This May Be My Magnum Opus (And Why I Love Projects Like This)

I’m still working on my pendant light. *Sigh* This project may truly be my magnum opus by the time it’s all said and done. I worked all afternoon and evening on Friday, all day (with a couple of breaks) on Saturday, Sunday evening, and all afternoon and evening yesterday on this pendant light. And I’m only about halfway through.

I’ve gotten eight of the colors painted, which means that I have seven more colors to go. Thankfully, most of the seven colors remaining are for the smaller rings. And then I’ve gotten four of the colors attached to the lampshade rings, with a fifth color underway…

I’d guesstimate that I’m a little under halfway finished with attaching that fifth color to the lampshade ring.

The first color was the most difficult because I had to attach all of the spoons to the lampshade ring with the lampshade ring still attached to the cord. The only way to get that one off would be to remove the light from the ceiling completely, and then disassemble the light. I didn’t want to do that, so I stood on a ladder and attached all 88 of those spoons. It was a real pain. And then I had to group them and tape them in place so that I can attach the next ring without the spoons moving and shifting and getting in the way.

But I realized very quickly that it would be easier to disassemble the rest of the rings and work at my table. So while I had already assembled 12 of the 15 rings to form the frame of the pendant light…

…I ended up disassembling the whole thing.

Here are the other colors I’ve finished, plus the one I’m still working on right now. There’s really no rhyme or reason to the order I’m doing them in except that I started with the two biggest rings, and then decided that I wanted to work on some smaller rings (which require far fewer spoons) so that I could get a couple of rings finished faster. I needed that sense of completion to keep me going.

And then I have these three colors that are ready to be attached to a lampshade ring…

One reason it has taken me so long is because I’m pretty much making this up as I go along. When I started, I had no idea how I wanted to paint the spoons. I mean, I knew that each row would be a different color, and I had those 15 colors worked out. But beyond that, I hadn’t worked out the details. So when I started painting the spoons, I actually had in mind that the backs would be solid white, and the fronts would be a solid color. After doing the first color, I realized that I didn’t like how that looked at all, so it was back to the drawing board.

It took a couple more attempts for me to finally land on this design, with the backs solid gold (liquid gold gilding), and the fronts a color “framed” with a messy gold border.

The next thing that took a great deal of time was figuring out how to keep the spoons in place, spaced 3/4-inch apart on the lampshade rings, so that they wouldn’t move, shift, and slide around on the ring. My first attempt was to try E6000 adhesive. I tried that on about 1/4 of one of the lampshade rings, and it didn’t really work out. So then I had to peel all of that adhesive off and repair the paint on the lampshade ring (which I had painted gold). And I had to come up with another idea.

My next idea was to use hot glue. That was a mess, and I didn’t even get 1/4 of the way around the lampshade ring before realizing that hot glue was a horrible idea. It’s too messy, doesn’t dry completely clear, and it leaves strings of hot glue everywhere like spider webs. So for a second time, I had to peel off the glue and repair the paint on the lampshade ring.

I finally landed on the idea of super glue, but I also decided that I needed to attach all of the spoons on all 15 rings, and then reassemble all 15 rings to each other, and then the final step will be to super glue the spoons in place on the lampshade rings, starting with the bottom ring and moving towards the top. So at least two hours of my time on Saturday were taken up with me trying out different ideas, making repairs from the failed ideas, and coming up with a plan that would actually work. I’m confident that my new plan will work.

I love projects like this. Don’t get me wrong. I also love a quick and easy project that gives me that close-to-immediate gratification that we all need every so often. It’s very satisfying to start a project, and a couple of hours later, have a pretty piece of artwork that can be displayed.

But you’ll almost never wind up with something truly spectacular in just a couple of hours. That’s not to say that it never happens. I think the focal wall in our bedroom is pretty spectacular, and that was a surprisingly quick and easy project. Tracing the design onto the wall in two different colors of acrylic paint pens was super simple, pretty fast, and has a big, bold impact in the room.

guest bedroom - finished - headboard wall vertical

But every other project I’ve done that I would put into that “spectacular” category took time. A lot of time. And patience. And trial and error. And perseverance.

To me, there’s nothing more satisfying than taking on a huge project, sticking with it to the end, and winding up with something that I can be truly proud of. Those are the projects that teach me perseverance and patience. Those are the projects that teach me new skills. Those are the projects that sharpen my problem-solving abilities. Those are the projects that teach me how to think through and create a process and a plan from beginning to end. And those are the projects that almost always get the biggest reaction from people who visit my home for the first time.

When people see my home for the first time, it’s not the trim or the curtains that they comment on the most. It’s things like this piece of artwork…

DIY artwork - pixel flower

It’s so interesting watching people as they try to figure it out. They get close to examine the details. Then they stand back to get the whole picture. And then when I finally tell them that it’s made of 6400 small individual wood plugs that are used to cover screw holes in furniture, each painted separately to create a pixel-type picture, they’re just amazed. It’s one of the projects that I’m the proudest of, and it took a lot of time, patience, and diligence.

And it’s things like the tile in the pantry that catch people’s attention, which is another project that took a great deal of time from start to finish.

DIY resin and alcohol ink tiles used as a backsplash in pantry

So while I do love the quick and easy “immediate gratification” types of projects, and I think we all need those from time to time, I also find a tremendous amount of value in these projects that seem to drag on forever and really take a lot of perseverance and diligence to finish. I think we need both in our lives. I grew up the daughter of an artist. My mom did amazing oil paintings, and there was nothing quick or easy about her work. She would work for weeks straight on one painting, and it paid off. Her work was truly amazing, and people would stare in amazement at her paintings hung on the walls of our home. While I’m not an oil painting artist, and my talents are in other areas, she taught me a lot about taking the time needed to make sure a project is done right and done well. It was an invaluable lesson to learn from watching her artistic process all throughout my childhood and younger years.

I think we can learn a lot from both types, but I can also say that there’s nothing quite like that feeling of satisfaction when I’ve finished a huge, time-consuming project. And hopefully, I’ll have that feeling in the next few days when this pendant light is finished.



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  1. Wow… just wow! Can’t wait to see this lamp finished. It will be breathtaking. I agree about the joy of sharing your work with somebody else, but there is something about working on a long-term project that you pour your heart into that is very special. And when you finally get to share it, it’s amazing. Thank you for taking us along on this journey, Kristi, and for your daily inspiration.

  2. I noticed that you called the pixel artwork “The Most Insane Project I’ve Done To Date.” Do you think this lamp will take that title when you’re finished? 🙂 Either way, it’s going to be beautiful!

    1. I do. While this pendant light is using far fewer than 6500 pieces, there are many more steps required for each piece. So in the end, I do think this will end up being much more time-consuming than the pixel art.

  3. I’m just so amazed at every one of your Kristi made projects. If I lived closer to you I would beg to come see your home in person because you are the most amazing ‘do it yourselfer’ ever.
    This pendant light is truly going to be a beautiful piece in your studio. I thought I was miss reading part of your blog when I kept looking at the spoons having the messy gold edge. So I went to your spoon design on your wall and looked with a magnifying glass and saw that was planned. I love that messy gold edge. I’m looking forward to seeing your finished spoon pendant light hanging in your studio.

  4. You may have mentioned this already but have you thought about using gold spacer beads between the spoons? Would that be too costly? I can’t wait to see it!

    1. I looked, but I couldn’t find anything that would work. It would have to be something like a bead that opens up, can be wrapped around the lampshade wire, and then clamps tight. Does such a thing exist? I couldn’t find anything like that.

      1. How about brass compression ferrels? I guess you would have to slice them to get them on the rings. Small ones are 1/4″ outside diameter.

  5. This is going to phenomenal when finished!! I am excited to see how it turns out!!

    I know nothing about beading but was wondering if any sort of horizontal crimping bead that could be used to space the spoons?

    Again, so looking forward to seeing this completed!!

    1. The only crimp beads I’m aware of have to be strung. In other words, I’d have to clip the lampshade ring, slide the crimp beads onto the lampshade wire, and then adhere the lampshade ring back together. I don’t know of any kind of crimp bead with an open side that will wrap around the lampshade wire and then clamp tight. If I could find such a thing, I’d buy it? I even thought about tiny clear zip ties, but I can’t find any that are tiny enough.

      1. Amazon has something called a foldover crimp clamp in few different sizes. Of course, no idea if it will work or fit this application. Again, super excited to see the finished pendant and thinking where I can use liquid gilding…

        1. Hi Kristi. I can’t wait to see what you come up with to space the spoons. My first thought was a small spring like what you find on the ink tube of a pen. Perhaps they are sold in bulk for people who make wood turned pens. If they are the correct diameter you could twist them onto the ring after cutting them to length???

  6. what about small fishing weights they clamp together and you could spray them gold or plastic straws cut to size and slit to slide on and spray paint. Or maybe molding clay type stuff like playdough that will harden and paint or even aluminum foil wrapped and painted. Just some random thoughts

  7. Make your own spacers…..Wrap straws or coffee stirrers in the gold tape.

    Slice lengthwise and trim to desired length. Cover and Gold Tape shut. I’d honestly see if you could slice and dice first. Then wrap with tape. If you are cautious on cutting the tape to the width of the spacer. That could work.

      1. Oh my goodness, I love the ideas everyone comes up with. I often want to make earrings on closed wire hoops and have the same problem with spacers, so I have to cut the hoops open, put the charms on then have my hubby solder them shut again. Fortunately he can solder well but yeah tiny coffee stirrers would work for these. Yay for innovative ideas!

      2. Oh and instead of perfection on trimming tape. You got a ton of gold markers and paint that may work cleaning up the ends. Or just dip the ends of the straw to some gold paint. Before taping and letting it dry before placing on the ring.

  8. Have you ever soldered Kristie? This might be the project for it, instead of super glue. Looking great!

  9. Hi, Kristi–Just wanted to pass on a hint about working with hot glue: the webby strings can be managed and removed with a hair dryer.
    Good luck with the lamp, it’s going to be spectacular!

  10. You may not get any work done at your desk as you will be staring at that beautiful light all day!

  11. WOW!!! Amazing. Your creativity, patience, diligence and eye for design totally blows me away. You are truly exceptional; and you are such an inspiration! Thank you for sharing your ideas, frustrations, and triumphs!

  12. OK, my mind is a little blown. This wasn’t what I was expecting at all, how those spoons are getting attached. I can hardly wait to see how you complete it. I am so impressed with some of the ideas you are getting…nice to brainstorm with people, and I think they don’t mind doing some research – – like a little challenge for all of us.
    Some of their ideas are making mine suck, so I’m not contributing, but I am LOVING the discussion! Enjoy the process!

  13. I love all the special art projects you’ve created, they add personality and interest to your home. The colors you’ve create a feeling of both lightness and calm, yet maintain a sense of liveness.
    My (maybe silly) question is why does the lampshade you’re making go from a large ring down to small rings? Most lampshades are smaller at the top and progress to the large ring on the bottom.
    Can’t wait to see the end result! Inspiring

  14. Just an idea, but maybe use gold beads as spacers inbetween each spoon? That way you don’t have to worry about any adhesives not working/clean up and they will always stay evenly spaced.

  15. I used to run out of patience doing a “hook a rug” kit back in the day. I admire your perseverence.

  16. I am sitting on pins and needles, waiting to see this finished! I know it’s going to be better than I can even imagine!