How to Make a Pendant Light Out of a Classroom Globe

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It was always a fun game to spin a classroom globe and point at a destination as the spinning came to a stop. While your finger may have landed on faraway locales then — inviting you to imagine big adventures — it doesn't take an explorer to figure out where many of those schoolhouse globes ended up now: at thrift stores and flea markets. Pinpoint one of those vintage globes and make a new game out of turning it into two unique overhead pendant lights. For less than $40, you can create a pair of showstoppers that will bring charm and wanderlust to a corner of your home. You may not have travelled to the destinations you picked out as a kid, but these lights may give you a bright idea.

(Image: Charlotte Smith)

Things You'll Need

  • Cardboard globe
  • Magic eraser or sponge
  • Utility knife
  • Drill (optional)
  • Painter's tape
  • Spray paint
  • Washi tape/thin duct tape
  • Hanging pendant light cord kit
  • Ceiling hook
(Image: Charlotte Smith)

Step 1: Separate the Globe From the Stand

First, remove the globe from the stand. Each stand will differ, but typically, you can pull apart the top and the bottom arms and the globe will release.

(Image: Charlotte Smith)

Step 2: Clean the Globe

Next, gently clean the globe with a sponge or magic eraser. Remember: you’re working with cardboard, so be careful that the magic eraser or sponge isn’t too damp.

(Image: Charlotte Smith)

Step 3: Separate the Globe's Two Halves

With the utility knife, cut along the equator of the globe — there should be a thin line of tape there to indicate where the cardboard halves meet. Clean up any rough edges as you go.

Tip

  • Some globes will have an additional inner cardboard ring. Run the utility knife behind this to release it from the globe.

(Image: Charlotte Smith)

Step 4: Drill Holes Into the Globe (Optional)

To create some interest, drill holes around each half of the globe. The pendants shown have holes that loosely follow the outline of each continent.

(Image: Charlotte Smith)

Step 5: Paint the Insides of the Two Pieces

Tape the outside edges of the two halves with painter's tape, and attach newspaper to protect the rest of the globe. Spray paint the inside of each pendant in your desired shade.

(Image: Charlotte Smith)

Step 6: Add Washi Tape to the Edges

To cover up the rough edges of the pendant lights, and create a fun detail, add a strip of washi tape or thin duct tape to the insides and outsides of both pieces.

(Image: Charlotte Smith)

Step 7: Create Holes for the Light Sockets

Hold the socket kit over the top of one pendant and trace the opening. Using a utility knife, cut along this line to create a hole for the light socket. Repeat with the other pendant.

(Image: Charlotte Smith)
(Image: Charlotte Smith)

Step 8: Insert the Socket

Insert the socket following the manufacturer's directions. For most, it means removing an outer ring, placing the socket kit through the hole and then replacing the outer ring. The socket should be secure on the pendant base.

(Image: Charlotte Smith)

Step 9: Install Hooks to the Ceiling

Install hanging hooks to your ceiling. If there is a stud present, pre-drill and screw the hook right into the stud. If you are hanging from drywall, use an appropriate molly bolt or anchor-system to support the hook.

Step 10: Hang the Pendant Lights

Hanging your pendant lights by the cord with plugs from the ceiling is much easier than hardwiring a fixture. You may have to swag the cord to a ceiling edge, but no electrical know-how is required here. All you need is a wall outlet and you're all set to bring in these overhead lights.

(Image: Charlotte Smith)

Step 11: Turn the Lights On

These pendant lights add color and interest to an otherwise dull corner of this room. Whether hanging over a vanity or illuminating a reading nook, these custom globe lights are an easy project that brings a vintage flare to any space.

(Image: Charlotte Smith)

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