This Crate and Barrel drum shade pendant lamp would look perfect in my kitchen.
It retails for $149.
It’s a frickin’ light bulb on a string with a lamp shade attached, and it costs $149.
Because I’m stubborn, I set out to get the same look for less by making my own fancy hanging lamp. And I only spent about $50.
Take that, Crate and Barrel.
THE SUPER SIMPLE HACKER METHOD
Here’s what you’ll need:
1. A hard wired pendant light kit, installed.
Back when I originally did this project, these were surprisingly difficult to find, but lucky for you, they sell them on Amazon now. Make sure you take note of the cord length and ensure that it’s long enough for your ceiling height.
2. A lamp shade with a spider harp.
Take some heavy duty wire cutters, and cut out the center ring of your lamp shade.
At the bottom of your pendant light kit, there should be a plastic ring that screws onto the threads.
Loosen it a few turns, then position the ends of the wires you just cut between the plastic ring and the metal socket.
Tighten the plastic ring to hold the wires in place.
Voilà, you have a lamp.
You may need to jimmy it a little until it hangs level, but other than that, you’re done!
This surprisingly simple solution was actually a last resort after my very elaborate Plan A had failed.
Does this hackish solution make you a little uncomfortable? Well then, see my alternate method below (otherwise known as Plan A).
THE MORE CORRECT, LESS HACKISH METHOD IF YOU PLAN CORRECTLY
In addition to the pendant light kit and the spider harp shade, you’ll also need one of these.
It’s called an UNO adapter. I found mine at a local lamp parts shop for $4.
Make sure the spider harp on your lamp shade has three arms, not four.
See how my lamp shade has four? In my excitement at tracking down the elusive UNO adapter, I failed to see that it wouldn’t work on my lamp shade. Doh!
Make sure your UNO adapter fits the threading on your pendant light kit.
The adapter I’d bought was too small. Double doh!
If the above two conditions are met, then your task is quite simple. Just clip out the center ring of your spider harp as before, and attach the UNO adapter onto the exposed three spider arms of your lamp shade using a pair of pliers. The UNO essentially becomes the new center ring.
Then unscrew the plastic ring from the threading on your pendant light kit, slide the UNO ring on, and reattach the plastic ring below to secure the shade into place.
And voilà, again, lamp!
But wait, there are other alternatives…
THE NOT HACKISH AT ALL, BUT YOU CAN’T BE PICKY METHOD
Instead of a standard lamp shade, you could purchase one from Ikea. All of theirs have these cool inner parts that convert them into downward hanging shades in an instant.
Or you could do an internet search for something called a threaded lamp shade, or an UNO lamp shade, which basically has the UNO adapter part already built in, but these are rare and tend to come in smaller sizes.
[POST EDIT: NEW PRODUCTS ON THE MARKET MAKES THIS TASK EVEN EASIER!!:
Since publishing this article, a few new products have come out that specifically convert lampshades into hanging pendant lights.
Shades of Light sells this really sweet pendant lamp converter kit for $49. It’s hard wired, has two bulbs, and allows you to hook any lamp shade to it with ease. They also sell a plug-in version of the same thing for $29, but Lowes has a similar plug-in converter kit for $14. Genius, I tell you. ]
So there we have it. With a little extra work, you can have the same-ish look for about $100 less.
Now, if only I could find a way to DIY this Crate and Barrel lovely. Hmmm.