A step by step tutorial for creating a driftwood pendant light. Pendant lights – they’re everywhere in all shapes and sizes and I’ve seen a driftwood pendant light or two, usually very expensive, so I wanted to create my own and see just how easy or difficult as the case may be to make one. As it turns out, it’s not that hard although it takes a little practice and the right tools but once you get that down, it’s fairly simple.
To start this project you are going to need a good piece of driftwood and while the driftwood pendant light I’m showing here is a triple light, you can get kits for singles or doubles. You can use a kit if you wish, which is what I used here, this made it a little easier the first time around. You can buy kits at Home Depot or Lowe’s and they include all the electrical – you just need to have a nice piece of driftwood and choose your light covers from an overwhelming and vast array of beautiful pendant covers. You are bound to find something to compliment a driftwood pendant light and any decor. See below for several options as I had a hard time choosing. Thankfully, they are easy to change out and you can change them with the seasons like you do throw pillows!
If you don’t want to use a kit, it’s also fairly easy to use mason jars or wine bottles as shades and you can purchase threaded base sockets for housing bulbs and attaching your cords; purchase electrical cording and design your own ceiling mount to attach to your driftwood.
For my project, I started with a piece of cypress driftwood I found in the swamps of Florida and had to soak it for about 4 days in the bathtub using the How to Make Your Own Driftwood method and then letting it dry in the sun before I could use it.
Here is a list tools and items you will need for this Driftwood Pendant Light Project:
- Pendant Light Kit (3 lights)
- Ferrules sized to fit your wire (16)
- 3/16″ x 3″ Toggle Bolts (2)
- 3/16″ x 3″ Eye Bolts (2)
- Screw Eyes (2) Large ( I used #206 size)
- Wire cut to length (I used heavy duty wire but you may want to try heavy duty picture hanging wire)
- Spray Paint to best match your driftwood (this will be used to paint your wire and eye bolts)
- Drill & Bits
- Ferrule Crimping Tool
- Light Covers
These instructions are for a purchased pendant light kit.
1. The first step is to separate the electrical wires and pull them back through the fixture.
2. Drill 2 holes on each end of the light mount close to the holes for the electrical cord and just big enough to pass your wire through. If you decide to use heavy duty wire and not picture framing wire – be very careful not to fray your ends as you will have a difficult time passing the ends through the ferrules unless you have a very good wire cutter on hand.
2. Line up the holes in the “light fixture mount” to your driftwood piece and drill holes in the driftwood. Then pass the electrical cord through starting from the bottom of the driftwood.
3. Because the driftwood will require additional support to hold the weight, you will need to place two screw eyes on each end of the driftwood piece. I placed them as near as possible to the electrical cord so that I could wrap the supporting wire around the electrical cord in order to camouflage the wire. I also pre-drilled the holes before screwing in the screw eyes and spray painted them a color as close to the driftwood as possible.
4. At this point, your need to attached the supplied metal bracket to the electrical box per the instructions. Please be sure to turn off the electricity when working with electrical wiring and test for live wires.
5. Using the lighting fixture mount as a guide, mark the ceiling where you’ve drilled the holes in the lighting fixture mount for inserting the wire. I used an old artist’s paint brush and put colored wax on the tip, then insert the tip through the hole to mark the ceiling where I needed to drill the hole to insert the toggle bolts. Drill the holes and insert the toggle bolts but use 3″ eye bolts in place of the screws that come with the toggle bolts so you have an eye bolt in the ceiling. These eye bolts will be covered by the lighting fixture mount so you won’t see them.
7. There are different ways to support the weight of the driftwood. I used wire which was extremely difficult to cut and this made it impossible to get a clean edge to insert into the ferrule once the ends began to fray. I even went back to Home Depot and asked for a tool to cut the wire and they tried several and they had no tool that would cut the wire so the next time I will use something else like maybe picture hanging wire which I find easier to cut and much more pliable.
You may need two or three people to help you as you attach all the electrical wires and support wires.
8. Tentatively attach a length of wire onto each eye bolt in the ceiling and measure out the height of your fixture adjusting the electrical cord and support wires accordingly. When you have figured out the height you want, secure at the top only, by threading the wire first through two ferrules then through the eye bolt loop, loop the wire through the eye bolt a second time and then back through the ferrules before pinching closed with a good ferrule crimping tool. At this point, you’ve only attached the wire to the ceiling eye bolts and they’re still not attached to the eye screws on the driftwood piece.
9. If you haven’t done so already, thread the wire down through the holes in the light fixture mount before attaching the light fixture mount to the metal bracket using the two long screws provided.
10. Wrap the wire slowly around the electrical cord as you bring it down to the screw eye in the driftwood then pass two ferrules through the wire, pass it through the screw eye twice and then up through the ferrule stops before securing with a ferrule crimping tool. Cut or hide any excess.
12. Now let it hang and make any needed adjustments.
The hard part is choosing your shades.