During one of my outings with my girlfriend, we stopped by the slightly pricey (IMHO) furniture store, and I found a lamp which I fell in love with. It's a very simple, modern looking, frosted acrylic pendant lamp that I thought would look perfect above my dining room table.
The only problem for me with the lamp was the price: CAD $425+tax. I realize may not be very expensive for some ppl, but I couldn't justify spending that much on a lamp. Maybe it's a guy thing? So I decided to make it myself, since it seemed easy enough.
Step 1: Lamp Dimensions and Materials
Luckily, the store put the lamp dimensions on the tag along with the price, so I didn't have to get my tape measure :)
(you might not be able to see in the picture, but the dimensions printed are 36" x 7" x 7". I know this is different from what the website says which is 36" x 7" x 11". It turns out I noticed this while writing this instructable, but I personally like the 7" x 7" look)
I called around some of the local acrylic suppliers in the GTA (I'm from Ontario), and the cheapest one was PlasticWorld.
From them I got the following (cut to size) frosted acrylic sheet (I think they call the frosted sheet P90?):
2 pieces 3/16" x 7" x 36" for the sides
2 pieces 3/16" x 7" x 7" for the ends
2 pieces 3/16" x 7" x 5" for the two top sections which the light bulbs attach to (I trimmed the 7" length by about 3/8" using a radial arm saw so that the tops were glued 'in between' the sides, rather than along the top. This gives a cleaner look.)
I also bought some acrylic glue (actually it is a solvent, so you actually get a chemical bond when it dries. A bit like welding for plastics). The stuff I got was Weldon 3. It had the consistency of water (very low viscosity), so I would recommend anyone else trying this to use a thicker glue as it was difficult to apply.
Total cost for the acrylic and glue: ~$60
For the lights, I purchased two IKEA HEMMA cord lights (in black) for approx. ~$10 each
For the stainless steel box, I got a 16 gauge stainless steel plate 7" x 18". In addition, I got a 1" x 42" piece which would complete the electrical 'box'.
You'll also want to pick up 2 rubber grommets from Home Depot (about $0.50 each) which fit the lamp cord.
Step 2: Assemble Lamp
Since the acrylic was cut to size, all I had to do was drill the holes for the HEMMA light bulb holders in the 5" x 7" acrylic pieces. For this I used a hole saw which was the same diameter as the light bulb holder (I believe this was 2" diameter, but I can't remember at the moment).
Tip: pre-drill a small pilot hole in the acrylic to prevent cracking when using a larger size bit
Tip: When using the hole saw, once you commit to cutting, just go for it and DONT take your time. The hole saw generates a lot of heat, and you want to avoid melting the plastic. It should take you around 10 seconds or so to drill the hole in the acrylic.
The Weldon glue I used was quick drying (I tried it on a scrap piece of the acrylic left over from cutting out the hole in the previous step) so apply a very thin bead of glue on the thin edge of the workpiece you intend on gluing, and carefully mate it to the other workpiece. You can move the pieces around for about 10 seconds, but I don't recommend it since the glue dissolves the acrylic and will leave a noticeable mark.
Glue all the components together and leave it to fully cure over night. The frosted surface of the acrylic sheet should face outwards, while the glossy surface should remain on the inside of the lamp. I positioned the 5" x 7" pieces of acrylic such that the hole centres (hence light bulbs) were at the 1/3 and 2/3 positions along the length of the lamp (aka evenly spaced).
The brown paper on the acrylic is just a protective covering that can be removed whenever you like. I left it on until the very end to minimize scratches.
Step 3: Assemble Electrical Box
Three holes were drilled in the stainless plate; 1 for each of the light cords, and 1 for the bolt which holds the lamp to the ceiling.
The holes for the light cords were drilled 18" apart, centered on the plate. $0.50 grommets were installed to protect the lamp cord. The remaining hold was drilled in the centre of the plate.
The 1" x 42" strip of stainless was bent into a rectangle 5" wide by 16" long and positioned approximately 1" away from each edge on the plate. PL Premium was used to glue the stainless steel 'fence' to the plate. This is required to provide rigidity to the plate. Without this, the plate would bend under the weight of the lamp.
My stainless plate was laying around a while before I got around to doing this, so it was a little scratched. You can't really notice it though when it's installed.
Step 4: Assemble Lamp
The only remaining step is to assemble the lamp and install it.
The HEMMA light cords are REALLY long, so I had to cut about 10 feet of wire off the end of each one and still had plenty of wire left over!
I fixed the light cord inside the electrical box using electrical clamp for a junction box, similar to that shown circled in the pictures below. This sets the light height and prevents the cord from slipping through the grommets.
A nice allen head bolt was used with a ceiling anchor to fix the light to the ceiling!
All this cost me less than $100 (I can't say how much the stainless cost as my cousin provided it, though I'm told you can get it for $20-$30 cut to size).
And there you have it, a designer lamp for under $100! All in all, it took about two days to put together (most of this is waiting for glue to cure).