Friday, February 8, 2013

Moroccan Lantern Light Fixture

Jessie and I decided our apartment needed more lighting in one corner, so we started looking at table lamps. After perusing the selection at Target, we didn't find anything we fell in love with.  That's where the idea of a chandelier or a light fixture hanging from the ceiling was born.  

I've always been a fan of Moroccan lanterns and decorations.  In fact, when I have my own house, I'm going to dedicate a room to a Moroccan theme - there will be lanterns, and poufs, and floor pillows, and a gorgeous hookah.  And candles everywhere.  So one day, Jessie and I were at the yoga studio where we take a Bollywood dance class, and I pointed out the Moroccan lantern light fixture they had.  She liked the idea and so did I, so when we got home, I took to the interwebs in search of an affordable light fixture.  I didn't have any luck finding something that looked nice and was affordable, so then decided DIY might be the way to go.  I searched Craigslist for Moroccan lanterns and came across the lantern pictured to the right.  This woman was selling a bunch of lanterns that she had used as centerpieces for her wedding.  I contacted her, negotiated a lower price for three lanterns, and picked them up the next day.

When I brought them home, I took a look to see how I would be able to turn these into a light fixture.  The lantern has doors on it that open up to insert a candle.  I decided the opening was large enough to fit a light bulb.  The top of the lantern, where the hook is for the stand, actually moves down to make room for a cord.  So the next step was to find those cord kits that people use for paper lanterns.  The cheapest ones I found that had the on/off switch were these, which Jessie bought. 

When the cord kits arrived, we simply strung the cord through the inside of the lantern and out the top, until the bulb-holder part was inside the lantern, snugly at the top, and the cord was completely out.   Then we bent the pin inside each lantern, so it wouldn't scratch the light bulb.  And finally, we screwed the bulbs in and closed the lantern doors.  All we had left to do was figure out how to hang the lanterns.
The cord kit came with a ceiling hook, so we drilled holes into the ceiling where the hooks would go, and inserted the ceiling hooks.  We placed the hooks in an equilateral triangle formation to achieve the look we wanted.  When we hung the first lantern/cord on the hook, we learned that the lantern was too heavy for the cord to stay in place. So, we tied a knot in the cord, just above the height we wanted each cord to be.  We staggered the length of each cord to get our look.  

The next step was to deal with all the cords.  We used an eye hook, that was opened up with a pair of needle-nosed pliers and screwed it into the wall, close to the ceiling, near the corner.  We gathered all of the cords at the top, and used a zip tie to keep them together.  Then we threaded the cords through the hook on the wall, to keep the cords against the ceiling and down the corner/wall.  Using a surge protector strip, we plugged all of the cords in, so that we have easy way of turning the lanterns on all at once.  

To complete the look, we have a couple more steps.  One of our options is to get a wireless switch outlet, like this, so that we can have a light switch to turn on the light fixture.  

The final step is to figure out how to hide the cords coming down the wall in the corner.  The best idea we've found so far is to buy a strip of crown molding, paint it the color of our walls, and nail it into the corner, around the cords.  I got the idea from this blog post (towards the end).  Here are some pictures of that idea: 

I'll post more pics when we finish this project!