Globe Lights




About: I enjoy taking a pile of junk and making something unusual out of it. I like wheeled vehicles, and currently own two motorcycles, two electric bikes that I've built, and an electric scooter pushed by a soc...

My schoolteacher daughter wanted a couple of lights hanging over a computer table in her classroom, and also happened to mention that she had a globe that was just taking up space.  Hmmmmm.......... hanging lights, globe?  Seemed like a good design to me!  This Instructable is about how I took a globe and a handful of lamp parts and turned it into a pair of hanging lights.

Step 1: Items Needed

The parts needed for this project are:

- a globe
- two lamp sockets
- a swag lamp kit (contains the wire and chain needed)
- a pair of threaded lamp ferrules and end pieces with hanging loops
- a set of washers and nuts to fit the lamp ferrules
- white enamel paint

Tools used were:

- paint brush
- screwdriver
- pliers
- drill and bit
- shop knife

Step 2: Cut the Globe in Half

The most difficult part of this project was cutting the globe in half.  Globes are formed from cardboard, and cardboard tends to get pretty ragged if you try to saw it.  I've found the best method is to keep scoring the globe at the equator with a shop knife until you finally cut it in two.  Unfortunately, most globes have a rather thick cardboard piece glued in this area, so you wind up having to cut through cardboard that is almost a half-inch thick.  If you work at it, however, you will eventually cut through it, and if you keep scoring around on the same line, you will find the cut is very smooth.

Don't cut yourself.....

Step 3: Paint the Inside of the Globe

I painted the insides of the globe halves with white enamel paint.  Two coats were applied.  I used a small artist's brush to paint the cut edge.

I also enlarged the holes at the north and south poles to provide clearance for the ferrules that would serve as a mounting point and hold the lamp socket on each half.

Step 4: Install the Hardware

Mounting the hardware is simple.  Push a threaded ferrule through the hole, screw the lamp socket to it, then flip it over and fasten the eye loop. 

By the way, have you ever noticed that a lot of lamp parts come in packages containing two of the parts you need, and one is shiny brass and the other antiqued brass?  I didn't want to buy two packages just to get a pair of eye hooks that matched, so I bought one package and painted both of them black.  Just my way of saying "gotcha" to the lamp part manufacturers.....

Step 5: Wire It for Electricity

Next, I attached the swag lamp cord to the sockets, and the chain to the eye loop.  I then put a 15w (60w output) curly bulb into both sockets and plugged them in to test them.  Since the lamp housing is made from cardboard, I didn't want to use bulbs that put out a lot of heat.  A hotter bulb would probably be safe since there's quite a bit of clearance between the bulb and the shade, but I wanted to be on the safe side.

Step 6: Hang It Up

The final step was hanging the lights in the classroom.  I used two ceiling grid clamps for each light.  These are very lightweight, so I could have attached them directly to the ceiling tiles, but since there was a grid in just the right place I used grid clamps.

My daughter has sort of a "night sky" theme going on this wall, and I really like the looks of the globe lights against this background.

This is a relatively easy project.  There are unused globes everywhere.  Don't cut yourself.

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13 Discussions


7 years ago on Introduction

I LOVE THIS! What a great reuse for an old globe and I happen to have 2!! I also have the hanging light kit as well! I am all over this 'ible and will have to post a pic when I am done. Thanks so much for sharing!

1 reply

Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

Glad you enjoyed the instructable. Good luck with making your light, and I'd love to see a photo when it is completed. Thanks again!


7 years ago on Introduction

cute! and smart too...i dont have any globe but i will buy one just for this....I found in store the midlage global just for 9 euro (12USD)

1 reply

7 years ago on Introduction

Clever! It is nice.

And someone finally does justice to the southern hemisphere, which is always below!!!

2 replies

Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

I've always held the southern hemisphere in high regard, because without it the northern hemisphere would just fall off into space -- or something like that...... Thanks for your comment!


Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

Thank you for your comment! I have fun making things for my daughter's classroom. I always take my talking robot head to her school near the end of each school year, and her students always point out 3 or 4 of the things that I've made for them throughout the year. One of these days I suppose her classroom will run out of room for more stuff!