Have you ever lived with something because you didn’t know how to make it different? Or you hated it but haven’t yet found the time to do something about it? That’s how it’s been with our hallway light. It’s time for a DIY Boob Light Makeover.
Our hallway light was one of those things I hated. It was old and it looked it, plus it wasn’t my style at all. I’d never heard the term “boob light” or ceiling boob 😀 until a few years ago.
They do resemble a body part, so it makes perfect sense. Now I can’t see them any other way. Our boob light came with the house we bought 20+ years ago, so it was definitely time for a change.
I’ve wanted to do a ceiling light makeover on the hallway light for as long as we’ve lived here. It just kept getting pushed off by more important projects.
I never had the budget to spend on the type of light I really wanted. Plus, the hall closet door opens right underneath; finding a stylish light that fit the requirements was going to be hard.
Here is our so unimpressive boob light, rusty spots and all.
I bet some of you are in the same dilemma, no money, can’t find what you want, won’t fit your space, etc, etc. Am I right? I know I’m not alone so I hope this DIY inspires you to find a solution to your boob light problem.
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Last year I bought a cute burlap lined basket for $5 in a Facebook group that I thought might work perfect for a light. Here’s my first DIY Hanging Light that I made from a wire basket, so I knew it was totally doable.
If I chose a different route I still got a nice basket for cheap. Strolling through Habitat for Humanity ReStore a month or so later I bought a lampshade for $4 that I thought might work on it’s own.
Using the lampshade would be the easiest route, and it would work ok. But, there’d be nothing stylish about a plain drum shade stuck to the ceiling.
Then I had the bright idea to combine the two into one awesome DIY ceiling light.
Boob Light Makeover Supplies
- Basket that will fit over your existing boob light base
- Cheap drum shade a little larger than your basket Or Lamp Shade Liner
- Rotary Tool – I have an older model of this one
- Safety Glasses – Eye Protection – Ear Protection
- Cordless Drill with Metal Drill Bit
- Gloves – I love this brand/style
- Silver Foil Tape
- Box Knife
- Spray Paint, this metallic is my favorite
- Fast drying glue but not super glue
- #10 1/2″ Sheet Metal Screws
In order to use your basket as a stylish replacement for a boob light you’ll need to remove the bottom. Not all of it, but most of it, and you’ll want it to be as smooth a cut as possible.
A Rotary Tool with a cut off disk is perfect for this project.
How to cut the bottom from a metal bottom basket
Step 1: Find the exact center of your metal basket.
To make a basket work as a boob ceiling light cover you’ll need to remove the bottom of the basket. This will allow the light to shine down.
Here’s how to find the center and get a perfect circle (see example below):
- Measure across and find the center. The center of my basket bottom was 4.5″ Draw a line between 4″ and 5″.
- Spin the basket 1/4 turn and repeat bullet #1. The center is where the lines meet.
- Use a nail and hammer to poke a hole on the center mark.
- Trace around the outside of the basket bottom onto a piece of paper.
- Cut out your circle.
- Fold it in half then in half again for a quarter circle
- Fold it two more times until you have a long skinny triangle.
- Place the tip of the folded paper triangle in the center of the hole.
- Mark both sides the paper 1/2″ from the outer edge of the basket.
- Unfold and find the center of the paper circle and poke the nail through the center.
- Line it up with the hole you made in the bottom of the basket.
- Trace around the paper plate with a permanent marker.
- This line is where you’ll make your cut.
Step 2: Cutting metal the easy way
- Load the cutting disk into your rotary tool to start cutting the circle. It works best if you use a higher speed, just go slowly until you get the hang of it.
- With the cutting disk moving, slowly lower it onto the marker line and press down until the disc is through the metal.
- Lift the disk up slightly as you move along the line to cut the circle.
How do you keep metal from shaking as you cut a circle with a rotary tool?
As you get close to the halfway mark skip over about an inch and start a new cut. This will keep the metal from shaking while you cut the rest of the circle. Wearing protective gloves hold the cut out circle while you cut the final 1″ section you skipped over previously.
Switch out the head on your rotary tool to smooth the rough edges as needed. The neater your original cut the less smoothing you’ll need to do. Give it a thorough cleaning and let it dry.
How to make a liner for a Ceiling Light?
Before we paint we need to make the shade for the inside. If you’re working with a new sheet of lamp shade material you can skip the first 3 bullets below.
- Use the rotary tool to cut the metal rim on the top and bottom.
- Using sharp scissors cut off the large rim at the top staying as close to the rim as possible.
- Cut away the thinner bottom rim with an exacto knife.
- Trace the light onto the inside of the shade.
- Find a point of reference and lay the basket light onto the shade at the edge.
- Make a small mark on the top and bottom.
- Carefully roll the shade a bit and make two more marks.
- Keep doing this until you either get all the way around, or halfway. (I had to make mine in two pieces because my lamp shade wasn’t big enough.)
- Connect the lines with a pencil and then carefully cut out your outline.
I traced and cut one section then traced it onto the shade material and cut the second.
Since I had to cut mine in two sections I made them both a little longer. I inserted them both and marked and trimmed the excess so they both met in the middle of the narrow the side seam.
My light had a raised lip so I trimmed roughly 3/4″ from the top edge (as you can see above it’s shorter than my pattern cut).
Next paint the light before installing the shade. I painted mine Flat Antique Nickel, because it’s sparkly without being overly shiny. After the paint dried I used fast-drying glue around the edges to hold the two sections of shade in the light.
Installing your Boob Light Replacement
I left the housing of the boob light in place but I needed a secure way to hold my DIY ceiling light in place. The basket had holes from the original handles so I used those as my guide (if your basket doesn’t have holes around the top you’ll need to drill some).
I held the new ceiling light in place and marked a dot in the center of each of the four holes.
Insert a metal drill bit into your cordless drill and drill a hole that will receive #10 Sheet Metal Screws.
Of course it’s best to cut off the power before working around electrical outlets but the ring of the light housing was far enough from the wiring I knew I was safe to drill the shallow hole near the ceiling.
Before I installed the boob light replacement I used some silver foil tape to cover up the ugly base light and secure the insulation. You want to use foil tape and not another type that might be flammable.
LED bulbs don’t get as hot but the socket housing still gets hot. Not that anyone is going to walk down my hall and peer up into the light, but I’m sort of a perfectionist, so …..
Slipping the screw first through a washer I used my cordless drill, on slow speed, to secure the new ceiling light to the boob light base. I finished up by dabbing some of the spray paint I’d sprayed on a paper plate onto the screws and washers with a chip brush.
It doesn’t have to be perfect because that high up no one will ever see them.
When the light is on it look so much better than the old boob light ever did.
If you don’t want to DIY your own boob light replacement I found a few stylish ceiling light options on Amazon that might work for you.
I hope I’ve inspired you to replace the boobs in your life 😀 ok, just the boob lights because they really have to go!