My most proud D.I.Y to-date is coming in fast and furious with a D.I.Y pendant light! I made a light! Can you even believe it?! I sure can’t.
Honestly, throughout this entire process, I was completely uncertain if this would work or not. I was half expecting it to deflate, half expecting it just to crumble apart. It only became real to me once I (McGregor) hung this D.I.Y pendant light, and I turned the switch to on!
Glorious and amazing. This one wasn’t a typical quick 10 minute – 1-hour D.I.Y like most of mine are. This was a multiple day-affair (drying time) but SO worth the result.
Creativity in the Light
I tend to go off on tangents about how versatile my projects are. This one is slightly less versatile – I mean, I guess when I think about it, you could use a different sized ballon, a different fixture to hang it, and truth be told, every pattern is going to come out entirely differently.
That being said, I did find that I had very little control over the pattern and had to go with what the jute would support. AKA – I had to stop and redo this one three times because if I didn’t keep the tension, I would get some dangly strings.
My Tips For Making a D.I.Y Pendant Light
Patience. That is my first and probably should also be the last tip on this one. It needs to be said twice. Patience. You may need to restart, but it’s worth it to get a perfect light.
This is a messy one. It definitely also requires a drop cloth (or something large enough to catch a balloon and a bit of a mess around it) and gloves.
An open window or outdoor venue to conduct this work would be ideal as well. I did neither, to start with. After I left the room and walked back into my office where I was making this, the fumes were next level stinky.
Unlikely to have been good for me to have been sniffing.
Once you’ve made this D.I.Y Pendant Light, though, you will think that it was all worth it. At least, that is how I felt.
How to Make a D.I.Y Pendant Light
+ Balloon of your choosing (mine was almost a square/circular shape if that makes sense and 12″ large from Party City – very similar ones here).
+ Jute cord (mine was 176 ft and I only have a little bit left). Hot tip: it’s $4.00 at Dollarama
+ Mod Podge (I used over half of this matte one for my 12 inch balloon)
+ Disposable gloves (something like these – we had some on hand)
+ Drop cloth (or something similar to minimize your mess)
+ Light fixture (I used this Ikea one) + light blub
1. Take your balloon and put a straw into the bottom of it to blow it up. Remove the straw. Get a 3-inch mug, and place it on the bottom of the balloon (where the fill-up tab is). Trace a circle around the mug – this is how your light is going to fit through. DON’T COVER THE CIRCLE WITH ROPE (you can see I accidentally did, so technically you can, but you’ll have to cut some rope out of the way).
2. Grab a medium-sized metal bowl (it’s going to get glue on it, but it washes out). Then get out your drop cloth on the floor, get your jute ready, and pour the mod podge into the medium-sized bowl until it covers the bottom, with about an inch filled.
3. Put on your gloves. Unravel a good chunk of the jute and place the unraveled pieces into the bowl. Toss the rope in glue – like you’re saucing some spaghetti. Grab the loose end with one hand, and wrap your other hand around the rope. Gently pull the rope through to get the excess glue off. Place the glued-up rope onto the drop cloth and repeat once more.
4. Once you have a decent amount of rope to start with, begin wrapping your rope around the balloon. I started with the end at the bottom (in the event it didn’t stick, I didn’t want it to unravel downwards) and wrapped it all the way around. Then I rotated the balloon to be able to wrap another section. Keep repeating this until you run out of glued rope.
Note two things: as I mentioned, try not to cover the bottom as that’s how you’ll get your hand and your light bulb into the fixture. Additionally, try to keep a little bit of space in the top for the fixture to slide through easily – this will be much smaller, say half an inch of space). Also, twice my rope started to dangle in spots and become loose. I decided it was worth starting over to get the best result. So I would unravel the entire thing and restart. Trust me, it is worth it.
5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until you’re happy with how much rope is left on your balloon. At certain times, I found it challenging to wrap the rope in a different direction (which is the look I wanted), so I’d cut the rope, then start again in another direction.
6. Once your happy with how much rope is on your ballon, leave it for 48 hours to dry.
7. After 48 hours, you can pop the balloon (I just used scissors at the bottom) and remove it from the inside. VOILA! You have the prettiest part of your fixture.
8. Feed the cord of the Ikea light kit through your bottom hold out of the top. You may need a few tries before you find the centre.
9. Set up and install the light per the instructions on the Ikea light (they are awful instructions, and McGregor handled this part for me). Flip the switch on and away you go!!!