We love mason jars at my house. Besides storing food, they are great for water glasses and bloody mary's.
I saw something on the internet a while back where someone had made a hanging light featuring mason jars from a cheap vanity and I thought something similar would look great over our dinner table.
The real star(and cost) of this project are the six 40w edison bulbs. These bulbs are expensive, inefficient, and beautiful. Since most of the house is on florescent or LED bulbs, I figured I was entitled to a little luxury.
The light is mounted on a distressed redwood board that at one point was part of a chicken coop.
I think the light came out great and it looks like something from Re$toration.
Total cost was around $100, with almost half of that being the 6 edison bulbs. I had the mason jars, so if you had to buy those, I guess that would be another $12 or so.
Please excuse the missing crown molding on my walls...it's on my list.
Step 1: Materials and Tools
- A cheap 6 bulb vanity light. I used this one from amazon
- 23 Sheet metal screws. I used 18 to secure the jar lids and 5 to secure the light cover to the light base.
- 8 flat head wood screws for securing the light to your piece of wood
- An old piece of barn wood or something similar. Must be bigger than the light you use
- 1 can of paint. I used this very nice oil rubbed bronze from Amazon
- 6 mason jars with lids and screw caps. I recommend extra lids, as you may ruin a few, or cut a few off-center
- Manila rope. I used 1/2". I bought some other sizes but ended up returning them. 3/8" looked too wimpy and 3/4" had an enormous knot size that I felt overwhelmed the light.
- Some wire to run from your light to the ceiling
- 6 40w edison bulbs. I chose squirrel cage. But you can use whatever you want. This is the most expensive part of the light. I used these
- (optional) A ceiling box cover plate if you are covering a previous hole. I used this one
- A metal hook to hang the lamp from the ceiling
*Affiliate links provided for suitable products on Amazon.com
- A cordless drill and various sized drill bits
- A hole saw. I bought one that was 1 3/4" but after cutting a lid, realized that I had meant to get 1 1/2" and I had to go back to the hardware store. This is what happens when you don't make a list
Step 2: Disassemble and Paint the Vanity Light
The vanity comes apart easily. There is a chrome trim ring that is pressure fit around each of the six bulb sockets. These are all that are holding the top chrome trim piece to the base of the light. I painted the top piece along with the 6 trim rings and set the base aside.
To paint the rings, I put a few wood screws into a piece of scrap wood so I could elevate the rings and get an even paint job.
It's hard to tell from the crappy pictures, but the oil rubbed bronze paint looks really great!
Step 3: Cut Lids
Next I cut a hole in the 6 lids using the hole saw. To find the center, I traced the outline of a lid, then drew a square around it using a square(go figure)
I then drew two lines line from corner to corner. This marks the center. I placed a lid on top and using a ruler lined up to the corners of the square I'd drawn, I marked the center.
There is probably any easier way to do this using fancy maths and book learnin', but I am a simple minded man.
I marked the center with a punch hole saw bit didn't slide around.
My first attempt to cut the hole was a failure as shown in the picture. The lid jumped around and the hole saw made a mess of it. Also, I realized the lids do not sit flat when laid white side up.
The second try, I cut the lid metal side up, using a couple spring clamps and my foot to hold the lid steady. It came out great. The lids are very thin metal, so the trick is to use almost no pressure. If you apply pressure with the drill, you will shred the lid.
At this point I realized the hole I had cut was too big, so I went back to the hardware store to get the right size hole saw(1.5"). Typical.
So in summary:
- Metal side up
- Mark center with a punch or screwdriver
- Very light pressure
- Use correct size hole saw
Step 4: Attach Lids
Next I attached the 6 drilled out lids to the top of the light, which I painted earlier. In order to make sure everything lined up, I placed the top of the light onto the base so the rings would go over the protruding light sockets. I then put 3 sheet metal screw through each lid. Don't forget to put a screw ring under each lid! The 3 sheet metal screws are the only thing that will be supporting the weight of the jar, so it's important to have a strong connection.
The light sockets are held onto the base with a black clip(see photo). It just happens that I placed my top screws right there, go figure. With the screw tips hitting the black clip, the cover would not lie flat. I trimmed the tips of the screws off with a dremel.
Step 5: Wire and Test
At this point I thought it might be prudent to make sure the light actually worked and that I did not get a dud.
This should be pretty self explanatory, but there are 2 white wires and 2 black wires that I wired to the length of electrical cord I had purchased. I used the included wire nuts to join them all together.
I also drilled what will be the exit hole for the wire in the light base. This can be any size as long as it's bigger than your wire. I cleaned up the hole with my dremel so as not to cut the wire on a sharp edge. A small file would work fine as well.
I hastily attached the wire to the end of an old extension cord and was happy to see that all the lights lit up.
Step 6: Finish Light Assembly
At this point I attached the light base to my board. The board was pretty grody from being outside for a couple years, so my girlfriend made me clean it off.
The light comes with only 2 holes for mounting. I drilled 8 more holes since the light will be hanging upside down and not vertically as designed. I drilled through the sheet metal first using a step bit and then secured to the plank using the wood screws.
I should add that while lining up the light on the plank, it became clear that the width of my plank varied 1/4" from one end to the other. I decided this added to the rustic appeal, as it was the path of least resistance.
Next I drilled an exit hole in the plank for the wire to feed through, using the hole I drilled through the sheet metal base previously. I made a knot in the wire to keep it from pulling through and fed the wire through the hole until it hit the knot.
It was time to close everything up. I put the cover on, slid the 6 trim rings over the sockets, and secured the cover with screws. It's worth mentioning that in it's original form, there is only one screw hole to hold the cover on the base. This is because the light is meant to hang vertically. The only thing holding the cover on is this one screw, and the pressure fit of the 6 trim rings which push against the cover. I did not feel this was enough, so I added 5 additional sheet metal screws, for a total of 3 on each side.
I drilled pilot holes in the sheet metal before putting in the screws, which I had painted to match everything else.
The light portion itself is complete now.This was a great opportunity to test it again before hanging and to admire my work thus far.
Step 7: Hanging the Light
To hang the light, first I decided where I wanted it to go and then I screwed a metal hook into the ceiling to support the light. I used a stud finder to find a 2x4 to screw the hook into.
The light is supported by 3 lengths of 1/2" manilla rope, 1 length on each end of the light and 1 piece to connect to the hook.
On each end of the plank, I drilled two 5/8" holes to accommodate the rope. Both ends of the rope are passed through the holes in the plank from the top and then knotted to keep them from pulling through. This creates a loop of rope.
I cut the rope using very generous lengths so I would have some extra. It is very easy to shorten the loop, by pulling a bit more rope through the hole and moving the knot. If you cut the rope to short, you are SOL
I created 2 nooses with the third length of rope. The first went around the 2 loops of rope I just tied and the second slid over my ceiling hook. I used a basic noose knot as described here: http://www.animatedknots.com/noose/
I hung the light on the hook at this point and started messing a bit with the lengths to get the light to hang at the correct height and sit level. If one end of the light is hanging low, you can just shorten the rope on that side by moving the knot up. Using only one piece of rope on each end makes the light easy to adjust. When I was satisfied, I cut off the rope ends to clean things up.
Next, I ran the wire up one of the pieces of rope. I secured it with some cordage. I fed it through the noose and up to the hook. The wire then runs along the ceiling a few inches to my old ceiling box, where it was wired in. I used staples to keep the wire on the ceiling and then added a ceiling box cover and painted the wire white. I wrapped the noose ends with some natural cordage.
And that's all there is to it!