DIY Light Kit Inspiration & How-To’s

There are lots of ways to update an old ceiling fan, spray paint being one of them.  Go on Pinterest and search “spray-painted ceiling fans” and I’m sure the inspiration will come flooding in.  If you’re not up to painting your fan though, you can always DIY/add to the light kit and make a big change, just like I did last week to the ceiling fan in our master.

Here’s how you could go about doing just that using a drum shade and/or it’s hardware.  First of all, let’s talk the type of light your fan has.  There are some fans that have multiple sources, like this one in our living room:fanideas 011

To add a shade to this kind of fan you’d need to unscrew the finial where you’ll just be left with the lights and a threaded rod. 

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If you simply slip a shade that’s made to fit onto a lamp harp, like the one below, over the rod and screw the finial back on, you’ll have a drummed fan in no time.  Oh, but don’t forget to take off the glass light covers; you won’t need them anymore.  If they’re as ugly as ours, you’ll be glad to see ‘em gone.

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If you’re not a huge fan of how the shade and fan look underneath, you could add a fabric diffuser just like John and Sherry @ Young House Love did here.

You might also have a fan that has just one hanging bulb, like this one in the twin’s room:fanideas 003

To add to this type of fan you’ll need a lamp shade with a larger ring in the center of it’s center bars (I’m totally making all these part names up…), like this one:
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All you have to do is slip your bulb into the ring and screw it into the socket.
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Easy.

Shades like the one below would also work.  Target and Walmart sell shades with this type of hardware so your color and pattern options without having to reupholster are many.
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As far as customizing your added shade goes, there are endless options.  I soaked in some inspiration from West Elm and Anthropologie to give you ideas.  With these you’ll get a little glimpse of what goes on in this noggin’ of mine.  Look out, flying thoughts!

1)  Anthropologie's Two-Tiered Lamp Ensemble
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This is the shade I was inspired by in making the kit that fits over the fan in our master, except I flipped it upside down.  Read all about how to make yourself one here (but make sure you skip on the vinyl in exchange for stiffer plastic).

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2)  West Elm's Small Round Capiz Pendantphoto 5

Since the shade in our master didn’t turn out exactly how I had hoped, thanks to the flimsy vinyl, I’m thinking of trying this next.  To get this look you’ll just need the frames of a few different sizes of shades (3 maybe 4 shades…oh, and did I mention that thrift stores are the PERFECT places to find lamp shades of all sizes?!).  Attach them so that you have a plane of concentric circles to which you’ll tie strings of capiz shells (which you can DIY using wax paper – see Brenna’s tutorial) in varying lengths (longer in the middle, shorter on the outside).  You can attach the rings by gluing skewers across them or anything else you can think of.  You can also skip the concentric circles and get the same effect using just one shade frame by tying several lines of fishing string from the outside ring to the inside ring (the part that fits over the light bulb), and then tying your shells on the string.  AND, you don’t have to use shells, you can use beads, strings of ribbon, and even washers strung together to get a shade that looks like this one:

3)  West Elm's Melissa Joy Manning Chandelier
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Next up, 4)  Anthropologie's Turquoise Rivulets Chandelier
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I love this one and think a dining room complete with a ceiling fan would be the perfect place to try it.  To get this look, you’d need the frames of two lamp shades, a larger one and a smaller one, strings of beads, and some small chain or string to attach the two frames.  To make it, attach the top frame of your larger shade to the bottom frame of your smaller shade with the chain or string…I’d say anywhere from 9 to 12 inches apart.  Then attach your strings of beads (make sure they’re longer than the distance between your two frames…I’d add six or so inches) to the larger frame and then to the smaller frame, getting that pretty curve at the bottom.

5)  Anthropologie's Feathered Chandelier
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Last but definitely not least, you could imitate this look by cutting the above feathered shape out of some cardstock, painting it gold, and gluing it to the top frame of a lamp shade, letting each piece hang.  Think of it like drawing a heart.  You fold your paper in half, draw your heart, and open it.  Except with the above design, you’d fold your cardstock, draw half a feather and maybe make some cut-outs, paint it if you desire, and attach it while it’s still slightly folded to your ring.  You’ll make however many you’d need to go all around your ring.  Or, if you’re really good at paper crafting, you can make the whole design by accordion-folding one piece of cardstock and making some snips.  Make sense?  That one’s a little hard to get from brain to paper…

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One awesome thing about all of these ideas is that you can even create them if you’re renting!  All you have to do is keep the original light cover, slip it back on when you leave, and bang, it’s like you were never there.  Cost-wise, if you scout out thrift stores and get creative with supplies, you can definitely come in under the $20 mark when all is said and done!  :)

I’d love to know if anyone ever tries any of these ideas (snap a still and use hashtag #heybeanlook on Facebook or Instagram) or if you’ve come up with some of your own!  And if I’ve failed to explain a step well enough, shout it out and I’ll try and elaborate!

Have a great weekend!  I’ll be back Monday to show you what I’ve been painting!  :)

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