I've never been a fan of the dippy little porch light that came with our house when we bought it. One day my wife and I were perusing a junk store and came across an old rusty birdcage that was missing its bottom, and we thought, "Hey, that would make a neat porch light!" So, the birdcage porch light project was born......
Step 1: Gather the Stuff You Will Need
In addition to an old bird cage, I used the following materials:
- inexpensive light fixture designed for a ceiling fan
- ceiling fan downrod and mounting kit
- 3/4" pipe flange
- small piece of sheet steel
- 16 gauge wire
- paintable sealant
- some misc. lamp parts from an old lamp
- 8" of threaded lamp rod
- 20 inches of 1/4" threaded rod
- misc. nuts & bolts
- spray paint
- ceiling electrical box
The tools I used were:
- rotary tool with a cut-off disk
- metal cutting saw
- drill & bits
- wrenches & screwdrivers
Step 2: Design & Test Fit
The design I came up with involved adding some stand-offs to the ceiling fan light fixture as shown in the 1st photo. I used some lamp tubing salvaged from an old lamp and some 1/4 inch threaded rod to make the stand-off's. I also added a length of threaded lamp tubing to the center of the lamp so that no wiring would be exposed.
I then made a round metal plate (2nd photo) that would mount between the light fixture and the inside top of the birdcage.
To hang the birdcage I used a ceiling fan downrod with a 3/4" pipe flange screwed to the threaded end of the downrod (3rd photo). Although it is not shown in the photos, I extended the wiring for the light fixture through the downroad, leaving a bit of extra for the installation.
The 4th photo shows how this all went together viewed from the top and the 5th photo shows the assembly from the inside of the birdcage.
Step 3: Paint
I used a brown hammered-finish rust-stopping spray paint to paint all the metal parts, and I painted each main component separately to ensure good coverage (since this light will be exposed to the elements). In addition to the components, I also painted every washer, nut, and bolt.
Before painting the actual light fixture, I used calking to seal every joint on the top just in case any moisture every accumulated there. Although this particular lamp is rated for outdoor use, since the top is not covered by a ceiling fan, I wanted to make sure no water could ever penetrate it. This light will be on a porch that is protected from rain, but if any condensation ever formed I wanted to make sure the electrical components were sealed. Photo 3 shows the lamp after calking, and photo 4 was taken after it was painted.
Before painting the actual birdcage, I wire brushed it to remove any loose rust.
Step 4: Assemble & Test
After the paint had dried, I assembled all the parts together and temporarily connected it to an old extension cord and made sure it worked.
Step 5: Install
The installation began with removing the old, dippy porch light (1st photo). Behind this porch light was a flimsy plastic ceiling box mounted to a flimsy stamped piece of sheet metal. It was sturdy enough to hold the old porch light, but not the replacement. I removed the old box and lag-bolted a heavy metal ceiling box to a 2x4 (photo 2).
Since I had used a ceiling fan downrod with the new birdcage light, I bought a ceiling fan installation kit (photo 3) and mounted it to the new ceiling box. While I was at it I also installed a piece of decorative trim on the ceiling to cover the area where the original light had been mounted (photos 5 & 5).
The final step was to hang the new light fixture (photos 6 & 7), attach the wires (including a new ground wire), and install the cover over the new mounting.
Step 6: Enjoy the New Light!
The final step was to stand back, turn it on, and admire our very unique porch light!