DIY: Building Custom Light Fixtures


You created the perfect design, but after searching high and low can't find the light fixture to complete your perfect look—time to start thinking about building your own custom light fixture. Light fixtures are based on very simple principles and do not pose too much of a challenge for the average do-it-yourself homeowner.

Wiring Source

  • You'll find many of the components necessary to make a light fixture available for purchase. The easiest way to build a custom light fixture involves putting together pre-made parts. If you do not find what you like, you can custom make parts out of many different materials, depending on the type of light fixture you wish to build. Sketch out a design for your light fixture prior to starting fabrication so you have an idea of the necessary parts. Determine your wiring based on how many light bulbs you plan to include in the fixture. Provide a hot, neutral and ground wire to each bulb; i. If you intend them to work on one switch, wire them together in sequence so electricity can flow from the switch on the wall, through the first bulb to the second and subsequent bulbs.

Wood Designs

  • Prior to installing the electrical wiring, build the fixture. Determine whether you would like to build a wall mount, chandelier or ceiling mount fixture. If you wish to use a specific shade or glass cover, make the mount to fit. If you can cut the glass to fit, you can make the mount any shape or size you wish. Draw your desired shape, and cut out the backing.

    Easy to work with, wood allows for painting or staining to match many finishes. If you use wood, cut the back out with a jigsaw. Once you've cut out the outline, drill holes to accommodate the light bulb bases. Thread the holes or install a bracket to hold the shade or glass bowl.

Metal Designs

  • Though you can make metal light fixtures at home, they may require specialized tools such as a soldering iron or welder; you can also assemble metal with rivets or wire. Although it takes a different blade, use the same type of saw to cut metal that you use with wood.

    Piece metal together after cutting out a simple backing, or bend and shape metal pipe into decorative shapes. Use a high-end metal such as copper or stainless steel to add elegance. Depending on your skill level, only your ability to thread the wire through the tube to the bulb base will limit the intricacy of a metal chandelier. Or, make a rustic yet elegant look with hammered flat-bar metal strips. Run wire discreetly along the strips if you wish to use flat metal.

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