How to Make a Pendant Light with Dowels

Cut and nail square dowels together to form a box-shape base for this budget-friendly pendant. Lacelike decorative paper allows light to filter through the shade.

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If you're not loving your current light fixture, it's time for a change. Don't run off to the store or start shopping online though! You can create a beautiful light yourself with these easy DIY steps. Follow our instructions for a statement light fixture that will transform the look of your room (without emptying your wallet). 

Craft a box shape with dowels, and cover with pretty paper so that soft light illuminates your room. A simple pendant light kit makes it easy to assemble and hang your creation.

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What You Need

  • Seven 36 x 3/8-inch square poplar dowels
  • Measuring tape
  • Handsaw
  • Pin nailer or finishing nails and hammer
  • Metal ruler
  • Cutting mat
  • Crafts knife
  • Decorative paper
  • Hot-glue gun 
  • Pendant light kit 

Step 1: Cut Dowels

Using a handsaw, cut dowels to the following sizes: six 20-inch lengths, four 10-inch lengths, and four 12-inch lengths.

Step 2: Form Rectangles

Position two 20-inch-long dowels and two 10-inch-long dowels to form a rectangle (the short pieces should be on the inside). Nail the dowels together at the corners using a pin nailer or finishing nails. Repeat to make another rectangle. These will form the shade's top and bottom.

Step 3: Create Box-Shape

Join the two rectangular frames with two 12-inch long dowels along each side to create the height of the shade. Nail the dowels together at the corners to make the shade box.

Step 4: Add Support

Mark the center of the box along the top short side rails, then measure the width of the pendant light socket to determine where to place the middle support rails that will hold the socket in place. Our socket measured about 1 1/2 inches, so we marked 3/4 inch on each side of the center mark on both side rails.

Place two 20-inch long dowels on the outside of each outer mark; nail in place. 

Step 5: Attach Paper

Measure and cut the decorative paper to fit four sides of the shade. To attach each panel, run a line of hot glue along the outside of the dowels, working small sections at a time. Press the paper in place. 

Step 6: Add Light

Mark the center of the box along the middle support rails. Slide the socket between the support rails from the top. Screw the socket ring from below the rails to hold the socket in place. Screw in a lightbulb through the bottom of shade.

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