Three's a Charm: A DIY Foyer Light Fixture, Part 2.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Ok!  So right, I skipped around and skipped over the second half of this fancy pants DIY wood pendant light fixture build for ya.  But, I think the interlude was worth it.

Last we left off, I was working on the uh, where was I, the circle junction that everything runs through, the swoopy parts and the pendant kit* join together here.

After multiple attempts, two circles were created:  one with notches for assembly and one slightly smaller in diameter for construction strength.

Printing the circles from AutoCAD* made it wayyy easy to cut them out on the bandsaw.  A splash of spray mount,* lightly stick 'em on the plywood and I freehanded, slowly, the cuts.  There are a bazillion tutorials out there on how to rig a bandsaw jig for perfect circles, yes I know; I wasn't up for it.

assembling supplies
Be sure to look for a pendant kit that's meant to hold a shade, it has the screw-on part that holds everything together.  Getting ready to cut circles.

After that, snip out the notches using the bandsaw again.

notches cut in wood fixture base
Cutie lil' notches nipped out here.
Oh hey, if you’re new to this blog, click to subscribe to get the drawings I created for this fixture for FREE.  If you’re already subscribed, I’ll send them out to you, no need to do anything.  

Ok, once I had both circles, a smear of Gorilla glue,* some clamps, and some time for that sandwich to set up.

All righty!   Let's drill out the pendant kit hole.  Here I realized I needed a very large Forstner bit that I didn't already own.  Ah rats.  Inch and 5/8* to be exact.  See, I like Forstner bits* as they drill out suuuuper clean, neat holes.

Clamped everything down on top of some scrap wood then with my spiffy zippy new corded drill,* dashed that hole right through.  Whew, cool!

drilling out pendant fixture hole with Forstner bit
Kind of a messy shot here but top, no hole, bottom, big hole.

Turns out the hole was a wee small but no worries, a few laps around with the flap wheel* gizmo attached to my rotary tool* and the pendant kit fit snug as a bug.

fitting pendant lamp parts into wood base
Yay it fits!  Woot, progress!!
Next, math.  Mapping out the notches on the swoopy parts.  Ah math.  I had it wrong several times but eventually got the layout to work.
cutting notches in wood shapes
Eighteen swoopy parts so nine different notches.  Below, notches cut and pieces numbered with tape.
Righty-o, let's get this puppy sanded and stained and done!  Yeah!

So for weeks, I was trying to figure out what darn color to stain this new light fixture and how to seal up the wood nicely.  As in, not looking coated in crackly plastic like most water-based polyurethanes finish out.

And of course again, I was immobilized by too many choices, too many what-if's, should I match it to...or what about dark walnut....or should I go this route or that route or ooomg, stop!

After too much testing, I ceased all deliberations and picked one and resolved that this was going to be The One like it or not, better like it, time to move on.  Totally still doubted myself.

Lots of sanding ensued in the meantime though, lots of sanding.  Both sides, edges, sanding sanding sanding.  So heh, that provided me plenty of too much time to ponder the stain verdict.  No, sticking with it.  Golden Mahogany, FTW.

Right, so as I mentioned last time, I sanded both sides with 100 grit and 400 grit sandpapers* as well as used that flap wheel-y thingamajig for the edges.  All of these items worked well and their use is encouraged.

Time to stain.  Hal-le-frickin'-lujah.

First though, a douse of wood conditioner as I discovered during a test that this helped even out the differences in the good side/bad sides of the plywood.

prepping wood shapes with wood conditioner
Conditioned and feeeelin' good.
If you've never used wood conditioner* before, please do.  It may be incredibly smelly but it is incredibly valuable in ensuring your stain job is even and deep and not splotchy.  Very much worth the extra expense and effort.

Stain!  Whooie was I nervous, freaking out if it was the right color choice.  Too late now, bitches.

golden mahogany wood stain on wood shapes
Ok.  Just one coat of stain I went with.  Or, I think so, can't remember.  Anyway....

I tried to stain the edges but as we all know, staining edges of plywood is tricky.  In the end, I dunno why this struck me, but I ended up using a black Sharpie* on the edges.  A smidge of contrast and visual interest, break up the monotony of the one solid color of stain.

Then I could relax.  Mostly.  What if this color doesn't look good, was my next stressor but ah, too late. And fine.  It was fine.

Using good ol' paste wax,* I sealed up both sides with two coats and buffed it to a nice semi-matte-ish, non-plastic-looking sheen using heh, I think it's a car wax buffer* I picked up at Menards.  Mock all you want, this doohickey made instant, consistent work of that tedious task.

sealing wood shapes with paste wax
Slathering 'em up in paste wax!
Assembly time!  Now, heh, I tried four different methods here and only one worked:  super glue.*  Just wedging the notches together, nope.  A glue* that claimed it was stronger than Gorilla glue?  Definitely not.  Gorilla glue?  Nope!  How many times parts fell off, omg, I was losing my marbles until super glue, yes.  

PC universal glue attempt
This glue did not work for this project.  At all.  It has for other things but not this.
Now, if you're smart and use super glue first off, you can assemble the light part into the circle then hang it and glue in the swoopy bits and save yourself monster headaches and major time.

I set the circle on a tall piece of 4x4 and worked my way around.

gluing and assembling light fixture
I'm not sure how many times I glued these parts on.  Too many.
Then it was time to hang!  And aw jeez, that's when I discovered the fixture base, the thing is a foreign device which means the cover at top is smaller than American ones.  Arrgg!  Rats.

A bit of rigging with parts I had and parts I had to pick up, in combination with the recessed can conversion kit, a huge trim of the cord, and it was in and up and parts were not falling off and omg, omg, it is done.

light fixture installation rigging pieces and parts
So yeah, the silver piece at top there, the screw holes wouldn't align with the existing so I attached it to another bracket then hung the fixture.  

I popped in an incandescent retro-y Edison bulb* (incandescent as there's a regular dimmer switch in the wall, not one meant for LEDs and really, we rarely turn the light on here) for the look and the ambiance it delivers, turned on the fixture and....

DIY pendant light fixture wood with Edison bulb

...Hot damn, people!  Wow!  

DIY wood pendant light fixture build for foyer

Unexpectedly, it throws around suuuuupppper cool shadows too!  Nice!

Mike of course totally missed seeing this fixture upon his arrival home that evening but after I casually nudged his attention appropriately, he flipped out in joy.  He was so excited!  It was so cool.  He loved it.  Loved it!  Loved adjusting the dimmer, admiring the cool shadows, loves the whole damn thing.

view of foyer with new wood cutout pendant DIY fixture
Little blurry here and yes that horrifying carpet needs to go I know I know I know.  And yes, what a weird location for the light and yes I thought about swagging it but opted not to.  Looks good against the paint job.

close up DIY wood pendant light fixture

Way cool fixture.  Wow.

DIY plywood foyer light fixture unlit

I am SO happy with this nifty little DIY project, I can't even begin to tell you.

finished plywood and stained DIY light fixture in foyer

So proud of myself too.  Obviously cuz how many more photos of the darn thing can I squash in here, heh.

Nice, right?!?!

gray painted wall mural with DIY plywood pendant light fixture

Yay!  Three's a charm and this foyer light fixture is done, dee-ooh-enn-eee done done done!  Woot, butt wiggle dance!

And hey, again, if you're new to this neck of the woods and want to recreate this light fixture using my drawings for yourself, click here to subscribe and the drawings will be automatically sent to you.  Don't forget to check your spam box!

To read about the shades of gray paint, click here!

To read about the painted stripes before the shades of gray, click here!

*The pendant kits, spray mount, Gorilla glues, Forstner bits, corded drills, flap wheels, rotary tools, 400 grit sandpapers, wood conditioners, Sharpies, paste wax, power buffers, super glues, PC Universal Products/PC Universal Glue, and Edison bulbs are Amazon affiliate links.  The AutoCAD link is an affiliate subscription link.  Mwah, thanks!  Please see the "boring stuff" tab for more info.


  1. LOVE it!! You did such a great job.

  2. You light is very clever! I would like to know more about the unusual wall in the photo please.

    1. Thank you! And thank you! You can read about the Painting Shades of Gray here:

  3. Best Light DIY i have seen in a long time!!! Just Stunning

    1. That's the best DIY compliment I've seen in a long time, thank you very much!

  4. Love the light...also the painted wall. Your next page with the mural...if you do anything like that again, put it on canvas so if you don’t like it later, you can sell it. I know it must have been hours worth of work to finish....then to paint over it😢...but your stripes work.

    1. Thank you very much! Oh what a fantastic idea, that would be a stellar way for renters to have hand painted murals plus they'd be portable -- great thinking! Indeed, it was a bunch of work but for me, it's fun to keep changing things up! Thanks so much for taking the time to comment!


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