Easy and Affordable Sconce Cover




This is a very affordable means to hide ugly wall fixtures without causing any damage to the wall itself. Ideal if you are renting a place and on a budget or just like playing with cardboard.

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Step 1: Gather Materials

You will need:
a piece of cardboard in decent condition
a photograph or decorative paper
measuring tape
T-square, triangle or something to help you draw a straight line
double-sided tape
good razor
straight edge for cutting
cutting surface
a level (optional)
4 pushpins

Step 2: Identify Offending Fixture

Ugly sconces are a bummer. Especially if there is little you can do about it.

Step 3: Take Measurements

Record the width, depth and height of the fixture.

Step 4: Measure Twice, Cut Once

Before you start slicing and dicing figure out how you are going to cut the cardboard.
To get the overall width that the piece will need to be do this equation:
(sconce width + 2") + (2 x sconce depth + 4")
The height of the cardboard piece should be at least as tall as the light fixture.

If you are using a cardboard box cut along the edges to get a long, flat piece. Using your tape measure and T-square or triangle map out the dimensions with pencil. Try to keep it straight.
Using your cutting edge (preferably metal), razor and cutting surface slice along the pencil marks getting rid of excess cardboard.

Step 5: Making the Sides

With the correct side facing up measure 1" in on the sides and mark with pencil. Create a crease along that 1" border by holding the straight edge in place at the pencil marks and fold the cardboard over it.
From the new crease measure the needed depth (sconce depth + 2") and repeat folding technique.
The sides are done!

Step 6: Making the Face

Here is where your photo or decorative paper come in. Measure your picture. Subtract at least 1" from the height and width.
On the reverse side of the cardboard map out the new height and width area with pencil. Try to keep it centered (unless you are making something asymmetrical).
Using a straight edge and razor cut out the center.
Apply double-sided tape around the opening.
Flip the cardboard piece over and center the picture in the cut out area. Press down firmly onto picture.

Step 7: Attaching to the Wall

This is easier with two people but not necessary.
Position the sconce cover in front of the light fixture by holding it. Keeping the side at a 90º angle to the front attach one of the side flaps to the wall with push pins. Using a level attach the other side the same way.

Step 8: Enjoy!

I love these things. There are so many possible variations and I really like how clean they look. Please see the next and last slide for design option 2.

Step 9: Design Option 2

I made this one first without recording the steps. The difference is that I cut out a traced silhouette and applied paper to the inside.
I look forward to seeing other versions.



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    11 Discussions


    12 years ago on Introduction

    This is neat. Gave me the idea of mounting an old conical asian gardening hat over an appalling ceiling fixture!

    Rock Candiedayle2

    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    It would have to be redesigned to attach it to the sconce itself or suspend it from the ceiling. Does the sconce have any metal surfaces that would allow for the use of magnets? Depending on the light maybe you could use chopsticks as a stretcher to hang the cover off of the sconce. Send me a picture of your light so that I can brainstorm. Also, I made other sconce covers with chicken wire, decorative paper and chopsticks. These were lighter and more malleable in shape. The hang directly off of the sconce itself. I'll send you a picture if you are interested. barbiezeldis@gmail.com


    Dig it. Considering that it's made from regular old corrugated cardboard, I'm a little surprised at how good it looks. Experimenting with different types of translucent materials might be fun; it'd probably be pretty easy to use colored paper or cellophane scraps to get a cheap and easy stained-glass look. Or do them all up with one representative issue/strip of your favorite webcomics and scatter them about. Or here's an idea for a mod: you could probably add a little holder just on the inside of the frame so that you could easily change the pictures by sliding them out. Maybe one week/month you're in an impressionistic mood, or some other time maybe you're about abstract expressionism, etc. Very cool project.


    12 years ago

    neat! I'm telling my sister, she just spent $10 per on pre-made ones from IKEA! Jen


    12 years ago

    That is pretty sweet! What if you tucked the flaps on the outside (the ones tacked to the wall) and tuck them in. Would that work? I think it might look better. Otherwise sweet idea! I really like the silhouette one! Great recycle project.


    12 years ago

    Very cool! Bonus points for re-use of consumable materials :) I only have one sconce -- and it's in my bathroom :P But I love it anyway :)


    12 years ago

    Excellent Instructable; one which I might just have to put to use in my apartment. But I do subscribe to the measure once, cut two or three times with swear word interstitials philosophy, so I might have to deviate from your instructions.

    1 reply
    Rock Candiejeffreyf

    Reply 12 years ago

    Thanks. This is my first entry and I am loving the feedback!


    12 years ago

    I like this concept, but putting cardboard that close to an incandescent lamp is just asking for a fire. Use fluorescent bulbs instead.

    1 reply
    Rock Candievatosupreme

    Reply 12 years ago

    Totally. Both of these sconces have CFLs and I left a wide gap.