Pendant Lamps, Quick, Cheap & Easy

I knocked these out a few years back in just a few minutes when moving into our newly converted loft  in an old textile mill building.  As a basket maker / artist who makes a lot of lamps, I put a lot of electrical outlets on my ceiling during our buildout but no permanent light fixtures. As a result, when we started to settle in we were mostly in the dark! Our kitchen had only 1 ceiling light inside the pantry and was mostly dark. Fortunately, I keep a bag of Ikea's $4 HEMMA Cord Sets on hand so I quickly hung a half dozen, with bare bulbs, from some pipes that conveniently ran over out countertops. This solved the light issues in the kitchen but was completely obnoxious from any distance. Not wanting to endure the glare until I could produce a respectable solution, I raided our recycling bin and this is the result.

Step 1: Tools & Materials

Tools & Materials:
  • X-acto knife, or similar cutting implement
  • HEMMA cord set from Ikea
  • Any iconic, translucent food container big enough to hide bulb

Step 2: Conversion

  1. Cut a 1 9/16 inch hole in the lid of the container to receive the HEMMA socket. 
  2. Cut out the bottom of the container.
  3. Option 1 - If you're location is close to a wall, you can cut out a section in back to allow for back lighting. This also allows heat to escape. Be sure not to remove so much that the bulb becomes visible from your widest possible viewing angle.     Option 2 - If you do not use option 1, then you'll need to cut a few vent holes in the lid to allow heat to escape upward. Try to cut at least 4 half inch holes. Even though this is specifically designed to use CFL's, they do still produce some heat and trapping it in the shade can shorten the life of the bulb and maybe even cause fire with an unvented paper shade.
  4. Remove the threaded flange from the HEMMA socket, Install socket through 1 9/16 inch hole in lid, reinstall threaded flange to secure shade.
  5. Install fluorescent or CFL light bulb only! Incandescent or halogen bulbs will be to hot and might ignite the paper shade.
NOTE: ALWAYS think about heat when creating light fixtures. These materials are not exactly UL listed. When experiment with DIY lighting it's important to provide proper ventilation and sufficient distance from the bulb to the shade. 



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