A Custom DIY Light Fixture of Pallet Wood Blocks.

Saturday, November 20, 2021

pallet wood blocks light fixture

So here's a case where I did something stupid but it somehow panned out, sorta but not really, but sorta, but I would not encourage it, in fact, bad idea:  a custom DIY light fixture of pallet wood blocks.  

Ok, but bear with me here because the premise is sound and I have suggestions for other materials to use.  I probably should not present this lest you go forth and attempt it but let me say, don't.  

Pursue my other suitable recommended materials.  Please.  This is for entertainment purposes only.  Mine and yours.

In my attempts to gussy up the record player area, having re-fashioned the album storage shelf unit and heh, redoing the wall for I dunno, maybe the umpteenth time (hand-painted wall mural then into stripes and then into a wallpaper mural only to remove that and wallpaper again...), I was in need of a light fixture.

But, me.  Not any ol' light fixture.

Nope.  Not any.  After shopping around the interwebs, I was coming up dry so what do I do?  Build it. 

They're one of a kind.  Custom.  Your own creation.  And I encourage that for sure.  

Obviously be extra special careful with electricity and wiring as that can go haywire and burn your house down.  Do not attempt to create a light fixture of your own if you feel the least bit squeamish or unsure of yourself.**

I'm second-guessing my urge to share this with you.

Again, entertainment purposes here.  Good for a chuckle.

Sooo, I was over by Twitchy for who knows what and I hoarded a pile of little pallet wood blocks.  They were cool, had stamps on them, had patina, cool knots, just all around cool.  No idea why I grabbed them or for what ultimate purpose.

pallet wood blocks and LED light fixture parts
Pieces and parts prep.
Turns out, it was this DIY light fixture.

After doing plenty of pondering, oh the pondering, I used a store-bought fixture and built my custom shell around it with the pallet wood blocks.

Now, the blocks are of a certain size, right?  So that meant finding a fixture to fit within those constraints.  Then, it needed to plug in.  Too, it also had to have wiring that was easy to manipulate.  Lastly, it needed to be budget-friendly but that's a given.

All righty, so I found this fixture at Menards, like an under cabinet light, a 22" LED strip light.*  Fit the criteria, done.

Back home, it was cut, drill, screw, build, hack, stick, assembly time.

First I hacked up the light fixture wiring.  I must say, I was super proud of myself here as I wasn't sure it was going to work.  Pew pew, it did!

Why did I need to hack up the wiring?  The cord on the fixture itself was way too short.  Fixture high up, plug down low.

No problem, just use a lamp cord* from your local home improvement store. 

It's kind of brainless wiring too:  snip the cord of the fixture, strip back some of the plastic housing to expose the wires using a pair of snips* or you can get a fancy wire stripper.*

rewiring LED light fixture with lamp cord
Apologies for the out of focus shot here, sheesh.  
Twist one wire to one wire on the lamp cord, secure with a wire nut* very very securely, then repeat with the other wire.  Plug in the fixture to test and bam, light!  Easy as pie.


So as I wasn't convinced this whole shebang was going to work, I didn't invest in a ton of construction effort so the following is gonna look a slack-y.

I aligned the blocks next to each other long enough to hold the strip light, making sure to set the coolest faces outwards.  I checked each block carefully for screws or nails or other metal bits and pulled out everything I found.  Foreshadowing.

Next I dabbed some wood glue* on top of each block and took a strip of wood lath scrap I had laying around, smushed it atop...

dabbing wood glue to top of pallet block

...then sank a screw* into each block through the lath.  Eh, secure enough it seemed.

screwing wood blocks to wood lath piece

So ok.  Next I used my spiffy palm router* to dig out a trench to fit the strip light.  This took two passes to get deep enough.  Gasping yet?

first pass of palm router through wood blocks
First pass through.

results of first pass through pallet blocks with router
First pass through results.
And here is exactly why you should not use pallet wood blocks for this project because there are hidden nails and screws and metal bits inside that you can't see.  You can blow up your tool, damage your tool, hurt yourself, shoot your eye out, or just ruin your day.  Bad.  Bad.

deeper trench dug with palm router in wood blocks
Second pass through results.  Hidden metal bits sheared within.  Bad.  Fixture sits hidden though.
My recommendations for materials other than pallet wood blocks:
  • 3x3 post cut up
  • 4x4 post cut up
  • ok, any size post cut up (but not pressure treated)
  • 2x4's cut and glued together
  • if you're real patient, cut pieces of wood lath and glue together (that'd be real cool)
  • wood dowels
  • craft wood 
  • scrap wood cut and glued together
  • anything without metal bits hidden inside
Age, paint, or stain at will.  Sure, it won't have the same patina and texture, both of which is what I desired with these blocks, but you'll be safe.

So, heh, ok next, this is nutty but it worked.  Next I stuck the strip light to the wood blocks with more of that T-Rex mounting tape.*  Seriously, it's held all year, no issues.  Strong stuff!  Highly recommended!

using T-Rex mounting tape to secure LED light fixture inside
Rawr, love this T-Rex tape!
All right, so with a keyhole bracket* set right (close enough) to the center, center of the weight so it balances itself, not center center of the fixture, up on the wall it went.

using keyhole bracket to mount to wall
Tucked the cord behind the swanky mirror I picked up at Habitat ReStore (thank goodness I hid their stuff for sale postings on Facebook; sometimes ignorance is bliss), and voila!  Custom DIY pallet wood blocks light fixture!

Plug it in and........    ..........

Oh my word, the light coming off of this fixture is terrible.  Just terrible.  Horrific, I'd say.

It's so bad it doesn't even seem to light anything up -- ok that's odd.  When it's on, the quality of light is so horrendous, it's hard to see.  It seems like the light isn't even on.  I know I'm making zero sense.

finished pallet wood blocks light fixture DIY

It's too bright, it's too weird, it casts more shadows than light, and I don't have the right words to explain the terrible quality of light.

pallet wood blocks light fixture on wall
Still loving them kitchen drawers!
But, I'm hosed on the light fixture since I clipped and snipped and altered it, I can't return it.  Out the ten or so bucks that it was.  Rats.

pallet wood blocks light fixture

Sooo, I'll shop around for something else that will fit in the hollowed out blocks although Mike wants to move one of his neon signs here.  We shall see.  Heh, another in a long line of keep-you-posted's!

Want more about this particular area of our home?  Click here!

DIY light fixture made of pallet wood blocks

*The strip lights, lamp cords, snips, wire strippers, wire nuts, wood glue, wood screws, palm routers, T-Rex mounting tape, and keyhole brackets are Amazon affiliate links.  Mwah, thanks!  Please see the "boring stuff" tab for more info.

**Disclaimer:  Electricity is dangerous.  It can hurt you.  It can kill you.  Bad wiring can burn your house down.  It's best to hire a qualified, licensed electrician if you don't know how to wire things.  Do not attempt to wire anything without the proper knowledge.  Do not ever take wiring advice from me.  And do not blow your house up. 


  1. Props for trying, you'd always wonder if you hadn't. I like where you were going with it. Hey, you can use the hollowed out block for say, putting in small succulents and either hanging it somewhere or placing it on a table as a centerpiece of sorts. Or place a row slim decorative candles...or, you'll think of something great at 3 am in the morning.

    I am especially digging that wallpaper and mirror. Très chic.

    Wait, something just occurred to me! Remember that vase you did a while ago where you glued those wooden sticks all around it for a spectacular Anthro look? Why not do something like that to an existing long light fixture? Could look really neat.

    1. I have to say, your thought process is exactly what I hope for by scribbling out this blog -- I jazzed your imagination and now you're thinking about all the possibilities. I love it, love it! Thank you so much for taking the time to share your ideas, truly, it's exhilarating!

      Yes, though I don't know squat about succulents, I imagine you could use a hollowed out block for them. You might have to prep the insides somehow. But totally, candle holders for sure, just drill a nice hole! And what a stellar idea, do the same dowel vase idea on a fixture, *mwah*, brilliance. Yes.

      Thanks on the wallpaper and mirror! I actually tried a bit to be a decorator here for a change.

      Thanks so much for the most awesome words and all your great ideas!

  2. This is the idea re. succulents: https://sgplants.com/products/redwood-succulent-trough


    you can do air plants (no fuss, no muss): https://fleurdetroit.com/blogs/journal/how-to-care-for-air-plants

    So many cool things to do with that piece including fashioning different kind of light bulbs inside if you really want to stick with making it a light fixture. Which I suspect you do or you won't rest at night. ;D

    1. You, I am sending you virtual hugs. Thank you for the links! And you totally just solved an air plant problem I've got, an extra hug for that.

      I absolutely wish I could spend my whole day working through your ideas now! And you're right, I'm gonna be up all night whirling with thoughts! I am beyond thrilled you see a zillion possibilities here, that makes my day big time.

      Thank you so very much! Mwah, thank you!


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