Upgrade a Ceiling Light with a Drum Shade

March 31, 2014

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I have a thing for these lights… getting rid of them that is. Over the years, I’ve had a few of those “boob” lights as I call them, in my sights a few times. And, they don’t often last long.

Transform a boring builder-grade, ceiling light into a pretty, flush-mount drum shade, in a few easy steps!

This one had a immitation red spray-paint looking finish to it. Trying to be bronze maybe? Not sure. Whatever it’s trying to be — it’s not working. It’s time to break up — Let’s upgrade a ceiling light with a drum shade!

Transform a boring builder-grade, ceiling light into a pretty, flush-mount drum shade, in a few easy steps!

So here’s the thing. Once I started to take the light apart, I thought there HAS to be something that can be done with this light. Once the shade is off, its just a couple of burning bulbs sitting in a fully-functioning light fixture. No more “boob”. But how do I cover up the bulbs?

Transform a boring builder-grade, ceiling light into a pretty, flush-mount drum shade, in a few easy steps!

A-Ha! A lamp shade. I had a couple of those taking up space in my storage room. Win-win. Pop a shade on there and badda-bing, new light AND more room in my storage room.

Transform a boring builder-grade, ceiling light into a pretty, flush-mount drum shade, in a few easy steps!

Hmm. First attempt was kind of a dud. The shade colour was off, and without a diffusing panel on the bottom, the light looked like it was about to “beam me up, Scotty.”

Transform a boring builder-grade, ceiling light into a pretty, flush-mount drum shade, in a few easy steps!

So, that gave me two main problems. I really want to be able to flip the shade over, so the metal “spider” frame is on the bottom, and can then hold a diffuser panel. And, second, improve how the fixture base looks with the shade.

Then, my a-ha moment. I had switched out a light in the hallway that was strangely identical to this light, only… wait for it… smaller! Perfect! That meant I should be able to switch the light base to the smaller one, and it will tuck nicely into the shade. Much better scale.

Transform a boring builder-grade, ceiling light into a pretty, flush-mount drum shade, in a few easy steps!

But what about the weird red colour? Enter paint! Two quick coats of some black paint I already had kicking around, took care of this, quickly. (*I was careful to keep the paint to the outer edge only. Away from any electrical and away from any heat source*).

Transform a boring builder-grade, ceiling light into a pretty, flush-mount drum shade, in a few easy steps!

Okay, it’s getting better… but the shade… how do I flip the shade?? The post in the centre of the original light fixture was way too short to reach the bottom of the shade.

Off to the hardware store I went. And I found EXACTLY what I needed! Yes. Love it when that happens. Go figure, the lighting section carries accessories and parts you may need when fixing/creating lighting.

Like… extra long metal posts, and a new decorative screw cap to hold the shade in place. Under $10 later, and I’m done.

Transform a boring builder-grade, ceiling light into a pretty, flush-mount drum shade, in a few easy steps!

Once I got everything home, I dry fit everything one more time.

Post…

Transform a boring builder-grade, ceiling light into a pretty, flush-mount drum shade, in a few easy steps!

Shade…

Transform a boring builder-grade, ceiling light into a pretty, flush-mount drum shade, in a few easy steps!

I took a little measurement of what needed to be trimmed off the metal post, and marked it with some tape.

Transform a boring builder-grade, ceiling light into a pretty, flush-mount drum shade, in a few easy steps!

The hacksaw took care of trimming the post. Another dry fit, and decided –– I didn’t like the shade I was using. Boo. Lucky for me, I had another one kicking around…

Transform a boring builder-grade, ceiling light into a pretty, flush-mount drum shade, in a few easy steps!

Mmm… much better…

Now, to find the diffuser panel. Right… THAT they did not have kicking around the hardware store. I wasn’t sure what to do. I was obviously worried about it being a material that was suitable for the heat from the bulbs, and did not pose any fire hazard. Then… I passed by the giant fluorescent light panels… for $4? Seems promising…

Transform a boring builder-grade, ceiling light into a pretty, flush-mount drum shade, in a few easy steps!

I traced my shade, and made my cuts. Wait… I made that sound easy. I traced my shade, and tried 3 different tools to test out how to cut through this strangely fragile… plastic? I’m not sure what it is.

Transform a boring builder-grade, ceiling light into a pretty, flush-mount drum shade, in a few easy steps!

I shattered my way through the panel with the first few cuts. I was definitely headed toward an epic fail.  Then, success! Tin snips. But even they only worked in one direction, and with a very gingerly touch.

Transform a boring builder-grade, ceiling light into a pretty, flush-mount drum shade, in a few easy steps!

We got there (even if there is a few lingering imperfections). I was able to file down most of the rough edges. It’s not perfect, but shhh! If you don’t mention it, no one will ever notice. If I find myself repeating this project in the future, I will definitely find something else to use.

Ok, so the hard part is over. Now, it’s just time to assemble this baby, and we’re done…

Transform a boring builder-grade, ceiling light into a pretty, flush-mount drum shade, in a few easy steps!

 

Transform a boring builder-grade, ceiling light into a pretty, flush-mount drum shade, in a few easy steps!

See? Paint, longer post, and diffuser panel. Done, done and done. Now I have a “new” light for… about $15. (Of course, I’m not including the cost of the shade, or paint, as I already had them around the house).

How to add a drum shade your your ceiling light. AKA boob light. Get rid of them on the cheap! www.freshcrush.com

**FUN UPDATE** To see a new post of what this ENTIRE room looks like now, CLICK HERE! My little light even got a little update to match the new black and white decor…

ceiling-light-final


18 thoughts on “Upgrade a Ceiling Light with a Drum Shade

  1. Sarah B

    Love this idea! I’m curious if the shade and diffuser cut down on the amount of light given off by the fixture? I am plagued by a couple of “boob lights” in my kitchen, and have been searching for replacement fixtures. I really like the flush mount drum shade style, and am excited to think I could create it myself without buying a new fixture! I need good light in my kitchen, though!!

    Reply
    1. freshcrush Post author

      The shade and diffuser didn’t seem to give off any less light then the frosted curved shade it was originally paired with. Sounds fun! Good luck and thanks so much! :)

      Reply
    2. Anne Cabell Parsons

      I’ve been wanting to do this!!! Wondering, how do you get the diffuser panel to stay in place and how did you get the drum shade to stay in place on what was left of your light fixture? Thanks so much! I love what you did!

      Reply
  2. Connie

    I want to do the same thing but add beads to make it look more elegant do you think that would defuse the light enough?

    Reply
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  5. Marilyn

    I have those ugly ceiling light fixtures in my home…now I can create something fantasitc for my guest bedroom…Great idea and simply beautiful!!! Thanks!

    Reply
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