21 Upcycled Lighting DIY Ideas

Pendant light made from a globe

doyland/ Flickr / CC By 2.0

Pressed for lighting around your home and don't want to spend major cash to elevate your space? Here are 21 ways to upcycle everyday items and create more light in your home.

  • 01 of 21

    Laundry Detergent Bottle Lamp

    Laundry detergent bottle lamp
    The Spruce

    Put those big empty detergent containers to use with this laundry detergent bottle lamp! No need to throw it away when you can transform it into this adorable lamp, perfect for a child's room. It's easier to put together than it looks and it's a great (and fun) way to go green at home.

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  • 02 of 21

    Vintage Camera Lamp With Slide Shade

    DIY lamp and shade made from vintage cameras and negatives

    Stacie Stacie Stacie / Flickr / CC By 2.0

    Stacie from Stars for Streetlights dipped into her vintage camera stash to make this stunning vintage camera lamp with slide shade from old projector slides.

    Though this lamp features a vertical trio of vintage cameras, you could also make something similar using a single antique accordion-style camera or crank-winding TLR at the base.

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  • 03 of 21

    POM Bottle Table Lamp

    POM bottle table lamp
    Deidre Sullivan / The Spruce

    POM Wonderful juice is wonderful for more than just drinking! Don't throw away your bottle when you're done–use it to make this POM bottle table lamp. This DIY is part of a project series–of ways you can transform a POM bottle into a creative lamp for your space including a mid-century modern lamp and a pendant lamp. 

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  • 04 of 21

    Paint Can Chandelier

    Old paint cans upcycled as a chandelier.

    HomeSpot HQ / Flickr / CC By 2.0

    The folks at HomeSpot HQ featured this wacky upcycled paint can chandelier. We're not sure we'd want it in our formal dining room, but we can just see it hanging in a high-ceilinged artist's loft. It would also make a fun addition to a home studio, craft room, or child's bedroom.

    This paint can chandelier shouldn't cost much to make. You'll have to buy the cord-and-socket sets, but one of your neighbors will probably pay you to haul his dried-up old paint cans away.

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  • 05 of 21

    Salvaged Object Lamps

    Lamp bases made from salvaged objects
    Gwen Lausterer Carpenter

    If you'd rather buy an upcycled lamp than making it yourself, there are plenty of sellers happy to oblige. You'll spot them for sale at craft shows, flea markets―especially the artisan-focused markets such as Treasure Island Flea―and antique malls. 

    The maker of these salvaged object lamps sells at interior-design-oriented Market Central in Midtown Memphis. They're made from architectural artifacts, vintage machinery, old farm implements, and repurposed musical instruments. we're especially enamored with the water pump and parking meter lamp bases.

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  • 06 of 21

    Summer Fireplace Cover and Barn Pulley Lamps

    Victorian fireplace cover and rustic barn pulley lamp bases at Market Central, Memphis
    Gwen Lausterer Carpenter

    Who'd have thought the bits and pieces are forefathers scrapped when they updated would be so in demand today? 

    Rustic barn pulleys have been hot items in the repurposed lighting world for a number of years now. If you find one cheap at a rural flea market or yard sale, buy it fast. Even if it's not to your taste, you can resell it for a profit.  

    The arched-top, cast-iron lamp base on the left is made from an antique summer fireplace cover. The Victorians used to disguise and decorate their fireplace openings during warm weather. If you don't want to turn yours into a table lamp, This Old House has a tutorial for repurposing fireplace covers as log racks.

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  • 07 of 21

    Architectural Fragment and Musical Instrument Lamps

    Lamps made from architectural artifacts and musical instruments
    Gwen Lausterer Carpenter

    The lamp on the right appears to be made from an architectural fragment. The amber-colored facing has a lovely luster, and we particularly like the stylized tulip relief.

    The repurposed lamp on the left―we think that's an old trombone without a slide―shows just how sculptural a musical instrument can look. Just to name a few alternatives, you could also use a trumpet, French horn, clarinet, violin, or even a tambourine.

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  • 08 of 21

    Repurposed Pulley Wheel and Fan Blade Lamps

    Lamps made from old crank wheel and fan blades
    Gwen Lausterer Carpenter

    If you live a rustic or industrial-inspired space, these upcycled pulley wheel and fan blade lamps from Memphis-based Market Central should appeal.

    A repurposed piece is always more meaningful if you know its history. If you look closely at the photo, you'll see that the pulley wheel has PAT. NO. 316789 embossed on its cast-iron surface. Out of curiosity, we looked it up. It was manufactured by the Champion Blower & Forge Co., and it's recorded as a "device for converting motion." The patent was issued to Henry B. Keiper in 1885.

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  • 09 of 21

    Vintage Tea Tin Pendant Light

    Vintage tea tins

    " Tea Tins" by tilling-67 / Flickr / CC By 2.0

    Vintage tea tins are so pretty–you can usually find them at flea markets and thrift shops. For a project that costs next to nothing and is quick to do, you'll end up with a unique upcycled vintage tea tin pendant light that will add interest to any room in your home.

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  • 10 of 21

    Junk Shop Pottery Lamp

    DIY lamp made from junk shop pottery
    Gwen Lausterer Carpenter

    This is the table lamp that inspired the entire DIY Lighting Ideas series.

    The team from Carpenter & Carpenter Design bought the pottery piece used for the base for $10 at a junk shop in Memphis. It was a cone-shaped vessel covered with any number of painted-and-glazed clay masks.

    Considering the final result, this quirky lamp ended up being a real bargain―even with the cost of professional wiring and ​a good shade. Had they wired the lamp themselves, the cost would have been even less.

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  • 11 of 21

    Pepper Grinder Lamp with Salvaged Wood Veneer Shade

    DIY table lamp upcycled from pepper grinder and salvaged wood veneer.

    doyland / Flickr / CC By 2.0

    This do-it-yourself pepper grinder lamp with salvaged wood veneer shade is just fantastic. The creator made the base from a broken pepper grinder. That stripey-looking stuff covering the shade is salvaged wood veneer. Even the socket, wiring, and other internal bits were scavenged from discarded lighting the owners found at the dump.

    This concept is pure DIY, but the execution is amazing. The work quality looks better than most of the uber-expensive lamps we see for sale in gallery-style stores.

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  • 12 of 21

    Repurposed Barn Pulley Pendant Light

    Barn pulleys repurposed as pendant lights with exposed filament bulbs

    Stacie Stacie Stacie / Flickr / CC By 2.0

    Stars for Streetlights blogger Stacie's repurposed barn pulley pendant light is just as gorgeous as her vintage camera lamp. We especially like the exposed filament bulbs. And, we get a tiny peek at her kitchen. 

    If such as thing existed, we'd nominate Stacie as today's DIY lighting queen. We'd even make her a DIY crown to go with the title, but we know she could make a much better one for herself. 

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  • 13 of 21

    Dining Area DIY Barn Pulley Pendant Lights

    DIY barn pulley pendant lights in the eat-in kitchen

    Stacie Stacie Stacie / Flickr / CC By 2.0

    Here's another set of Stacie's dining area DIY pulley pendant lights. This cluster of three hangs over the eat-in area of her kitchen. 

    Stacie got her pulleys from her grandfathers' barns, but you can also find them on occasion at flea markets, antique malls, and salvage shops. If you get tired of hunting locally, check eBay; they've usually got some listed.

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  • 14 of 21

    Repurposed Globe Lamps

    Old globe repurposed as a table lamp

    whatshername / Flickr / CC By 2.0

    Vintage globes are hot, low-cost collectibles. We're not referring to fine, floor-standing antique globes you might find in the studies of old manor houses, but the mass-produced tabletop version produced for schoolroom and middle-class home use. You'll frequently find them for sale at yard sales, flea markets, and thrift stores.

    Some like to display their old globe collections en masse. Others use them for DIY projects such as repurposed globe lamps. Dishfunctional Designs compiled a great collection of upcycled globe ideas.

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  • 15 of 21

    DIY Globe Pendant Light

    Pendant light made from a globe

    doyland / Flickr / CC By 2.0

    Old globes also make striking pendant lights. They're large and colorful―and they add a playful vintage touch to your space. The process is pretty simple too. If you buy a bunch of old globes, you can hang an entire solar system above your head like this DIY globe pendant light.

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  • 16 of 21

    Coffee Percolator Lamp

    Lamp upcycled from coffeepot and shade made from recipe cards.

    faircompanies / Flickr / CC By 2.0

    This charming lamp looks like it was made out of an old coffee percolator instead of a plain coffeepot. We think so because the piece the maker used as a final look like a see-through dome that sits on a percolator lid's top. Regardless, if you decide to make your own, either will work, percolator or coffeepot. 

    The lampshade is intriguing too. It's made from a bunch of old, yellowed recipe cards.

    Did you notice the rounded, riveted walls in the background? This lucky coffee percolator lamp lives in a vintage Airstream travel trailer.

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  • 17 of 21

    Stacked Rock Lamps

    Stacked rock lamps by Philip Eberheim

    DIYthing / Flickr / CC By 2.0

    We love these stacked rock lamps made by Philip Eberheim. Those are lamps our cat could not knock over or it appears so anyway. 

    If you decide to try a DIY version, you'll need some lapidary tools to drill through the rocks.

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  • 18 of 21

    Feathered Ceiling Fixture

    A plain ceiling light gets a glamorous feathered makeover.

    lovemaegan / Flickr / CC By 2.0

    Being a glamorous gal is tough when your builder installs boring basic light fixtures. If you're not ready to replace yours, glam them up. 

    The DIY diva at Love Maegan dressed up hers with a dramatic wreath made of bold, black feathers. To adorn your own, read Maegan's full tutorial

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  • 19 of 21

    Cold Cathode Stick Lamp

    Repurposed cold cathode lamp

    alx_chief / Flickr / CC By 2.0

    The creator of this piece scavenged a cold cathode lamp from a scanner. We won't pretend to understand how he made it, but we do like the way it looks.

    This light would work well in a contemporary or industrial space. We can even see it adding atmosphere to a cozy corner in a cool coffee shop or bar.

    Personally, we'd probably work the cold cathode stick lamp into a transitional bookcase or console-top vignette. That slender stick of bright light would add another visual layer―an unexpected one―to a luscious mix of modern art, antiquities, artifacts, and found objects.

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  • 20 of 21

    Wine Bottle Pendant Lights

    Wine bottle pendant lights

    heroiclife / Flickr / CC By 2.0

    Upcycling wine bottles as pendant lights isn't a new idea, but there's a reason people keep doing it. They do it because it's an inexpensive project and a fun look. This colorful mix of wine bottle pendant lights is especially pleasing―and the exposed filament bulbs are an unexpected touch. 

    Cutting the bottom off of the bottles is usually the most tedious part of the process, but there's a tutorial on Spilled Glitter that explains the best way to complete that step.

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  • 21 of 21

    Stirrup Lamp

    Stirrup lamp

    portland_mike / Flickr / CC By 2.0

    That lampshade is ghastly and we're not in love with the tree-trunk-slice base, but we kind of like the idea of this tiny repurposed stirrup lamp.

    It's too cheesy to use in an authentic western interior or with truly rustic decor. But, it's just kitschy enough to be cool with a vintage cowgirl theme or tongue-in-cheek urban-country look. We're envisioning oversized silver nailhead trim on the upholstery and throw pillows made from vintage cowboy fabric meant for use in a little boy's room long ago.

    As for the shade, it needs a properly scaled oval shade―one that's straight up and town and doesn't taper at the top―covered with nubby, unbleached linen or coarse, tobacco-colored burlap. A 1950's two-tiered fiberglass shade with leather-like lacing would also work.

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