The cost of lighting today is ridiculous! Like me, have you shopped the stores and online only to be discouraged that you can’t find a great looking light for under $75? Or you do splurge for that must have light only to want a change before long. Yep, been there, too many times. With a little time and a few supplies I’ll teach you how to create the perfect light for your home and save big bucks. Today I’m going to show you how I made a DIY hanging light from a wire basket, and you can too.
Beautiful lighting doesn’t have to be expensive and there are plenty of upcycle inspirations online as well. You can also get good deals in the many discount stores. I’ve even found good as new lights super cheap in the Facebook buy/sell groups. Since I was laid off from my job a year ago I’m all about saving money at every opportunity. Well, I’ve always been thrifty but now it’s even more important.
I got the idea one day at Target when I was at their Dollar Spot and found a waste basket for $3. Target doesn’t call it the Dollar Spot anymore but I still like that catchy name the best.
I already had a few light kits at home so this was going to be a very inexpensive light.
This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. You can read my full disclosure here.
DIY Hanging Light Supply List
- Wire Basket
- Light Kit
- Spray Paint
- Frog Tape
- Jute Twine
- Glue Gun
- Drill & Drill Bits
- Tin Snips
- Metal Rasp
This is the waste basket basket I bought, it measured 10.5″ wide and 10.5″ to the tops of the handles. I didn’t want a gray light but before I painted it I had to make a hole for the light kit.
To make the hole it’s important to find the center so your diy hanging light hangs straight and is not all cattywampus. I placed the bottom of the basket on a piece of paper and traced the bottom with a pen as close to the side as possible.
Next I cut out the circle and folded it in fourths to find the center and snipped a little hole at the point. Lining up the the circle on the bottom of the basket I used a sharpie to make a dot in the center.
Next, I placed the light kit over the circle and marked the hole to be cut. Be careful here, I almost made my hole too big. You just need the socket portion of the light kit to fit through the hole.
DIY Hanging Light – Let there be light
The smaller circle below is where socket portion will slip in. The larger circle is the outline of the ring that screws on from underneath to hold the light kit to the wire basket. The outer ring screws on from below before you screw in the light bulb.
I used a scratch awl and a hammer to make indentations for the drill bit. Using the cordless drill and a metal drill bit I drilled holes in a circle as close together as possible. I then used tin snips to cut between the holes and clean up the edges with a metal rasp or file.
With the hole for the light kit done it was time to paint my basket. I chose flat black paint for my diy hanging light since I would be adding jute. While I didn’t want gloss but that might have been a good choice too.
The handles had to go because I think they would have looked goofy, and after consulting with my two of my blogger friends, they agreed. So I cut off the the handles with tin snips and smoothed the rough edges with the metal rasp.
I decided to add a little interest to my diy hanging light and wrapped the horizontal wires with jute twine. Working with 12″ strips of jute made it easier to wrap the wire. However, it takes more gluing but it’s much easier to wrap with a shorter section of string. You can see left-to-right, top-to-bottom in the photo below how the wrapping went.
- Apply a small bead of hot glue to the end of the jute.
- Press it to the inside edge of the horizontal wire you’re wrapping.
- Wrap the jute around and bunch it together as you wrap.
- As you cross over the vertical wires put a bead of hot glue on the wire. This will keep everyting in place. Then keep wrapping.
- When you get to the end place a bead of hot glue onto the underside of the jute
- Moving quickly press it down to the wire.
- Repeat with the next 12″ section of jute until you’re done with that row.
I must have burned myself 50 times. That’s the risk of the glue gun, and it feels really wonderful when you get some hot glue under your fingernail. Um, no, that was serious sarcasm 🙂 It almost blistered but thankfully I got it out in time.
Once all the horizontal lines were wrapped it looked a little off balance with a big band of black at the top of the light. I decided it needed some jute treatment too so I started at the back and glued the jute onto the black band every few inches keeping the rows even as I worked.
Just when I thought I was done the lightbulb looked funny. I didn’t like the big white strip at the top of the LED bulb, or the brown parts of the light. And that ugly sticker had to G – O!
I carefully wrapped the bulb with Frog Tape and left only the collar to be painted. I did the same with the light kit and stuffed the socket with a napkin. They both got a coat of the same flat black paint I used on the wire basket. After I painted the bulb I propped it into a cut off red cup with a napkin to dry. I hung the light kit over a ladder in the garage.
Yay, finally done. It looks great against the quartz wall. I love the horizontal lines of the jute-wrapped wires. Painting the white part of the bulb and the light kit to match the basket was the finishing touch.
WAIT!!…. I really don’t like it with the light turned on 🙁 Time for Plan B.
Lining My DIY Hanging Light
The light was too stark, even at night and cast a funny glow in the room. I guess there’s a reason someone invented lamp shades 🙂
Originally I thought about lining my DIY hanging light but I thought it would take away from the design. But I’m not going to keep a light if I never want to turn it on, even if it looks cool.
So this morning I whipped up a liner for my DIY Hanging light and it saved the day. Well at least it saved the light 🙂
In the spirit of keeping this post as short as possible I’m going to show you the new and improved light. I haven’t written the post for making the liner yet and I used a different process than I did for my Drop Cloth Basket Liner project, with better results.
So much better now!!
Thankfully it even looks good lit up, I can’t wait to use it tonight!
Now that my DIY hanging light is saved from the trash don’t forget to Pin it and follow my Pinterest Lighting Board to see the other lights I love.
If you haven’t seen it already you can watch my 2nd ever Facebook Live I did a few days ago where I gave a sneak peak of my project. It includes a little demo of wrapping the wires. And, if you’re not familiar with a light kit I show how those work as well.
I hope this project inspired you to make your own light from a basket. With all the colored twine options out there you can have a light in many different styles. You can also check out my Anika’s version of a Basket Light she made for her $100 Room Challenge. It’s a beautiful pop of color and I love it.
Until next time,
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Monday 14th of November 2016
I love this idea! I have a cheap bulb light in my home's laundry room. I wonder if I can make a wire basket covering for that fixture somehow? (It's now a hanging fixture.)
Wednesday 16th of November 2016
Thank you Lauren. I'm sure you can but you might check the hardware store and see if they have a two part system that that comes apart like the collar on the hanging light kits. Then you could cut your hole in the bottom of the basket and have one part on the outside and the other part slipped over the socket from the inside of the basket and screw them together. I hope you can make it work!!
Friday 11th of November 2016
This basket is both creative and beautiful! It's one of our features at this week's Funtastic Friday.
Angie ~ ambient wares
Wednesday 9th of November 2016
We love making lamps and this is truly beautiful! Great job!