look best. I positioned mine half a fruit bowl in from the ends with a fruit bowl space in-between. If your driftwood requires cutting, mark out a rough edge and using your jigsaw shape the edge so that it looks naturally worn.

Step 4: Prepare and Level Driftwood

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Once the light fitting is installed, you want the fruit bowls (light shades) to hang level to each other and parallel to the ground. To achieve this, mark and chisel out any uneven areas until the bowls sit level.

Step 5: Drill Fastening Holes

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Mark out and drill fastening holes for attaching the fruit bowls to the driftwood. Drill a larger hole (suitable for the electrical cable) near the centre of each fruit bowl. To hide the cable from above, you may wish to route a channel from one hole to the other.

Step 6: Fasten Fruit Bowls

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Taking the copper wire, thread it through the holes and around points on the base of the fruit bowl, returning once again through the holes. Fasten the copper wires around individual copper tacks hammered from above.

Step 7: Wire Up Lamp Fittings


Push the electrical wire through the centre hole from above. Strip the outer insulation off and connect to the lamp fitting (phase/live and neutral). If there is anyway that the wire's insulation could become compromised and so making any metal live, you may require to connect an earth/ground wire to that metal (depending on your choice of fruit bowl). Use the copper wire, wrapping it around the lamp fitting's shade clamp and the fruit bowl, to hold the fitting firmly in place. Repeat with the second fitting, running both cables along the routed channel above. Finally, connect the two cables using electrical connectors (live to live, neutral to neutral and if required, ground to ground) to a single cable that will be used to connect to the ceiling rose.

DISCLAIMER: Never do any electrical work unless you are sure you have the skills and knowledge to do the job safely and legally. Accidents, and sometimes fatalities, can occur because people do not know what they are doing. Electrical work can be unsafe and illegal if it’s not done properly. If you are in any doubt about doing any electrical work in your home talk to your friendly local electrician.

Step 8: Prepare to Mount & Connect


Attach eyelets to the top of the light fitting, making sure that it is fully balanced with fruit bowls parallel to the floor. Screw corresponding hooks into the ceiling, making sure you are firmly into the joist. Finally, with the power off, mount the light fitting and connect it to the ceiling rose.

Step 9: Savour the Uniqueness


So you now have a unique lighting solution... so much more than a talking point... it looks pretty groovy too.

tinker2342 years ago
where could i buy the fruit bowl
rocketsurgery (author)  tinker2342 years ago
Sorry for the late response. If you want to keep the price down, try looking through simple department stores or warehouses, they often try to sell odd fruit bowls and some times for a good sale price.
bvsmanya2 years ago
what a nice way of using old wood pieces!. green idea
rocketsurgery (author)  bvsmanya2 years ago
Thanks bvsmanya
daytripper4 years ago
Excellent creative concept carried out very well. 5 stars (and i'm also going to try and copy your idea (maybe treat the wood so it lasts long?)
rocketsurgery (author)  daytripper4 years ago
Thanks for your encouragement... I'm sure you'll be able to improve on the idea :) - if you do manage to create something, please post a photo... thanks again
Goodhart4 years ago
I REALLY like your idea and how this looks. Very "cabin in the woods-like" and would go very well with an exposed beam house type of thing for sure.

Another additional idea (and you probably have already thought of this, but I will put this out there anyways) would be to have the "tiles" replaced with something a bit more transparent with maybe a translucent or opaque symbol or picture on them; to cast a shadow other then just a square - what do you think?
rocketsurgery (author)  Goodhart4 years ago
Thanks Goodhart... I hadn't thought of replacing the tiles... but you are right, they could really add to the "I don't know what" as the French say... I might modify them next time I'm back in that part of the world... thanks again for your encouragement :)
You're very welcome
frocket5 years ago
I mean i dont like it but whatever floats your boat. way to think outside of the box
rocketsurgery (author)  frocket5 years ago
Thanks frocket... I know some people can't stand seeing naked bulbs (and yes fruit bowls and driftwood is a little odd)...
Hmm, not odd as much as "rustic" :-)
miphz5 years ago
nice lamp, very instructable and inspirational ... thx
rocketsurgery (author)  miphz4 years ago
Thanks miphz... I like your avatar
vingtdeux5 years ago
i love your idea!!! thanks for the instructable!
Ditto!
rocketsurgery (author)  porcupinemamma5 years ago
Thanks for the ditto... you're very kind :)
rocketsurgery (author)  vingtdeux5 years ago
Thanks for the encouragement
ourmoneypit5 years ago
Very nice, elegant solution. I, too, find lighting hard to shop for because the fixtures I find attractive are invariably priced 10 times what I feel they're worth. I've thought of making my own but was afraid they would look horrible. You've shown me it can be done with very nice results. In case you were not aware, had you not desired to have a pattern showing on the tiles of the fruitbowls, or a different pattern, there is a paint, Ceramica 150 by Pébéo, that you could have used. You can find it at those large craft superstores, and I've also seen it at other fine arts store chains as well (here in Canada)
rocketsurgery (author)  ourmoneypit5 years ago
Thanks ourmoneypit... and thanks for the tip on the tile paint... I had seen recently a fellow who makes light fittings using water pipes (taps/faucets etc) and it really appealed... I have started to think that unless you can find something that really fits your room and tastes then why not construct your own? Thanks again for your encouragement...