Easy DIY: Charming Wooden Beads Pendant Light

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All you need to create a charming bead pendant light are simple materials, such as wooden beads, papier-mache stars and plastic caps, and a quick light kit. You can even hard-wire it in to your house with just a few extra steps.

Pretty wooden beads make this pendant light special.
Pretty wooden beads make this pendant light special. (Image: Debbie Williams)

Things You'll Need

  • Hacksaw or sharp kitchen knife
  • Small, handheld plunger
  • Hot glue gun and glue
  • 4 large fender washers
  • Handheld drill with 1/4-inch bit
  • Scrap of wood
  • 4 round wooden beads, 1/4-inch center hole
  • 4 elongated wooden beads, 1/4-inch center hole
  • 14 wooden doll stands
  • 2 papier-mache stars
  • 4 large wooden wheels, 1-inch center hole
  • 2 plastic detergent cups
  • 4 plastic bottle or tube lids
  • Spray paint marked for plastics
  • Decorative adhesive tape
  • Lamp kit including socket and cord
  • Light canopy (if you want to direct-wire the light as a permanent fixture)
  • Clear light bulb
Cans of spray paint, lamp kit, wooden beads, plastic lids and sink plunger
Cans of spray paint, lamp kit, wooden beads, plastic lids and sink plunger (Image: Debbie Williams)

Step 1: Cut the Plunger

Using a hacksaw or a sharp kitchen knife, cut the handle from the main body of the plunger. The soft plastic will cut easily.

Cutting the handle from the plunger is easy.
Cutting the handle from the plunger is easy. (Image: Debbie Williams)

Step 2: Glue a Washer

Using a hot melt glue gun, fasten a large fender washer to the top of the plunger to reinforce it and make the hole smaller.

Glue a washer to the plunger.
Glue a washer to the plunger. (Image: Debbie Williams)

Step 3: Drill All the Holes

Drill a 1/4-inch hole in the center of the detergent lids, plastic tube lids and the papier-mâché stars over a piece of scrap wood. Hold the piece firmly and drill slowly.

Be sure to drill in the center of the item.
Be sure to drill in the center of the item. (Image: Debbie Williams)

Step 4: Paint All the Pieces

Using a spray paint designed for plastics, paint all the parts in your chosen colors. Use one accent color and two to three colors in the same family for a coordinated look.#

Use a cardboard box as a spray booth.
Use a cardboard box as a spray booth. (Image: Debbie Williams)

Tip

  • Don't forget to paint the light socket if you want to change the color.

Warning

  • Paint outdoors or in a well ventilated area.

Step 5: Glue the Pieces Together

Glue the wooden wheels together with the flat sides facing each other. Glue the wooden doll stands and plastic lids together in pairs. Use a strip of poster board or other heavy paper as a splint to provide a better surface for the glue if necessary. Most craft glues will work well for this as well as hot melt glue.

Glue all the pieces together in pairs.
Glue all the pieces together in pairs. (Image: Debbie Williams)

Step 6: Apply Decorative Tape

Apply decorative adhesive tape to the pieces glued together to hide a visible seam and to add interest to the design. You can use a single style paper tape or use a couple of coordinated styles.

Stretch the tape slightly as you apply it.
Stretch the tape slightly as you apply it. (Image: Debbie Williams)

Step 7: Choose the Lamp Style

You can choose to leave the plug on the lamp kit and make it a swag light that must plug into the wall, or you can wire the light directly into an electrical box, replacing an existing fixture. If you choose to direct wire the light, cut the existing plug off of the lamp cord.

Cut the plug off to replace an existing fixture.
Cut the plug off to replace an existing fixture. (Image: Debbie Williams)

Step 8: Thread the Beads

Place the beads onto the lamp cord in any order you choose. Refer to the photo for this design. Continue until you have all the beads in place. Put the plunger at the end of the cord.

Carefully push the skewer with the cord attached.
Carefully push the skewer with the cord attached. (Image: Debbie Williams)

Tip

  • On the larger "beads" it is helpful to use a support for the cord. Tape the cord to a small wooden or metal skewer and thread it through the holes. Remove the tape when finished.

Step 9: Attach the Cord to the Socket

Open the socket and remove the base and the interior. Do not remove the cardboard insulator. Thread the wire through the base of the socket and tie an underwriters knot to prevent the cord from pulling out of the socket screws.

To tie the knot, split the cord to 3 inches from the end and remove 5/8 inch of insulation on each side of the cord. Twist the wires tightly together in a clockwise direction. Make two loops from the wire, resembling the golden arches. Place the left wire around and a through the arch facing away from you. Take the right wire up and over the wire you put through the arch and back under it facing you. Insert this end through the first loop you made on the left and pull both sides tight.

The underwriters knot is the smallest knot and will fit into the socket.
The underwriters knot is the smallest knot and will fit into the socket. (Image: Debbie Williams)

Step 10: Attach the Socket

The cord has one side ribbed and one side smooth. Form a loop in the bare wire on the ribbed side and wrap it in a clockwise direction around the silver screw on the socket and tighten the screw. Repeat the process connecting the smooth side wire to the gold screw. Reassemble the socket. Pull the socket up inside the plunger and you are ready to hang or install your new light.

The light assembly is wired and ready to reassemble.
The light assembly is wired and ready to reassemble. (Image: Debbie Williams)

Tip

  • A clear bulb or an "edison" style bulb is especially attractive in a lamp like this.

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