by Maria
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Diy modern ceiling light

Make this cool diy modern ceiling light for just $60. The original costs $800!

Lamps and lights are some of my favourite home decor accessories, together with mirrors and planters. And I especially like them as diy projects, such as my diy brass lamp and my diy swing arm wall lamp.

I’m not the only home decor fan in my family. My eldest sister love home decor too. Her style is more traditional than mine (and her budget way bigger) but she’s got fine taste. Every time I go to her house, I fall in love with a vase, or a chair, or as in this case, the ceiling light above her dining table.

Last Christmas eve we had dinner at her home and I was smitten with her ceiling light. When I was changing my small living room decor I was looking for a modern ceiling light that was quite big but at the same time, quite light, so it wouldn’t draw the attention away from the big window.

My sister’s ceiling light came to mind and I knew it was a potential diy.



At one point, I was going to use food cans (yup, like those you get soup in)for the shades, but they didn’t let enough light through!

Materials needed to make this diy modern ceiling light

  • 1 round piece of wood (I used a cutting board)
  • 6 pieces of wood 2″ in thickness x 10″ in length
  • 6 pieces of wood 2″ in thickness x 5″ in length
  • Sandpaper
  • 3 lamp shades. I used 3 tupperware because I wanted transparent lamp shades, but you can use regular lamp shades
  • Copper pipe 1/2″ in diameter x 35″ in length
  • 1 threaded hollow tube 35″ in length *
  • 4 threaded hollow tube 2″ in length *
  • 1 nut *
  • 1 washer *
  • 3 bulb sockets
  • 10 feet of transparent cable (that’s what I used and I think it looks good but you can use whatever you feel like)
  • 6 wing nuts *
  • 6 screws *
  • 6 wood screws 2 in long
  • 1 screw terminal
  • 3 female loop *
  • Small plastic glass (I used a metal one and it’s ten times harder to drill through and it looks worse)
  • Wood glue
  • Clear matt varnish
  • Black spray paint and gold spray paint

* all of these pieces are 1/8″

Materials to hang your ceiling light

  • 6.5 feet of fabric cable. You choose the color
  • 1 female loop*
  • 1 black plastic cord grip
  • 1 lamp holder
  • 1 screw hook and 1 plastic wall plug


  • Miter box with saw
  • Drill
  • Wood drill bit (the size that fits the thread of a regular lamp)
  • Wall drill bit
  • Screwdriver
  • Brush
  • Tape measure and ruler

I know, it does sound like a lot of stuff but I got almost everything from the same diy store, so getting the bits won’t take you that much time.

Step 1. Cut the pieces of wood

Using the miter box and the saw, cut all the pieces of wood the sizes indicated.

Step 2. Drill holes in the pieces of wood

Three of the longest pieces need 4 holes, two on each side: one for the cable and another one for the screw that will attach it to the other piece of wood. Drill a hole 3/4″ from each edge and another one 2″ from each of the edges.

The other three longest pieces need two holes on one side (3/4″ and 2″, like before) and only one on the other side (2″ from the edge).

The smaller pieces only need one hole. Three of them need the hole to be 1.5″ from the edge, the other three 3/4″ from the edge.

Drill the round piece of wood right in the very center.

Thoroughly sand all the pieces before moving onto the next step.

Step 3. Assemble the central structure

Use the tape measure to measure the circumference of the round piece and make 3 equidistant marks. Draw a straight line from these three marks to the hole in the center. Glue the three small pieces of wood which only have one hole in them along these marks. They should overhand bu a couple of inches, as in the picture.

This diy ceiling light is pretty lightweight but I’m a big believer in making things extra safe so I won’t kill any of my dinner guests. Death by ceiling light – how romantic! Screw the three pieces into the round piece. You may need to drill a small hole beforehand so the screws go in easily.

Glue these three pieces to the other three smaller pieces left. Apply glue from the hole onwards and place the other piece on top at right angle.

Step 4. Varnish all the ceiling light wood pieces

Step 5. Wire the light sockets

Cut the transparent cable in 3 pieces. Wiring the light sockets is veeeery easy. Check out how to do it on this post.

Step 6. Spray paint the metal pieces

Spray paint the screws and nut gold, then the copper pipe and plastic glass black.

Step 7. Pierce the plastic bits

This photo above show why I recommend using plastic instead of metal. Drilling a small piece of metal is not that easy if you’re looking for a neat result. On the other hand it is very easy to pierce plastic with a lit cigarette.

Step 8. Put the arms together

Now that you’ve got all the pieces cut, sanded, painted and varnished it’s time to have fun. Start by piecing the arms together as you see in these pics.

Step 9. Put the lampshades on

Screw a threaded hollow tube on each light socket. Then put the tubes through the holes in the lampshades and the arms and fixed them, screwing the female loops. Put the cables through the holes on the arms.

Step 10. Connect the cables

Put the three cables (one for each arm) through the hole on the little plastic glass and connect them using the screww terminal. I explained how to do this on this diy vanity for a small space post.

Put the long threaded tube through the copper pie so that it sticks out at both ends. Put one end of the tube through the hole in the wooden round piece and fix it in place using the nut and the washer. On the other end, screw the female loop left.

Put the fabric cable through the cord grip and the lamp holder. To put a fabric cable through a small hole and stop the fabric from staying behind you need to wrap the end of the cable in tape.

Now take the other end of the fabric cable and put it all the way down the threaded tube inside the copper pipe. This will be quite difficult to do because the tube is long and narrow. To make it easier (or even possible at all) strip the bit that will go inside the tube off the fabric.

Once you’ve put it through the tube, connect it to the other cables using the screw terminal inside the small plastic glass. Use a small wood screw to fixate the small plastic glass to the centeral piece of wood.

That’s it. You’re done! Your diy modern ceiling light is finished and ready to be hung from your ceiling and connected to the electricity.

The old light fixture left a horrible mark when I took it off, so I bought a ceiling medallion to cover it. I love the contrast betweem the classic medallion and the modern ceiling light.

The edison bulbs really compliment the diy modern ceiling light design.



After seeing this post I bet your first impression is ‘That sounds like a hell lotta work!!’. I promise it looks far more complicated and harder than it really is. After cutting and varnishing I only needed about an hour to piece the modern ceiling light together..

My ceiling light has only 3 arms because I didn’t want it to be too big or showy, but it would look even better with another three arms (which I will do the minute we move to a house with a bigger living room).

My sister bought her lamp for $800. The materials needed to build this diy version cost only $60. A pretty big saving, no?

As I said before, I placed a ceiling medallion to cover the mess left by the previous light fixture. The question is, do you think I should leave it as it is o paint it black? Mick goes with leaving it but I’m really curious to see what the black would look like. Opinions?

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