DIY Lighting from a Hanging Planter
Looking for a simple DIY lighting project? Creating hanging lights from a hanging planter is simple, and the look can blend with vintage, rustic, shabby chic, or industrial decors. This creative lighting project goes equally as well in the house or in the yard. Whether you’re looking for kitchen lighting ideas or outdoor lighting ideas, a wire basket light fixture fits the bill, and you can easily build this DIY lighting project.
What You Need
Everything you need for this DIY lighting project is readily available:
- Hanging planter – I used a 14” planter, but 12” and 16” work as well. You can even find some decorative ones like this hanging planter on Amazon. Your local nursery or home improvement store has them as well.
- One or two washers – from a hardware store. The size is important, explained below. I found that the big box home improvement stores didn’t have washers the right size, you’ll probably need to go to an actual hardware store.
- Spray paint – to paint the washer to match your planter, brown or black most likely. Or any color, and paint both the basket and the washer.
- A light socket with a shade ring – make sure you get one with a shade ring. This will be used to hold the basket. There’s this kit from Amazon which works. I also like this socket from Sundial Wire, but be sure to order the strain relief as well, it’s sold separately.
- Electrical cord – Make sure you get the right length. Decide if it’s going to plug in to the wall or hang from the ceiling. I’m a big fan of cloth covered cord for vintage DIY lighting projects. I encourage you to try it, it makes a big difference. It’s available on Amazon (see our Shop page for a selection) and at the Sundial Wire site linked above. As far as bricks and mortar stores, I’ve seen it only in some specialty lighting stores, and then rarely.
- A plug and switch – if you’re going to plug it into the wall.
- JB Weld – If you don’t already have this as a staple in your toolbox, it should become one. It’s a 2-part mixture, like epoxy, but it’s more like liquid metal. You can do anything you want with it when it’s a paste, and when it’s dry you can treat it just like metal. It’s available at hardware stores, home improvement stores, and online.
- A screwdriver and wire strippers
Mounting the Basket to the Socket
If you look at the light socket shade ring and the hole in the bottom of the hanging planter, you’ll see that the socket and shade ring would pass right through the planter. That’s where the washer comes in. You need a washer with an outside diameter which is larger than the hole in the planter, and an inside diameter which is equal to the size of the socket and smaller than the shade ring. It sounds confusing, but it’s actually not complicated.
- The standard light socket with a shade ring needs a 1 3/8” hole, so that’s the diameter you need for the inside of the washer.
- The outside of the washer needs to be just bigger than the diameter of the hole in the bottom of the planter.
Finding the right washer might be the most time consuming part of this DIY lighting project. An alternative is to use two washers stacked on top of each other. In this case, the bottom washer needs to fit the shade ring, and the top washer can be bigger to match the hanging planter.
Once you’ve found the right washers, paint them to match the basket. Or, you could decide to paint the basket as well, in which case you can use any color you want for both.
Once the paint is dry, it’s time to JB Weld the washer to the hanging basket. This will make sure the washer holds on to the basket, as the socket holds on to the washer. Just mix a pea size amount from each tube of JB Weld until you get a nice gray color. I use a wooden skewer from the kitchen to mix JB Weld on a piece of cardboard. Whatever you use to mix with and mix on, make sure it’s disposable. Put the JB Weld on the points at which the washer contacts the basket, and put the washer in place. Put some weight on it while it dries to help maintain contact.
Once your wooden skewer is permanently affixed to your cardboard, the washer is likewise permanently affixed to the basket.
Wiring the Light
Now it’s simply a matter of wiring up the socket and attaching the socket to the basket. Thread the wire through the top of the socket shell. If your socket does not have a strain relief, tie an Underwriters knot. This will hold the weight of the basket so the wire screw terminals don’t have to. Strip the wires and connect them to the socket.
There are separate articles on how to tie an Underwriter’s knot, wire a light socket, and strip wires.
Reassemble the socket and attach the basket with the shade ring. If you are using a plug, attach that as well.
I selected this bulb for my hanging basket DIY lighting project. I wanted a large bulb size, and decided on the quad-loop filament. This is going over the breakfast nook which is surrounded by windows to provide natural light, so I didn’t need a high wattage bulb.
DIY Lighting Project Complete
There you have it, a hanging basket DIY lighting project that was simple to make and complements many different decors. Have fun making your own, and share pictures with us.
This is a project you can vary to fit your own resources & taste. You can use any type of basket, not just hanging planters. Here are a few different looks I’ve seen using basket lights.