My DIY semi-flush ceiling light for my music room is finished!
I’m really proud of how it turned out, and quite honestly, it was a lot more work than I had anticipated. The more I worked on mine, the more I came to realize that the Coleen & Company price just might be justified. 😀
Yesterday I showed you how I built the actual light box. After I finished building it, I treated it just a like any other building project by wood filling the nail holes, sanding everything smooth, and caulking all of the cracks. Then I painted the whole thing white. I used the same Behr Polar Bear white that I use on all of my trim. And to finish off the light box, I gold leafed the bottom scalloped detail on the outside and inside of the light box, and then gave the whole thing about three coats of clear sealer spray.
Then I needed to build a canopy to go at the ceiling that would actually hold the entire light fixture. I started by cutting a 5-inch square from a scrap piece of 1/2-inch plywood, and then cut and attached panel moulding (purchased at Home Depot by the foot) around the edges.
Here’s how it looked from the other side (the side that would go against the ceiling).
Then I drilled all of the holes. I needed two small holes centered on the canopy. These would be the holes that actually attach to the metal crossbar on the junction box in the ceiling. I also needed four 3/8-inch holes for the loops that would hold the chains of the light fixture. I learned the hard way that it’s better to drill from the back to the front. I drilled the first large hole (bottom left) from the front to the back, and the drill bit ripped off some of the top veneer. The others that I drilled from the back to the front look very clean.
This isn’t the metal crossbar that I used (I ended up using a swivel crossbar so that I could square the wood canopy perfectly on my ceiling), but the holes are uniform on most crossbars, so this is the one I used to determine spacing. Of course, the crossbar goes on the other side, but you can see how I used it to space the small middle holes and then test it afterwards to be sure the screws from the crossbar would fit through the wood canopy.
In the large holes, I attached the loops. Before I attached them, I cut them so that they were hooks instead of full loops. My decorative chain is very thick, and once you spread a link apart to get it around a loop, it’s impossible to get it back perfectly, and it looks terrible. So in order not to destroy my chain, I wanted to use hooks both on the canopy and on the light box so that I could just slip the chain onto the hooks on either end. I just used wire cutters to cut through the loops. Also, for some strange reason, these loops (from Lowe’s) come two to a package, and each package has a bright brass loop and a dark brown loop. Since mine would be painted, I didn’t mind.
And on the back, I secured the loops with a lock washer and nut. Somehow I managed to lose my last shiny new nut, so on the top right loop I had to use an old rusted one that I pulled off of an old light in my garage. That’s why it looks so strange…and ugly. But it won’t show.
On the front of the canopy, I wood filled all of the cracks, sanded them smoothly, primed, painted, and then gold leafed the canopy to match the scalloped edge on the light box.
Most canopies are made of metal. Obviously mine was made of wood, and I didn’t want to just put it up against the junction box without protecting the back somehow. I considered cutting pieces of metal (something like flashing) and lining the back of the canopy with that. But instead, I opted to coat the entire thing with four coats of this liquid electrical tape. It’s really thick and stinks to high heaven, but it’s actually electrical tape in liquid form, so I figured that once my four thick coats of liquid electrical tape dried, the back of my canopy would be perfectly safe.
Now here’s where things get a little tricky and possibly very confusing. Normally at this point, I would wire up the entire light fixture — a wire coming from each light socket, and all four of those wires connecting to one wire that would be fed up through one of the chains, through the canopy, and into the ceiling junction box, where it would be connected to the house wiring.
The problem was that in order to wire up the entire light first, and then hang the light in the normal way, I would need an extra set of hands to be there to hold the light up while I connected the wires in the junction box, before I could attach the canopy. Well, I didn’t feel like calling in reinforcements. I wanted to figure it out myself. So in order to make this a one-person job, I wired everything in the complete opposite order that it’s generally wired.
That means that I started by cutting a long piece of wire and attaching the wire to the house wiring in the junction box, and then I fed the wire through one of the loops, and attached the canopy to the crossbar.
Next I hung the chains and wove the wire through the back left chain.
Then I hung the light box on the chains.
I determined about how long the wire coming from the ceiling needed to be, and cut off the excess. Then I cut four lengths of wire (one for each light socket) and I attached all of those wires together. I’m not going to go in depth on wiring. If you’re not familiar with wiring, then you really need to leave this part to someone else. But the basic process is that you wire all of your neutral wires (white or ribbed wires) together, and all of your hot (black or smooth) wires together using a wire nut and electrical tape.
I didn’t want my wire connections to be right against the wood crossbar on my light box, but unfortunately there’s no such thing as a tiny plastic junction box for things like this. So I kind of created my own junction box (or in this case, a junction tube) by cutting a piece of 1 1/4″ PVC plumbing pipe and threading all of the wires through the tube. My wires were secured and wrapped really well, but I still made sure that the neutrals were pointing the opposite direction from the hots as I put them into the tube. I secured my junction tube to the wood crossbar using a zip tie.
And then I ran one wire to each of the light sockets.
I threaded the wire through the opening in the hickey, and up through the hole in the light socket. Then the wires separated (neutral to one side, and hot to the other) and connected to the screws underneath the cardboard covers on each socket. The hot (black or smooth) wire goes to the gold screw, and the neutral (white or ribbed) wire goes to the silver screw. Just follow the directions on the back of the package that the light sockets come in.
And finally, I added the plastic sleeves (these aren’t optional, by the way) and the light bulbs.
Now like I said, I did things completely backwards simply because I didn’t have an extra set of hands to help me install a completely wired ceiling light. If you have an extra set of hands to help you, then you could wire it the normal way — start by wiring the light sockets, then connect those four wires to a main wire, feed that main wire up through the chain, and through the loop in the ceiling canopy. Then have someone hold the ceiling light while you connect the wires in the ceiling junction box, and then attach the canopy to the metal crossbar, and you’re done.
And once I added the glass to the bottom, it was finished! I tried to take a picture with the light on, but I still haven’t figured out how to do that. But at least you can see that the light does, in fact, work.
The light at its widest point is about 18″ x 18″.
The light is made so that the glass can be removed to change the light bulbs. But when I was on the ladder, I realized that it’s probably just as easy to reach over the top to change the light bulbs. In fact, since nothing has to be taken apart that way, and I won’t risk dropping and breaking the glass, it would be a lot easier. My kitchen light is actually made that way with non-removable glass where you have to reach over the top.
So that’s it! That’s my DIY ceiling light, made complete from scratch, and inspired by the Coleen & Company Daphne light. So how much did mine cost? Here’s the breakdown:
- One 8-foot length of casing moulding from Lowe’s: $27
- One 10-foot length of lattice from Home Depot: $8
- One 8-foot length of scalloped trim from Home Depot: $8.40
- Frosted glass from local glass shop (Freddy’s Glass): $38
- One package of 6-inch threaded nipples from Home Depot: $4.20
- Two packages of lighting loops from Lowe’s: $4
- Two 12-count packages of brass hex nuts from Home Depot: $6
- Two packages of candelabra keyless light sockets from Home Depot: $11.85
- Two packages of candelabra socket covers from Home Depot: $7.30
- Pre-packaged lighting wire from Home Depot: $7.35
- Swivel crossbar from Home Depot: $3.45
- 8 3/4-inch nipples and 4 hickeys from local lighting shop (The Village Lamplighter): $8.50
- Hot glue and wood glue: on hand
- Plywood and trim for canopy: on hand (scraps)
- PVC pipe from Home Depot: $1.90
- Two packages of screw hooks from Home Depot: $1.95
- Rectangular chain from Grand Brass: $106.95 (Yep, that was a splurge. Regular chain would have been about $20 from Home Depot.)
- GRAND TOTAL: $244.85
It wasn’t exactly a cheap light, but it’s a heck of a lot cheaper than $2800!! And if I had been satisfied with regular chain, that would have brought the price to less than $150. Either way, I don’t think it’s a bad price for a custom light!
Well, I finally started on my music room ceiling light. I decided to make my own after searching and searching (literally for months) and not finding anything I liked and that was in my price range for that room. I did come across a couple of semi-flush lights that I absolutely loved from a company called Coleen & Company, but there’s just no way I could ever pay $2800 for one light. So I decided to make a light inspired by their Daphne Semi Flush light.
Unfortunately, I worked on it over the last three days, and still haven’t finished it. But that’s probably a good thing because even with only part of the project to show you today, I have 35 (!!) pictures to show you. So are you ready for the longest post ever that doesn’t actually end with a finished project? 😀 Here goes…
I started with this really pretty casing moulding that I found at Lowe’s. It’s sold by the 8-foot length, and I just needed one. Then I cut four 18-inch lengths, mitered on the corners. I also used some scrap MDF (I should have used real wood for this!!) and cut some small triangular pieces for the corners using my miter saw.
I put the moulding pieces together using wood glue and my 18-gauge nail gun, and then added the corner pieces using both wood glue and high temp hot glue.
Here’s what it looked like at this point…
After using my nail gun to make the main box, I realized that it would be a heck of a lot easier and cleaner to put the rest of the light box together with just wood glue and high temp hot glue. If I had to do it over again, I would just use hot glue and wood glue for the whole thing. The hot glue holds it immediately, and the wood glue forms a long-lasting permanent bond. There’s no need for nails. So just assume from this point forward that every single piece of this light is attached with both wood glue and hot glue, unless I state otherwise.
Anyway, with the main box put together, I determined which side would be the bottom (I wanted the most decorative detail on the top), and then cut some thick lattice (about 1/4-inch thick) and adhered it inside the bottom of the box with about 3/8-inch of the lattice showing below the box.
I made sure that the amount of reveal on the lattice was perfectly even all the way around because that lattice would eventually be where the glass diffuser sits.
Next I made the decorative part to go around the bottom of the light box. The inspiration light had a wave design, but there was no way I could make something that intricate. So instead I used this scalloped moulding that I found at Home Depot. It’s sold by the 8-foot piece. Cutting it was a bit challenging because the design has one point, and then two curves, one point, two curves, and so on. I had to make sure that the points were exactly in the middle, and that I was cutting at the exact same spot on all of the curves so that they would meet just right at the corners, which were mitered.
Using hot glue and wood glue, I put the scalloped frame together.
I made the corners meet on the curved edge as closely as possible, even if it meant that the flat edge would be off just a bit. The flat edge would be eventually covered up, but the scalloped edge would be the one that shows, so it needed to be as close to perfect (after sanding, wood filler, and caulk, of course) as possible.
Then I attached the scalloped piece to the main box, fitting it around the lattice.
Here’s how the outside of the light box looked at this point…
Next I cut and adhered two pieces of lattice inside the box sitting on top of the other lattice. I attached the small pieces on opposite sides of the light box.
And then I attached a long piece of lattice across the middle that rested on those short pieces.
Then I marked the very center of the lattice, and drilled a 3/8-inch hole large enough so that a threaded nipple could fit through. It was a snug fit, but it fit.
The one I used in the picture above was one that I had on hand, but it was way too short. So I ended up having to buy a package of two 6-inch threaded nipples from Home Depot. I knew the 6-inch was too long, but I could cut it off with my hack saw. So I threaded it through the top lattice support piece, turned the light box upside down, and placed the glass in place.
I had the glass cut at a local glass shop (Freddy’s Glass, for you locals) and they also drilled the hole in the middle for me. You can also see here how the glass sits on the lattice around the edges. And you can also see that the threaded nipple is about an inch too long.
I attached the little finial thing. (I have no idea what that piece is called, but I swiped it from an old light that I had. Home Depot sells really small ones.) Once the finial was tightened onto the nipple, I kept turning to thread the nipple up through the support lattice piece on top of the light box.
I kept turning until the finial was flush with the glass…
And then when I turned it over, I could see exactly how much needed to be cut off.
I added a washer, lock washer, and nut, and then measured the excess so that I would know exactly how much to cut off with my hack saw.
With it cut off, it looked like this…
This next step really wasn’t needed, but I happened to have some of this JB Weld SteelStik.
So I cut off some of the putty and mixed it well with my fingers, and then pressed it around the top to hold everything together nicely. It does dry VERY hard, so there are no do-overs if you mess it up.
Next I needed to work on creating a place for the actual light sockets. I cut a 1.5″ x 1.5″ x 2″ piece of wood, and then on the top and bottom, I marked the center with an “X”.
Then I used my 3/8-inch drill bit to drill a hole right through the center from top to bottom. (A drill press would have come in handy right here, but I don’t have one.)
Then I drilled a hole on each of the four sides. These holes didn’t need to meet the center hole. They just needed to be about 3/8-inch deep or so.
I threaded that block of wood onto the nipple, and glued it to the top dowel support piece.
When I flipped the light box upside down, it looked like this…
Then I inserted 3/4-inch nipples into each of the four holes on the sides of the wood block.
Then I needed to attach these pieces called 1/8 IP hickeys. These are used when you don’t want wires to actually go through the nipples, but you want a gap where the wire can come out. I purchased these from a local light supply store (The Village Lamplighter in Lorena, for you locals).
And onto each nipple, I threaded a nut, a lock washer, and a hickey, and tightened them really well.
Then I took another 3/4-inch nipple, and threaded three washers onto it. These washers just acted as spacers.
And I threaded one end into the hickey, and onto the other end I threaded the keyless socket.
With all four sockets attached, the inside of my light box (upside down) looked like this…
And here it is with actual light bulbs.
Those light bulbs are regular incandescent, but I’ll only be using LED lights in this light box. I just didn’t happen to have any on hand when I took that picture.
Then I just had a couple of things left to finish building the light box. First, I added screw hooks to the corners where the chain would attach. This is where I realized that I should have used real wood instead of MDF for the corner pieces, because small pieces of MDF aren’t strong enough to hold the weight of this light. So I had to cut small pieces of real wood, attach them on top of the MDF pieces, and then screw the screw hooks into the wood pieces. I also added a load of wood glue to each corner after attaching the screw hook to make it VERY secure.
And here’s how everything looked, right side up, at this point…
And the final step to building this light box was to add one more small piece of trim where the scalloped moulding met the main box. I used very small cabinet trim from Home Depot, which is sold is 8-foot lengths.
There’s still a ton of finish work to do on this, but so far I really like how it’s turning out. I should be able to get it finished today, and show you the finished and installed light tomorrow!
Filed Under: Music Room