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DIY // String Pendant Light Fixture

09.15.15 By //
The Design Confidential DIY // String Pendant Light Fixture

Every now and then I get a fabulous idea in my head about something I want to create, and I can literally imagine how it will play out every step of the way. When the folks from Casper wanted to see what I might make from their gorgeous mattress boxes, that is exactly how the planning process went down. It will be so simple, and look amazing, and I will skip, and dance, and root myself on along the way. And then… I actually dove into it and gave it a go, and that sucker went terribly, horribly awry. Like off the charts, accidentally demolished your chandelier that hangs 30 feet in the air, on another planet – awry. Ya, that would pretty much sum up this project the first five times I tried it. It just seemed so simple in my mind – and ultimately on attempt number six that you see here today – it was! But oh em gee you guys… those first five times I not only completely failed at making it work, but I managed to utterly destroy a major fixture in my home along the way, eek. So… yay for that. So it goes for life in the DIY lane. There is always collateral damage – always – it’s just usually a little more painful and a lot less costly for me, but it’s totally a thing in this line of biz.

The Design Confidential DIY // String Pendant Light Fixture

You have to be able to laugh at yourself when you are experimenting and things don’t go as planned, don’t you think? I mean… things rarely go as planned anyhow so what’s a little failure along the way but a great tool for solidifying your plans and working out the kinks before I pass it on to you guys, am I right? And naturally by laugh I often mean cry, but this time it was truly so insane that there was nothing but laughter and occasional hair pulling. It just seemed so simple?!? Today, I bring you the truly and completely simple version of this project that doesn’t involve trying to work over an existing fixture and is instead a completely independent fixture that stands on its own looking fabulous and made from one of the most gorgeous boxes of all time and housing one of the most amazing mattresses of all time. Let’s get into it, shall we?


Cardboard – I used the boxes that these came in.



Exacto Knife or Craft Blade

Keyless Socket

Swag Kit

Bulb – This should be a bulb that is cool to the touch when on so there is no fire hazard.

The Design Confidential DIY // String Pendant Light Fixture

Start by cutting out 8 of the same shape. You will be gluing these into pairs for a total of four arms. Mine is approximately 18” high by 12” wide at the widest point and 2” wide at the shortest point. You can do this with a long triangle shape or a shape along the lines of mine, this is entirely up to you but just be sure that the inside edge of your shape is vertical and straight and it will save you a lot of time in the end.

I decided on this shape when I was trying to work over my existing chandelier and wanted to disguise the arms and shades of the fixture. I reduced the size in my final attempt at this as well as the number of arms overall. I glued the arms into pairs with the natural sides glued together and the white and blue striped sides showing. If you are working with natural colored cardboard, you will still want to glue to pieces together so you have a very sturdy arm when you are ready to string.

The Design Confidential DIY // String Pendant Light Fixture

Once your pairs are glued together trim away any areas that are uneven so the sides are perfectly paired. You will cut a 1 inch slot near the top and bottom of your flat inside edge, preferably around 4 inches or so from the top edge and bottom edge. You don’t want to be too close to the ends or this won’t stay put as you are stringing your fixture. // You will want your slots to be in the same place on each of your arms so I created the slots in one arm and then used that to mark out the slot location in my other arms.

At this point you can also cut out your circles. You will need two, exactly the same size with a 10 inch diameter on the outside and an inside diameter of around 8 inches. You can see these two images up if you need an example.

The Design Confidential DIY // String Pendant Light Fixture

You will cut smalls slits along the outside edges. These can be about 3/8 of an inch apart and need to go all the way through your arm, front to back. Avoid placing slits at the very top and very bottom since this is where things get a bit crazy. I skipped the top altogether as you can see and my slits around about 1/4 of an inch in length. This seems to be the sweet spot so your string doesn’t slip out and your slits don’t get shaggy. Just like for your slots, you will want the same number of slits on each arm and you will want them in about the same spot, so create your slits on one arm then use that to create the slits on your other arms.

The Design Confidential DIY // String Pendant Light Fixture

Once you have your slits and your slots, you will piece this together a bit like a puzzle. You will want to glue these in place to keep them from moving and you should have an arm at each of the four corners of your circle, which has no corners… but I think you know what I mean. North, south, east and west, yes?

The Design Confidential DIY // String Pendant Light Fixture

After your glue has set up you are ready for the fun part – the stringing! I started at the top slit of one arm and tied off the end of my string (you can this two images down). Then just like when you were young and at summer camp or art class and you made awesome string art, you will head down to the bottom slit on the next arm and slip it through. Keep your string nice and tight throughout, without pulling too hard that you tear your cardboard or pull it through your previous arms.

The Design Confidential DIY // String Pendant Light Fixture

And then you go back up to the top slit of the arm next to that one, and so on and so forth around and around your fixture.

The Design Confidential DIY // String Pendant Light Fixture

This is probably obvious to any of you who have done this before, but for those that haven’t, once you make it full circle through your slits at the very top and very bottom, you will move to the next slit down and continue on around.

The Design Confidential DIY // String Pendant Light Fixture

Eventually your strings will begin to cross in the middle as you begin to make your way down the arms where you started at the top and up the arms that were on the down swing and they will flip. This is when you really see the magic happen.

The Design Confidential DIY // String Pendant Light Fixture

Yay, if you are finished with the stringing you can string together your light kit. You are going to want to weave your cord through your chain to give it some extra strength. I strung the cord in and out of the chain through every other link and skipping a link in the middle of those each time. You will wire your cord to your socket according to the directions on the package but you will need to have the nipple and the ring cap threaded onto your cord prior to actually wiring your socket. Your cord will slide down into the center of the ring cap and nipple, then you will wire it and secure the socket back together.

The Design Confidential DIY // String Pendant Light Fixture

It will look like this when you are finished. Hang your chain from a sturdy hook in your ceiling. You will want it to sit about midway in the center of your pendant so hang the chain and cord on the hook leaving it to dangle about 30 inches or so from your ceiling. Then you will use some of your string and secure the pendant to the hook by looping your string around the top circle. Your light kit will sit down inside of it at about the halfway point. You can secure the light kit to the pendant if you wish, but it’s not entirely necessary.

The Design Confidential DIY // String Pendant Light Fixture

Yahoo… that is it, so totally easy right? A fabulous upcycle project and just a fun way to add a bit of light to your life!

A huge over the moon and back thank you to Casper for partnering with me on this project. It took much longer than anticipated and I couldn't have done it without them – literally – and getting a good night sleep after working my fingers to the bone was much needed. Btw, their mattresses are out of this world amazing and I will share all about my experience and my good night's sleep research in the next few weeks so stay tuned. And a big thank you to all of you who help support the brands that challenge me to create new content like this for The Design Confidential. I love to use my brain and my skill set in completely new and exciting ways, it makes my world go round and I couldn't do it without your support. You rock my world friends! Heart you guys…

Casper is an award winning sleep startup that launched with an outrageously comfortable mattress sold directly to consumers — eliminating commission driven, inflated prices. The critically acclaimed sleep surface was developed in-house by a team of product engineers with experience from IDEO, has a sleek design, and is delivered right to your door in a small, “how did they do that?” sized box

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