DIY drum shade chandelier

May 11, 2010

Make your own large drum shade chandelier in a few simple steps! 

I talked to our electrician a while back about installing an overhead light in this room. Because of the way the beams run in the ceiling, it would be a major project I’m not willing to mess with right now – AND it would be costly.

Thrifty is my name. Not costly.

So I considered a couple options for a ceiling light in the room and nothing had panned out. Then an idea hit a couple weeks ago, and while shopping at HomeGoods over the weekend, I found a perfect, huge, beautiful drum shade:

drum shade

I’m pretty much obsessed with drum shades lately. They’re all over our house now. This one was exactly what I needed for my DIY light fixture…and it was only $13! Booyahhhh!

I’ve seen this project in numerous magazines and every time they give directions, they say to find a light kit – I’ve seen them on TV so I knew what I was looking for. But when I got to Lowe’s there was no “light kit” to be found. There were smaller versions for chandelier-type bulbs, but I needed something I could run through the top of my drum shade. (More on that later.)

Luck was on my side that day at Lowe’s because very knowledgeable Lowe’s Guy was there to help me out…and he didn’t look at me like I had two heads when I described what I wanted to do.

We clicked, yo.

Guy helped me pick out the parts I needed, and when I got home to put them together I was VERY pleasantly surprised at how fast and easy it was to put them together! There’s a large BUT coming, so stay with me here…

Most of what I needed was in the lamp part section at Lowe’s. The first thing you need is a cord with a plug at the end. I forgot to take a picture of the package, but it looks exactly like this:

The second piece to the puzzle is the socket:

And the third was a loop:


You need to believe me when I say this is EASY to do. I’m pretty experienced with electrical work and I’m not just saying it. If you have all the parts in front of you, it will quite literally take you ten minutes to put this together. I do not lie!

First step is to take the top off the socket, and screw the piece above into the top of the socket, then put it through the middle of the lamp shade bracket, then screw the loop onto it on top:

023Are you with me? It’s easy! Promise.

Then take your cord, with the open ends, and put it down through the pieces I just mentioned:


Next, you’ll want to separate the two wires a bit. Sometimes you can just pull them apart, sometimes you’ll need a wire cutter to cut down the middle:


The directions for the cord will show you how to tie it into a “knot” – I can’t remember what it’s called, but it’s very clear how to do it, and it takes a minute. You can see it here, but on the directions it’s much easier to follow:

034Then follow the directions – one wire is smooth. Wrap that around the screw it says to, then tighten the screw. One wire is ribbed – wrap that around the screw it says to and tighten that one.

If you’ve ever installed a light fixture it’s just like that. If you haven’t, don’t be sceered. I SWEAR TO YOU IT’S EASY!!  ;)

When you are done, slide the parts of the socket back together, put in your light bulb, and plug it in!


Hear a pop and see sparks!

Ummm…I’ve totally lost all of you who were going to try this, haven’t I?  :)

I was so annoyed. I know how to do this stuff peeps, and I did it right. But I don’t mess around with electrical stuff, so I took it all apart, and took the socket back to Lowe’s.

Can you say “GAH?!”

I was praying Nice Lowe’s Guy was still there, and I actually trolled the aisles for a few minutes, hoping I would find him…and then I almost smacked the cart right into him! Yippee!

He looked at the socket we picked out and realized the problem – it had too many connections on it. There was a third screw (you only need two) that was supposed to be connected to something. He mentioned it was meant for a lamp that has two light sources or something like that. I have no idea what that means, but I nodded my head like I did.

Soooo…he took me to the electrical aisle, where we found a much simpler socket:

It was much cheaper than the first socket – I think $3? And it only had two screws inside – one for the smooth wire, one for the ribbed wire. You can find it at the end of the electrical aisle – it’s in a set of bins you pull out and it was wrapped in plastic.

It worked!! And all was right with the world again. Thankyouverymuch.

I covered the drum shade with some of my lovely fabric for the new office:


And because this project was doomed to be a total science fair, I cut the fabric wrong TWICE to cover the thing. I had to end up using two pieces to get it covered:


I just folded over the raw edges and used hot glue to get them down on both sides of the shade.

I always forget that you can see areas like that when you turn on the light:


But I was about over it by then so I say who the heck cares? NOT ME!  :)

Can I tell you how much I adore this fabric?:


Please ignore the wall color. It’s not staying for long:


Think light, bright and fab.  :)

I always cover the inside edges with ribbon:


It finishes it off and covers the ragged edges you’d see with the light on:

DIY drum shade chandelierEven though this is super lightweight, I didn’t want the wires to be the only thing holding it up. So I took some chain from an old fixture and hooked it to the loop I showed you above, then hung it on the hook in the ceiling. (It takes the weight off the electrical cord.)

Because I have to swag this over a bit, I wanted to cover the cord and chain. I took some of the fabric I bought for this room redo and cut a couple of strips. Then I just hot glued it together to make a cord cover:


DIY cord cover

I put the cord through all of it and scrunched it a bit and it looks fab!

For now I took the cord up behind the drapes, down to a plug:


I bought a switch to add to the cord so I can just leave it plugged in and turn it on easily, but I may just see if our electrician can run a light switch up from the outlet so I can use that instead.

I LOVE IT. It hangs directly over the desk, which is getting a redo as well. It's a perfect source of overhead light -- what I was wanting so badly in this space.

And being purdy sure doesn’t hurt!:

Sigh. Lurve.

Total cost for this DIY light fixture was $35:

- $13 for the shade (HomeGoods)

- $12 for 2/3 yards fabric (I got extra for this project)

- $5 for the cord with plug

- $3 for the socket

- $2 for the loop set (comes with two)

That’s $35 right? I was never good at math. Covering lamp shades I’m OK at. Math, no.

I hope I didn’t make this seem harder than it is – it really will take you a VERY short time to put it together. I can guarantee it will take longer to cover the shade with fabric than it will take to put the fixture together.

Cross my heart, swear on my pretty new drum chandelier.

So, you think you could do this one? I bet you could!  ;) Let me know if you try!

P.S. To see my DIY Ballard Designs inspired pendant light, go here.

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  1. I love that fabric too! And can I just say, you are funny stuff girl!! I love your blog and I am so glad I discovered it! I try so many of your projects and you delite my days! Thank you

  2. You did a wonderful job! I might even attempt it! Love that fabric.
    smiles, alice

  3. I am glad you are around to tell us about that! I can't wait to see the room unfold. Those color are gorgeous...look at your getting all light and airy on us with that blue. LOVERLY.

  4. It's like we share the same brain! I was looking all over the internet today for a drum shade chandelier (thinking to myself it can't be this difficult). The only problem is that I need a really large shade (at least 20"). This turned out gorgeous, and I can't wait to see what you do to the whole room! LOVE the fabric!

  5. Well, aren't you amazing?! I mean, really--I would have expected just about anything from you, but I'm REALLY impressed at this! And it's nice to know that this is not really a difficult project, because I certainly would have thought it would be hard!

    I have a spot in the bonus room that really needs a bit of overhead light. . . and now you've shown me that I could actually provide what's needed. I'll say it again--amazing!

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  6. That's amazing! Your amazing! Your hysterical too! I love reading your posts, I bet you could make watching paint dry sound exciting. Anyway, Bravo! Keep the lamp ideas coming, I have some very plain new lamp shades that need some help. I love the shape of them(rectangle/drumlike) but they are bor-ing!

  7. Fab, as always! :) I do love that fabric...

  8. Oh, wow! I have an HGTV show saved because they did almost this exact same thing, and for cheap. All they did was buy a colored shade and hung it. They used a canopy (because it was hanging straight down, so I guess something to cover the hole where the light was going into?), a wire and a socket.

    Now I can delete it from my DVR since you posted a lovely tutorial. Thank you!

    -- Gabby (the "mantel" girl)

  9. Wow, that looks so good! Love the fabric! Do you think the shade is big enough for a dining room? I would so want to wire it to my dining room if it was big enough!

  10. What a way to use your thrifty ideas and get a spectacular light! Great idea!

  11. Wowza! That is gorgeous! And I am not scared a bit. Nope, not me. Ok, maybe a little. I'm a big ole coward when it comes to electricity. However, I am considering painting my living room. That is about as DIY as I get. I'm fearless like that!

  12. Wow, this is fantastic! I have a spot in my house where I've been wanting to do this forever. Thanks so much, I'll be linking.

  13. Looks beautiful!
    fyi, I know you can find the light kits at places like Pier 1 or Cost Plus World Market where they sell the big globe paper lantern shades. Also Ikea if you happen to be near one. I picked a few up at Ikea last year for I think $3 apiece.
    Just thought I'd throw that in there since I know personally as DIY as I like to think I am, electric wiring makes me nervous no matter how straight forward directions may be!!

    Can't wait to see the whole room once you've tackled everything!

  14. I have been looking ALL over the place for a drum shade chandelier for our eating area...I saw a set in a parade of homes and knew it was just what I wanted...the cheapest I have found them is $140....youch...not what I was thinking when drum shade was in my head...this may be the way we have to go...and my husband LOVES the electrical stuff, so we are good to find a shade big enough...

  15. I looove this! I only wish that you would have done it a couple months ago - before I had redid the light for my dining room. I paid $45 for a pendant light kit that I could attach a shade to! Little did I know that I could have put one together myself so easy. I will definitely be filing this for future lighting projects. I heart drum shades too!

  16. You are KILLING me. Seriously. I've got to tell you a story. So I ordered this plug in chandy two weeks ago for my boy's room and when it came it had purple stripes. Um -not in the plan. So I envisioned doing a DIY version with a drum shade and then you go and post this !!!! Shazzaaamm !!! I swear we were separated at birth. LOVE this project !!!! So glad you've given me the step by step. So inspired ! You are fabulous my friend.


    PS Sorry about the sparks. Not like that would ever stop YOU !!


  17. Wow what great fabric! That would really match my house, where did you get it? The lamp looks great too. It is not as hard as seems. Can't wait to see the final room.

  18. They have a bed set in this pattern at TJ Max for $20. It could easily be taken a part and used for other things... it would be cheaper than buying it by the yard. Just a thought. :) The lamp looks great, and I love how you hid the chain. I will be trying this trick for my dining room very soon!!!

  19. You are freakin creative and Im loving how your not afraid of a little sparkles! LOL cause if it was me Id have ran for the hills and called the fire dept! LOL

    Cant wait to see the room!

  20. wow. i am never going to do that. ever. i hate it.


    kinda like the fabric.

    but, it totally clashes with the orange paint, sarah. don't you think?



  21. I can't believe I recently paid a lighting store $200+ to do exactly that for a drum fixture in my dining room. Nice work!

  22. I've seen this project in magazines and I've been dying to try it - thanks for demystifying the whole process. You've given me courage. :-)

  23. Fab job, but if I try this,.....I don't know. I would have to get assistance from my electrican neighbor.

  24. Love it! Please share what & where you got the fabric. Pleaseeeee? Thanks

  25. That fabric is amazing! I have a "thing" for paisley! Thanks for the step by step! I have always wanted to know how to do one of those "DIY fixtures" since they are always doing them on TV.

  26. Love the lamp, love the story, love the fabric!! Great job!!

  27. Love the fabric and your chandelier turned out fabulous! I have not been brave enough yet to do anything involving electricity. You made it look so easy, I may have to give it a go. :-)

  28. I made something similar but I wish I had thought of the cord cover! I ended up using a metal rod (since it went straight to the ceiling)... love the fabric!

    Kim @
    party inspiration

  29. Great job! You come up with the best ideas. I'm going to try this in our playroom or the boys rooms!

    My husband is going to flip ;-)

  30. Love the drum shade; love the fabric! Great job and a great solution to the overhead light dilemma.

  31. That looks easy enough. I might have to do this in the living room of our apartment. This is no overhead light at all!

  32. Sarah....get an EASY don't need an electrician! You plug it into the outlet and the switch runs it by "remote" can put the switch anyplace. My hubby has one on his nightstand and it works the light across the other side of the room:)
    It's on Ebay and I think Bed, Bath, and Beyond had them....check with Lowes;) you seem to have a GUY there;)
    Great job!

  33. Ditto on the Easy Switch. So worth it. Guess what else works well though... THE CLAPPER! Remember those? They still make them, and they really work. I use one in my bedroom since I have a hanging light plug hidden behind my bed. Entertaining too!

  34. You know...if your blog title was "Costly Decor Chick," I don't know if you'd get as many hits. ;) I think you should stick with the Thrifty.

    I LOVE your fabric! Very pretty. :) Can't wait to see what you do with the walls in there!

  35. And THIS is exactly why I married an electrical engineer. LOL Seriously, I love the lamp but would totally leave the electrical part to Hubby. I'd blow a fuse somewhere I just know it.

    Cute project and adore the fabric you chose. How DOES a person hide the fact that you see the seams on the inside? Would a heavier fabric be used or would you have to line the inside of the shade?


  36. Brilliant. I have been trying to come up with an idea for my living room, this might be the solution. Thank you.

  37. Love that fabric. Can't wait to see the rest of the den. julie :)

  38. I did something like this with an old Thrift store globe lamp. I actually installed a switch and it was pretty easy, but I did experience that "Pop and Spark" once or twice!!
    you can check it out here

  39. clipping this one to Evernote into my someday files! Looks great!

  40. Great tutorial and looks wondrful.

  41. Great project, as ever on your blog. I admit I had a complete "DOH!" moment when I saw you had hot glued the cord/chain cover. I'd been racking my brain about this type of covering and considered velcro, sewing it on and even unhooking the whole shebang so I could cover the cord and reinstall it. You've just unaggravated the whole situation.

  42. Great job! I am contemplating making one of those drum shades to go around my crystal chandelier & covering it in a sheer fabric. Anyone out there ever done this before? Thx.

  43. I'm so glad I found your blog!!! Your ideas are FABULOUS and you are HILARIOUS! :) Love, love, love the drum shade! I need a light in my boys' room, and this will be perfect! Thank you! :)

  44. wow, the drumshade is a steal! i will be checking out homegoods! im into restoration and selling vintage. your blog has lots of rich ideas on a budget...glad i found your blog! i will be a follower in a second! verbena cottage

  45. I love it! It adds alot of character to the room!

  46. Girl, you know that you will work on a drum shade! Wow, all that work but it looks gorg as you say! I love the fabric. Great job!

  47. This is flippin' awesome. I love the fabric and that you did it all yourself. You are my hero.

  48. That's an awesome one. And if you need to do an interrogation, you can just shine the light in someone's face & demand, "Gimme the facts!"

  49. I love it! Kudos to you on the project and for finding the shade for such a bargain. I recently bought one at Restoration Hardware and it was $35 and that was half price!

  50. That looks great! Thanks for the DIY step by step. Now I know how to do that too!

  51. That turned out beautiful, love the shade, love the fabric, love the idea. It may be just the thing for my living room that is too small for end tables and is in need of light. Thanks!

  52. It looks great, Sarah! I had some spraks fly in a recent electrical project. Luckily...all was ok, but it was a little freaky. Anyway, I can't wait to see how your office comes together. The fabric and colors are beautiful.

  53. Great fabric, great job, great tutorial! I want to do something similar for one of my rooms, its on the project list!

  54. If I said "I hate you", would you understand my sarcasm? You stinker! You got your drum lamp hung and mine is still in the basement. Darn you! You have a successful blog! But really, great work and a job well done. I'm following you....

  55. I just love you to pieces for doing this tutorial -- you have no idea! Great job -- it's beautiful!

  56. Please share where you got that gorgeous fabric...Please?

  57. What a great idea, Thanks so much. I also love the fabric you used. Where did you get it? I just got on the website and absolutely love it, I'm hooked.... Shelly

  58. I've been searching for a couple of days to learn how to cover a shade. This is one of the BEST post with great photos that I have come across. Thanks for sharing.

  59. Hey, TJ Maxx has a quilt in that fabric! I saw it today!

  60. I LOVE drum lighting! I'm really wanting to do this in our dining room, but do you know if there is a way so that you can do more than 1 bulb? I'm just worried that it won't be bright enough with just one bulb. Any thoughts?? Thank you for your step by step, doing it ourselves is definitely the option of choice =)

  61. I LOVE this light! The fabric is just beautiful. Can you tell me the diameter of the shade?

  62. I love this fabric. Do you know the name of it? I know it's from an old post. Thanks.

  63. love it! have been looking for drum shades myself, and same as you, just want to change my house over completely. I have tons of fabric (in love with that spa blue right now myself), but I'm afraid it wouldnt look that great...yours is testament to otherwise.

  64. LOVE LOVE LOVE this post!! I'm in the middle of an office re-do myself (think pink walls with green and white polka dots and stripes AND a horse border!) and I do believe I'll have to try this for myself. Thanks for the inspiration!

  65. Thanks for the DIY. I was off for new years wandered homegoods and found a light shade. project I have been wanting to do for years thanks to you I had done in a matter of hours (including the time at home depot to find the light kit). I love my new light over my dining room table!

  66. I love this! I used this same fabric to make my drapes. This would be a great idea for my left over fabric!

  67. I happened to stumble on your blog when I was looking for tutorials on making your own drum shade. Who knew there were other crazy DIYers like myself who were doing this!! Your shade came out beautifully and has completely inspired me to make my own. I have been looking for the perfect shade forever and I just cant seem to find the right one without having to spend hundreds.. my frugal pocket would never allow this. Thank you for showing us that we CAN do it!

  68. Do you remember the name/maker of that fabric? It's beautiful!

  69. This chandelier has been featured on my blog. It's great!

  70. I just redecorated my kitchen and dining room and have a little nook-counter height bar area for my grandkids....only thing is, it's dark. I was looking at hanging lamps on the internet and they are wow in price, so I came here to see if you had any ideas for lighting in that type of place where there is no existing light fixture. Amazingly, you do! The funny thing is, I just saw a lamp shade I LOVE at Target the other day and wished I could make a hanging lamp out of it. Guess what I am going to try tomorrow! Thanks for sharing your great mind and talent with all of us!!!! Love your blog, truly I do!!!!

  71. Definitely trying this! I've been looking for an inexpensive way to get ceiling light in our dining room since we moved in! I knew that just looking at an electrician would be more than I was willing to pay. haha. I looked at hanging Chandeliers online that plug into the wall, and they were over $130-$200!!! Thats just crazy. So thank you so much! I wish I would have seen this DIY earlier! I'd have light over my dining table already. Lol. Thank you!

  72. LOVE your blog and am obsessed with the fabric---please share where you got it, thanks!!

  73. I had to share your drum shade chandelier tutorial on my bathroom inspirations!
    I will attempt this one!! Looks like a keeper!!
    Thanks for being so darn creative!

  74. Totally excited I found your blog because I need to do this in my newly redecorated bedroom. I want to do this instead of side table lamps, but am curious about the switch. You said you bought on to put on the cord, but how does that work? Since this will be next to the bed I need the switch to be in a convenient place on the cord. Can you explain please?


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