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How To: DIY Sphere Chandelier From A Glass Bowl

Glass Bowl Sphere Chandelier

Light fixtures are my favorite things to update in a space. The only problem is that they can be so expensive. Light fixture DIY can be intimidating but it is becoming so common that stores like Lowes and Home Depot are helping out more and more with great parts and foundational fixtures to get people started. A simaliar store-bought version of this fixture is pricey but check out how this DIY version is not that hard and very affordable.     

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Glass Bowl Sphere Chandelier
Source: Shades of Light

The homeowner wanted something like the above fixture for her new kitchen. She didn't like the price tag, do we decided to DIY it.  Here is how...

Glass Bowl Sphere Chandelier

materials

1.  Swag Kit (Menards): Our light fixture was not centered on the table so we needed a swag kit. If your light fixture is centered, then you don't need the swag kit. You just need to buy the chain. They sell this seperately. The swag kit was on sale and therefore was cheaper than a swag hook and chain sold seperately, but you could also simply buy a swag hook and a chain not in the kit. They sell these at any home improvement store in the lighting section.

2. Portfolio Mini Pendant Kit (Lowes)

3. Large Glass Bowl (At Home Decor): It varies where I get my glass bowls for fixture. TJmaxx/Homegoods has great options. Sometimes you can score one at an Estate Sales or Thrift Stores. We wanted a huge orb bowl so I found this one at At Home Decor.  It was $34.00 with a 10% off coupon. Important: There will be a hole drilled in the bottom of this bowl so make sure the glass is thick enough. If the glass is thin, then the bowl will break. My bowl was thinner at the opening but the bottom was good and thick.

4.Crescent Wrench: for tightening the nuts onto the threaded lamp pipes.

5. Two couplings (Menards): It doesn't matter what finish these are. These won't be seen.

6. Wire Stripper (Amazon): You will need this to attach to cut the pendant cord to size and attach the fixture.

7. Two Decorative Loops (Menards): These will be seen so get them in the finish you want.

8. Lamp Pipes (Lowes): Its easiest to get the variety so you switch them out if you need different sizes.

9. Two Rubber Washers ( The inside opening should be a larger opening than the diameter of threaded lamp pipe with coupling attached, but smaller or same size opening than your decorative loops.)

10. One or two metal washers: (The inside opening should be a larger opening than the diameter of the threaded lamp pipe with coupling attached, but smaller or same size opening than your decorative loop) I only needed one (see #11) but no matter what these will be seen so buy them or paint them the finish of your fixture.

11. Lamp Shaft (optional): I had an old thrift store lamp shaft that I wanted to add to the fixture. I took apart the lamp and pulled this off. It is solid wood. My plan was to cut it. The great thing about a lamp shaft is it has a hole through the middle. You could easily use a decorative finial or even small furniture leg for this. If you do, you will need to drill a hole through the middle. If you don't want to do this and want a more minimal look then a second metal washer would work. 

Glass Bowl Light Fixture 3.jpg

First Things First..... Your glass bowl needs a 3/4 inch hole in the bottom of it. Scary DIY right?  While there are many tutorials out there to do it, my favorite being from Mandi from Vintage Revivals, I still don't do it. I have visions of a breaking bowl or bloody hand. So I always buy my bowl and drive right down to my local glass cutting shop. It cost $20 to have a hole drilled by the shop in my city. That is worth it to me.  Once this is done and picked up you are ready to put it together.

Glass Bowl Sphere Chandelier

Step 1:

Take the Pendant kit and take the ceiling mount (the part you attach to the ceiling) apart to free the cord. I always take a picture of something together so I can remember how it goes. Put aside the instructions for later. You will use install the light fixture per the pendant kit instructions. Note: See the part farthest to the left of picture #1...You use it to tighten the white screw to keep the cord in place. Since I used a swag kit, I didn't need this. If you don't use a swag kit, then you will need this. I will explain how later.

Step 2:

Remove the decorative nut from the top part of the light socket. This will expose an attached threaded pipe that you will use in step 5.

Glass Bowl Sphere Chandelier

Step 3:

Take your glass bowl and set it aside. You will start attching things to it.

Step 4:

Add the metal washer first and then add the rubber washer. Do not skip the rubber washer step. You will tighten things to make the fixture sturdy and the rubber washer protectes the bowl from cracking.

Glass Bowl Sphere Chandelier

Step 5: 

Attach one of your couplings to the attached threaded pipe. Your washer and rubber washer will now be between the coupling and the socket.

Step 6:

Attach one of your threaded pipes to your second coupling. The end that is in my hand will go into the coupling that you attached in step 5.

Glass Bowl Sphere Chandelier

Step 7:

Attach the threaded pipe to the first coupling. This picture is to show you the end product. It might be confusing because the picture in step 6 shows the coupling at the opposite end. At this point I twisted the coupling down so there would be enough threaded pipe exposed for step 9.

Step 8:

Insert the tight socket through the bottom of the bowl. (The bowl is upside down of course)  Notice the rubber washer is the part that is up against glass.

Important: From here on out you might need an extra set of hands. You can do it with one person, but its so much easier with two.

Glass Bowl Sphere Chandelier

Step 9:

I cut the lamp shaft down at the top. I did this so the there would not be cut wood seen that I would have to stain. This is where you could use a finial or furniture leg. Make sure you have drilled the hole and stained it before this step. Again, I didn't have to drill a hole because my $2 thrift store find, a shaft from a broken lamp, already had one. If you do need to drill a hole, drill one the size of your washer hole. You can skip step nine if you don't want to use a decorative finial of some type.  In steps 10-11, replace the wooden part with a metal washer.

Step 10: 

Note: the left side of the picture is the cord coming from the glass bowl. The right side will be the part of the cord/chain that goes to the ceiling. Next attach your second rubber washer. This will be pressed up against the bowl on the outside (between the finial and the glass). Now attach your decorative finial or second washer.

Glass Bowl Sphere Chandelier

Step 11:

This should be how your fixture should be looking. Its not secure at this point. It is only secure in the picture because I am holding up the cord.  If you can't tell, the socket is inside the bowl.

Step 12:

Attach your chain to one of your decorative loops. I always use pliers to do this. I already had installed the swag hook into the ceiling before I started the DIY. This allowed me to know how much chain and cord I needed. You can do this even if you don't need a swag hook. Just measure the amount of chain that you need for your desired height.  

Tip: I typically like to hang a dining room table fixture 33-36 from the top of a table. So the distance between the bottom of the bowl to the table is 33-36 inches.

Glass Bowl Sphere Chandelier

Step 13:

Attach the the decorative loop to the exposed threaded pipe coming up through the finial/washer. Note: I had to problem solve a little. I had too much threaded pipe exposed that the decorative loop didn't tighten down all the parts together. I fixed the problem by going back to the store and getting two more washers. To make it look more decorative, I bought two different sizes of thicker washers. I placed them in between the finial and the decorative loop. You could also problem solve by taking the fixture apart to step 6 and use a smaller threaded pipe.  Use pliers to close the chain shut (not pictured). I also covered the bowl with some bubble wrap while I did this. Or, you could be extra careful and attach the chain to the loop before you screw it on the lamp pipe.

Step 14:

Intertwine cord between the chains. I did every four chains. After I got the fixture up I wished I had done every two or three.

Glass Bowl Sphere Chandelier

Step 15: 

Thread a small lamp pipe through your second coupling and attach it to the end of the chain. (This is why you need to measure your chain before you DIY) Thread the end of the cord, after its been intertwined in the chain, through the second coupling/ lamp pipe.

Step 16:

Now its time to get it ready to install.  Insert the exposed pipe through the ceiling mount. Frirst thread the jagged washer, then the grounding wire, and then (not pictured) secure it with a nut. Tighten with your crescent wrench. The nut, the jagged washer, and the grounding wire come with the pendant kit. You don't need to purchase them.

I am going to insert picture #1 again so you can see it. Skip this part if you are using a swag kit.

Glass Bowl Light Fixture 1.jpg

See the little part on the far left.  If you are not using a swag kit you will need to install this on the threaded pipe attached to the second decorative coupling. (see Step 15). Thread your cord though it and screw it down over the lamp pipe until it is touching the bottom of the decorative coupling. There is not thread on the bottom part so it will be loose. Don't worry about this, once you do step 16 and tighten it will be secure. You can see it has an attached threaded pipe. This is what goes through the ceiling mount. Once you have done this, do step 16. Finally, screw the white side screw so it will clamp down on the grey light cord. Now you are ready to install. Again, this only concerns you if you are not using a swag hook.

Step 17: (not pictured)

Grab those pendant kit instructions and install your fixture according to instructions. You need a second person for this. If you are not comfortable with this...call an electrician.

Tip: If you are using a swag kit, hang the fixture on the swag kit first and it will hold the chandelier there while you easily install the wires and ceiling mount to the light box.

Glass Bowl Sphere Chandelier

I love the brightness and simplicity of this fixture. I added a round vintage bulb and called it a day.

Glass Bowl Sphere Chandelier

I like the extra detail the finial gives to the fixture even though it is not needed in the function.

Glass Bowl Sphere Chandelier

I love the finished product. The table is a 40-inch diameter table. I think two of these hung over a rectangular table would look great. You could also do the same project with smaller bowls to get pendant lights for your bar.

The inspiration fixture was $299. The costs for the parts, bowl, and hole drilling was a total of $80. Gotta love that price savings right?

Do you recongize this kitchen? Check out the renovation details here.  Happy New Year.

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Barbara L. Peters on Jul 09, 2017:

The insight to do this was amazing. It definitely shows that you can do almost anything for your home just by thinking of the idea and see if it works. DIY is definitely something to think about. Very creative and just think that you could use other colorful bowls in its place. Thanks for sharing.


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