Turn an Old Pendant Light Into a Modern Geometric Table Lamp

by Tim and Mary Vidra ; Updated August 31, 2017

The secret to this ultra-modern looking geometric lamp is its past life as a lack-luster glass hanging pendant chandelier. That’s right — with the help of a standard lamp kit and a trusty can of shiny brass finish spray paint, any outdated glass fixture can assume the look of a luxe and present-day brass gem of a table lamp.

Clear the Glass Pendant Frame

Remove the lighting components from the pendant light (which consists primarily of unscrewing hardware) leaving the empty glass frame and brass plate top which will act as the base for the table lamp.

Prepare to Drill the Glass

A hole in the glass base will allow for the lamp wire to run cleanly from the back of the lamp. While drilling through glass may seem intimidating, it’s simple with the right protective gear and tools, both available at most local hardware stores.

Prepare the glass for drilling. First decide on the hole placement (it should be near the base of the frame), then wipe the glass with a clean, dry cloth. Apply a piece of painters tape over the glass area to cover the pane, which will help keep the diamond hole saw steady while drilling into the glass.

Drill a Wire Hole

Wearing protective eyewear, drill into the glass by placing the diamond hole saw on a 45-degree angle against the tape to get a first bite into the glass. Apply light pressure and ease into a 90-degree angle flat against the glass, drilling all the way through the glass. It may take up to a full minute of drilling; continue to apply light pressure and look for a steady stream of glass powder residue in order to know that the bit is still moving through the glass.

Sand the Wire Hole

Remove the painters tape, and then smooth any rough edges in the freshly drilled glass hole by using a 120-grit sanding band and power drill for quick and detailed smoothing. Sandpaper sheets will work in a pinch if you don't have sandpaper bands.

Apply the Brass Finish

Wipe the entire glass frame with a clean dry cloth and place in a well-ventilated area in preparation for spray painting. Apply several thin and even coats of spray paint to achieve your desired coverage in a solid brass finish. Keep the spray can in constant movement, shaking in between coats to avoid any paint runs or areas of uneven finish. Allow the paint to fully dry before bringing the glass base inside to work with, about 3 hours.

Attach the Standard Lamp Kit

Once fully dry, take a moment to marvel at how this once dated light fixture has already taken on a brand new modern look. Following the lamp kit instructions, screw the threaded pipe through the existing hole in the fixture plate. Attach the lamp socket base to the threaded pipe, and then thread the lamp wire through the socket base up from the bottom of the glass frame. Thread the remaining lamp wire through the pre-drilled hole.

Complete the Lamp Socket

Attach the exposed lamp wire ends to the screw terminals on the socket interior before covering with the socket shell and fitting securely into the socket base. With that, the hardest part of making this lamp is complete!

Finish the Lamp

Finish the lamp by pressing the harp frame into the socket, twist in a standard light bulb and secure the lampshade of your choosing at the top of the lamp harp. At this stage, it’s safe to plug the lamp cord into an electrical outlet to test the switch and your handiwork.

Decorate and Illuminate

Decide on the placement for your new lamp and delight in the illuminating look of this new modern geometric gem. Nobody needs to know its past life as an outdated fixture.

Looking for more creative project ideas with a modern geometric twist? Learn how to turn an old light fixture into modern geometric candle lanterns, make a himmeli-style sculpture, or these geometric concrete bookends.

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