Friday, August 19, 2011

Take THAT, Pottery Barn

I love Pottery Barn. 99% of the items sold at Pottery Barn could all be on my Oprah-esque favorite things list. However, I would never actually purchase 99% of the items sold at Pottery Barn because they are ridiculously expensive. Examples? This, these, this, and this. I could go on, really.

But my favorite thing I think I've ever seen at Pottery Barn was this light. And it's only a measly four-HUNDRED-dollars! (gulp) Or, that's how I tried to rationalize the cost to myself and my husband, but it was a no-go for this hobo. So sad too, because I knew it would look gorgeous in our dining room.

But then! I found THIS on PINTEREST (proof that something like this could be DIY'd):

link from Kara Paisley Designs

And a few great tutorials (here and here) on how to make your own pendant or chandelier lights with mason jars! I was sold. And I eventually convinced Aaron to be in on it too (it really was QUITE the project).

Here's what we ended up with. We are so happy. And tired (did I mention yet that it was a lot of work?) I've got all the details below for those whose hearts also ache for that much-too-expensive PB light.

Here's the cost breakdown:

$   6.97 - pint-sized mason jars (all the quart-sized ones were given to me!)
$   4.34 - mason jar lids with bands
$ 22.20 - lamp wire
$ 34.44 - sockets
$   3.98 - wire nuts
$ 11.88 - lightbulbs
$   8.48 - spray paint
$ 12.00 - wood for base
$   4.50 - clamps for wires

$ 108.79 TOTAL (WIN!!)

We are thrilled with the results. And thrilled to actually have LIGHT in our dining room. Now, we really have no excuse for eating dinner in the living room.

Anywho, for those who are interested in the "how-to", read on!

The original PB light had 16 pendants, but we decided to go with 12 lights instead.

12 Mason jars (I used 6 quart and 6 pint) with 12 lids & bands
60 ft of 18-2 lamp wire
12 fixture sockets
50 wire nuts
12 lightbulbs ( we used 25 watt)
12 electrical clamps
 2 cans of dark bronze spray paint

1"x8" poplar board (28" long)
1"x1.5" poplar boards for sides of the base (2 x 28" long, 2 x 6.5" long) -- Measurements vary!!!

NOTE: We used Poplar because it was smooth and less expensive, but I don't think the type of wood you use matters too much (?)

Step 1: Gather all of your jars and give them a good cleaning. Make sure you've got enough lids & bands, and make sure they all fit.

Step 2: Spray paint all of the lids & bands (actually, I painted everything that could possibly be visible inside the jars - sockets, wire nuts, lamp wire). Drill holes in the lids - one big enough to thread the lamp wire through and two (or more) smaller ones to let heat out of the jars.

Step 3: Get supplies together to assemble the sockets that will sit inside the jars - wire cutter/stripper, socket, lamp wire, wire nuts. For the lamp wire, I cut each strand to 48", which is extra long so that I could adjust the wire (i.e. heights of the suspended jars) later. There should be extra lamp wire, this is used later.

Step 4: Cut wires from socket down to be just about an inch long, and strip the ends of the wire. Separate and strip the ends of the lamp wire. Twist the exposed wires together and secure with wire nuts.

NOTE: If I could do this all over again, I would use keyless sockets instead of fixture sockets. Keyless sockets do not have wires already attached. This way, you can connect your lamp wire directly to the socket and you wouldn't need to mess with wire nuts. Alas, the Home Depot guy steered me wrong, and I am "le stuck" with what I've "le got".

Step 5: Thread lamp wire through lid & band so they sit just on top of the wire connections just made. You can also put in the lightbulb/twist the jars on at this point to make sure the socket & lightbulb sit straight in the jar (and the lightbulb does not bang against the side of the jar). I had a few that were sitting a little bit crooked, so I just taped the wire nuts to the lid so it would sit straight(er) inside the jar.

Step 6: Repeat. Times 11.

Step 7: Time to start putting together the wooden base of the light. Plan out the spacing of the lights and drill holes to thread the lamp wire through. Attach the sides of the base (the 1.5" wide pieces). Fill any gaps and screw heads with putty. Let the putty dry and sand any rough spots down. Prime. Paint. I also added a few thin coats of glossy paint.

Step 8: Once the base is dry, start threading the assembled fixtures through the holes - grab some clothespins to hold the lamp wire in place! I removed the jars and lightbulbs at this point because I didn't want anything to collide and break. I also set this on a ladder so that the fixtures could dangle from the base but wouldn't be dragging on the floor.

Step 9: Play around with the heights of the fixtures - get them exactly how you want them. (I acquired a friend at this point who was very interested in this new dangling contraption) My friend only stayed for the picture and then I banished her to the yard before she started a game of tug of war on one of my fixtures.

Step 10: Once all the fixtures are in place at the perfect height (check it out from multiple angles!), replace the clothespins with electrical clamps.

Step 11: After all the clamps are in place, cut the extra lamp wire off. Use some of the extra lamp wire you saved earlier to connect each of the lights, in series. Make sure to mark one side of each section of these connecting wires as the "hot" wire (we just used white-out to mark them) - you will need to make sure that you are always connecting the hot to hot (and neutral to neutral). If you don't do this, you will have a short.

NOTE: This is a good time to remind you that if you are not electrically-saavy (or don't have one of those people helping you), that you should stop. right now. Call or hire someone to help you.

Step 12: Now, it's time to attach this puppy to your electrical box in the ceiling! And before you do that - for God's sake - make sure the power is OFF! And again, if you are not an comfortable with anything electrical, back slowly away from the project.

Connect your wires to the power in the ceiling. I would recommend making your main connecting wire from the light to the electrical box a nice long one so you can rest the assembled fixture on a ladder while you do this - instead of killing your helper's arms while they attempt to hold this somewhat-heavy project up while you do your wiring thing. Once you have this hooked up and before you go attaching this to the ceiling, TEST YOUR LIGHT. Turn the power back on and make sure it all is working according to plan because you are not going to want to take it down again if it's not working (can you tell this happened to us?!)

If it's a go, screw the base into the electrical box - we had to use 3" #8 machine screws. We also screwed the base into the ceiling/anchors in a few other locations just to be sure that this thing was not coming down (i.e. I'm paranoid).

Step 13: Celebrate and bask in the glory of your new light.

I added this project to the Pinterest Challenge! Check out some of the other cool projects that people did -- especially my faves from Sherry Petersik and Katie Bower!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...