Last fall, I was strolling through the summer clearance section at our local Target when I stumbled upon the huge collection of string lighting they had clearanced. We needed some string lights for our new screened-in patio, so I grabbed a few boxes of these, and then I grabbed a couple of boxes of these metal ones that I thought might be fun to hang elsewhere. Later, I’d get this fun idea to make an unconventional lamp out of them. And, if you konw me, you know I usually get these ideas in my brain and then execute months later. This scenario is no different.
Here we are, a year later, in Sebastian’s room. I started hanging the string lights last year I but never finished and haphazardly threw up a few things I wanted on the wall above his dresser. Haphazdly because I just hung stuff on the nails that were still in the wall from when the girls inhabited his room and had a collage wall up there.
I bought that little lamp for another project (I wanted to recreate this ceiling light…plans have changed though) and the first thing Sebastian does when he wakes up in the morning is turn it on. Fine except it’s really light and wobbles all over the place when two-year old hands get ahold of it…it’s fallen more than once. Long ramblings short, it was time. He needed a new lamp and I wanted to spruce up that wall.
To figure out the placement of things I’d be hanging, I simply laid everything out on the floor of his room – moving and shaking until I had a set up that satisfied me.
Then I used my handy dandy picture-hanging tool to transfer everything from the floor to the wall.
And, I finally finished that unconventional lamp.
To make it, I used a shelf bracket (originally, I bought this one but Anthony told me it was too dangerous to use – the end could poke an eye out or stab a forehead. I disagreed (and there may have been an eyeroll) but I love my husband so…), the string lights (I used two strands), and some screws and picture hangers. In total, I spent $18 ($3 for the bracket at Dirt Cheap, $7.50 for each light strand, and pennies for the hardware).
Starting over by his window, I hung the end of one of the string lights by putting in a picture hanger and slipping the hook of the hanger through one of the cut-outs on the basket part of the light.
(Don’t worry, I made sure to hang the lights high enough so that certain someones woudn’t mistake the strand for a jungle gym…)
Then I strung the lights across the corner and over to the next wall where I used another picture hanger to hook the light up near the ceiling. For the actual ‘lamp’ part, I first installed the shelf bracket. As luck had it, our trusty stud finder found me a wall stud right where I wanted to hang the lamp so I penciled in the edges of it.
Had there not been a stud, I would’ve just had to use some drywall plugs to install the bracket. The lights aren’t heavy at all but in case somebody went a’pullin’, I didn’t want any a’fallin’. As it was, I simply installed it using the screws that came with it. Oh, and I forgot to mention, I spray painted it black prior to all of this. It seemed more “manly”. ;)
Eventually I’m thinking I might repaint the string lights – the cord and baskets. I didn’t have time to do that last week nor do I know what color to go for but the cool thing is that I can. The decorative baskets over each bulb slip right off so it’d be easy to change their color. When I first found these lights in the store, I envisioned the metal baskets gold or a gold ombre with a white cord. That wouldn’t really fit in well in Sebastian’s room but you never know where they’ll end up later in life…
Last, I just grabbed the second set of string lights in one handful and set them on the hook of the shelf support so that they fell however. I tried to hide the connectors as well as I could within the bunch so that they weren’t too obvious. To make the whole thing work, the lights are connected to an extension cord that has an on/off switch on the cord itself. It’s actually the one we use for our Christmas tree so I’ll have to grab another one (like this one) next month, especially since the additional outlets on it are a little too big and obvious. For now though, it does the trick.
SO, after all that, I should let out a big cyber sigh and tell you that we’re not sure we like it. I mean, we like it, it looks uber cool BUT it doesn’t give off a lot of light. It’s more mood lighting than something you could read a book by and, since we read a lot of books in that chair there, I’m not sure if form will override function in this case. If we decide to switch it out for something brighter, converting the other lamp that was in here prior to this string lamp to something that hangs might be a good option. I’ll light you know what happens. ;)
Anyway, I’ll wrap this up with a few more details and sources so you can be on your merry way.
If you follow us on Instagram, you might’ve seen the story about that USA wall art in the corner over the mirror. I found it last week at Dirt Cheap for $2 and planned on painting it because it had a big sharpie mark on the front.
Shown in an Insta-story, I started by spray priming it but didn’t go any further because I kinda liked the look of it as-is. It has a wood texture to it (although I’m fairly certain it’s not wood) and so the thin coat of primer gave it a white-washed look. Those of you who responded to the story like it too, so white-washed it stayed and over the mirror I hung it. That mirror is a hand-me-down from years ago and the two (empty-for-now), big picture frames were yard sale finds I spruced up.
black and silver picture frames: Dirt Cheap (they were in our $20 bargain buggy score)
print in the black frame: Honeychild Forest
BE NOT AFRAID wall hanging: Honeychild Forest ($35 with the above print on sale @zelieandco on Instagram)
canvas painting: done by my good friend, Jesse
’S’ initial: consignment store (gift from my sister that my cousin painted)
white floating shelf: Dirt Cheap ($3 for a set of four shelves)
The trophies were a super fun diy (Anthony finally let me paint his prized, childhood trophies!!!!) that I’ll spill more about later. The clock was a wedding gift that we used for years until it quick working (yes, we tried changing the battery) and so I set it to the time of Sebastian’s birth and hung it up in here.
On his dresser are some of Anthony’s things – the Giants’ jersey figurine, another college trophy, a statue of St. Anthony - and a dracaena I potted in a Dollar Store vase. I set all of Sebastian’s favorite books up there for quick grabbing – Runaway Bunny, The Little Blue Truck books (love these!), The Giving Tree, The Little Engine That Could, and some noisy books. Also up there is The Dangerous Book for Boys, a mint condition, yard sale find. It’s one I’ll probably move somewhere safer so it doesn’t get ruined because I can’t wait to read and use it with Seb when he gets older. I LOVE this book! It has lots of stories and activities in it; things like “How to So fun! It reminds of something the little boys living in Downton Abbey world would read. And, there’s The Daring Book for Girls that I will most definitely be getting the girls for Christmas!
I’ll be back later this week if all runs smoothly over here, to share how I spray painted Anthony’s trophies! I love how they turned out! Spray paint is a modern-day miracle worker, isn’t it? Have you spray painted anything recently? Nothing is safe in this house! ;)
I hope you have a fantastic Tuesday!
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