Introduction: Hanging Umbrella Light

If you are looking for a cheap, easy, artistic looking alternative to lighting, you might like this bright idea. It makes a great gift idea for that person who has everything, and it's guaranteed to brighten their day.

This hanging light/ chandelier can be plugged into your existing light socket, so the light can be turned on and off with the wall switch like a normal light.
Does not require any hardwiring!

I made this in about 35 minutes, for under $50. Only very basic electrical knowledge is required. 

Step 1: What You'll Need

What You'll Need:
  • Paper Umbrella* - price varies
    (I got mine for $35 at an antique store. Probably overpaid a lot, but I didn't have time to shop around)
  • Lamp Sockets (3) - $1.97 ea
    (the hardware store calls them "lampholders"
  • 6' extension cord - $1.47 
    (ground wire optional)
  • Lightbulbs (3)- $.33 ea
  • Wire caps (2)- $1.99 for 25
  • 3" hose clamp - $1.30
  • Socket to Outlet Converter- $1.72
    (allows you to plug a cord into a light socket)
  • Brass hook - $.4m
  • Electrical tape (optional)- $1.99
             Total Cost: $44.32

  • Cross-head screwdriver
  • Flat head screwdriver
  • Wire-strippers
  • Wire-cutters
​Note: Paper umbrellas like this come in all colors and designs. Many have dragons, Chinese symbols, and other images on them. They do look nice when the light comes through them,  but I find that the plain umbrellas are a lot more versatile and go with more decor.

Other umbrellas can be used as well, as long as the material is translucent.

Step 2: Fasten Lamps to Post

This is the hardest part of the project. It took me a while to get the lamp mounts on, but lucky for you, I learned the tricks the hard way, and you get to avoid all that trial and error :)
  1. Adjust the angle of your lamps appropriately by loosening the adjustment screw on the lamp mounts, moving them, then re-tightening them. You'll want the lights shining half way between the edge and the middle of the umbrella. 
  2. Temporarily tape the lamp sockets to the post by wrapping the wires against the post with tape. Its very difficult to hold all of the lamps in place, while you put on the hose clamp, without doing this. This also eliminates the risk of dropping them and damaging the delicate paper.
  3. Slide the hose clamp over the umbrella post and tighten down the lamp sockets firmly.
  4. Arrange the as evenly around the umbrella as possible for consistent lightning. The sockets themselves do not have to be on opposite sides of the post 
  5. Tighten the clamp down securely.
  6. Remove tape.

Step 3: Connect Wires

Connect your cables to your extension cord. 
Cut the female end off the extension cord. (the end that stuff gets plugged into)
If you are going to hang the light and plug it into a light socket, trim the extension cord so that the plug end is 6" longer than the umbrella post.
  1. Pull the two wires apart so they are each about 3" long.
  2. Strip all the wires back (on the lamp mounts and the extension cord) about 1". You'll need enough wire exposed to twist them all together.
  3. Splice the wires to the extension cord.
If you don't know what a splice is, here is some basic instructions. It isn't difficult at all, but just thought I'd include it:
  1. Twist together the lamp wires. All three whites together, and all three blacks together.
  2. Now twist the white wires onto the wire that connects to the thick terminal. that is the neutral line.
  3. Twist the black wires to the remaining wire (connected to the thin terminal). That is the hot line.
  4. Cap each spliced joint with a wire cap tightly. 
  5. Tape the joint if any bare wire is exposed. 
When twisting the wires, try twist the wires around each other, and not just one wire wrapped around the other, because otherwise the wire can easily pull out. To do this, lay them perpendicular over one another (at a 90 degree angle) and twist the two wires like you would a wing-nut.

Note- the caps are not yet taped in any of my pictures, but they should be taped for safety.

Step 4: Tuck Wires

This isn't entirely necessary, since you won't see the lights once the light is hung up on the ceiling, but I did it just to make it look more neat. 

I just folded the wires down and taped them neatly.

  • You could avoid this by cutting the wires on the sockets down shorter so there isn't so much extra wire. Be careful not to cut them too short or you might not be able to twist the wires together.

Step 5: Screw in Bulbs and Hang

Note: I made this as a gift, so I didn't hang it from my ceiling or use the socket, so I don't have pictures of this step, but it's pretty self-explanatory. I just hung mine up and plugged it into a regular outlet, but you get the idea.

Screw in your lightbulbs (duh). 
  1. Screw your brass hook into the ceiling near your light socket.*
  2. Insert your socket to outlet converter into the light socket (make sure the switch is OFF first)
  3. Hang your umbrella on the hook.
    My umbrella came with a leather loop already attached to the handle, but if yours doesn't, you can either drill a hole in the handle and make your own loop, or just wrap some wire around the handle securely and make a loop that way. 
  4. Plug the cord into the outlet
  5. Turn on on the light
  6. Invite all your friends over to show them how handy you are.
  7. Tell them you came up with the idea all by yourself ;)
*make sure your ceiling is made of a material that will support the weight of the light without pulling the hook out. Dry-wall may break. A larger hook might be needed.

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