DIY Mixed Material Light Fixture

This post brought to you by Elmer’s ProBond Advanced. All opinions are 100% mine.

Happy second day of Spring! That might not mean a lot to me here in South Texas (where it’s basically sunny all the time), but for all you northerners…this is big stuff. I lived in Northern New York for nearly six years, and that day that you can dash from your house to your car without wanting to DIE of frostbite…well, that’s a good dang day.

This spring I have plans for a few outdoor projects, the first one is building a front porch light. Adam and I have a lot of DIY projects under our belt, but somehow DIYing light fixtures wasn’t one of them. Our first attempt didn’t turn out half bad though…

DIY porch light

I wanted something made of a few different materials, and I dreamed up a boxy wood, glass, and metal one. I was pretty sure it would work, so the boys and I headed to Home Depot for supplies. When Adam got home that day I explained to him my idea, hoping he would say it was doable. Sometimes when I present my ideas to him he scrunches up his face and says some variation of “that would never work in real life”…but not this time. I must be getting better at this. Or may HE’S getting better at it.

Here is what you will need…light fixture materials

  • Square dowels (4)- I used 5/8 inch, but if you use a larger dowel this project will be easier.
  • Picture frame glass (4) – I used 8×10 and bought them at Home Depot for $1.98 each (you can find them at garage sales and thrift stores for much cheaper though)
  • Light socket kit
  • Elmers ProBond Advanced glue
  • Elmers wood glue
  • Stain
  • RustOleum Frosted Glass spray paint
  • Some sort of thin metal rod (found mine next to the ceiling tiles at HD, no idea what they are called)

So step one, you will need to cut a shallow groove (1/8 inch deep) in the square dowels so that there is a secure place for the glass to rest. I’d try to explain to you how Adam did this, but a simple picture would probably be much less confusing…IMG_4832W

Next cut the dowel pieces down to size. You will need four pieces that are 7 3/4 inches long inches (cut square) and eight 9 3/4  inches pieces (cut at a 45 and measured from the short side). IMG_4838W

And also a thin 10×10 piece of plywood for the top.wood for lighting frame

Here is a closer look at the groves, the corner pieces have two.IMG_4843W

The next step (after staining) is to start assembly. I had to make dinner so Adam did this part too…it’s not all fun DIY projects all the time. After cooking dinner I did the dishes, cleaned the kitchen, and then folded a mountain of laundry. You know, just living the dream, basically. Assembly took Adam about a quarter the amount of time it would have taken me, which gave me plenty of time to finish putting away that laundry, toddlers in tow. I think he may have had an ulterior motive with all the extreme light helpfulness.

So, assembly. First you will want to glue the first four dowel pieces to the wooden square using wood glue.

work space

Then glue the corner pieces on, making sure to keep everything square.IMG_4852W

Just look at that concentration y’all. He’s dedicated.

This next picture is out of order, but he also added screws to make it more secure. The silver ones go into the base frame and the black ones go into the corner pieces (this is where those bigger dowels would come in handy).assembling a wooden light fixture

Okay, my turn. First I sprayed one side of my picture frame glass with a few thin coats of frosted glass spray paint, then I added a little Elmers ProBond Advanced to the grooves, slid my glass into place (make sure the painted part is inside), and then glued the rest of the grooved dowels in place.Elmers ProBond

The ProBond glue works really well and is exactly what I needed for this project. I’ve had glue problems in the past (like here and here), but this one it goes on without becoming a foamy mess, dries completely clear, is paintable, works on Mixed Materials, and is 100% weatherproof. Perfect for my light fixture.

The wooden box is actually really square, but (much to my surprise) the picture frame glass is NOT. It needed to be clamped and allowed to dry, but for some reason we only own two clamps, and I needed more than that. Solution?mama needs an edge clamp

I’m officially putting in my early Mothers Day gift request…Mama needs a band clamp. And let’s throw in a massage for good measure.

Next I added the metal embellishments. I had originally planned to put a simple X on each side…but then I decided to rub some funk on it instead.X or no X

I glued them right to the glass using the Elmers ProBond, since it dries clear and all. IMG_4926W

Then we installed the light socket, wired it up, and screwed it directly into the ceiling.DIY porch light

….aaaand then I decided that it looks awesome. It even passed the nighttime test.DIY wood, glass, and metal light fixture

To me it kinda looks like a weird modern twist on a craftsman style light. Sorta? You know what, lets not label it. It’s that cool light in school that fits in everywhere…or nowhere. It walks to the beat of its own drum and it’s okay with that.

DIY wooden light fixture

Whatever it is, it’s better than the cheap old boob light that was there before (which was bright gold before I spray painted it years ago). Oh, and I almost forget…the new light cost less than $20 to make!

before and after - boob light to wooden cube light

I actually made two one these, but the second one is taking longer to make so I’ll have to post about it next week. It’s for the foyer though, and it a fancy chandelier version of this. Not to label it or anything.

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  1. Very cool! Love the look of mixed materials. Good job, both of you!
    Sam Pereira recently posted..Beauty is in The Eye of The Beholder. Or Not.My Profile

  2. Ashley, that is gorgeous–great job!
    Diane recently posted..Green WeekendMy Profile

  3. Amazing! You are so creative and talented!
    Devon @ Green House, Good Life recently posted..Happy Earth DayMy Profile

  4. That is fantastic, Ashley! I love how this turned out – and the “funkified” X is just perfect! Love it!
    Tara recently posted..All You Need Is Love: Swallow Wall ArtMy Profile

  5. Can’t believe you MADE that! Stellar.
    caroline [the diy nurse] recently posted..peel and stick vinyl plank flooringMy Profile

  6. This is so terribly clever. I love the addition of the metal rods in that slightly offset pattern. Good call.

  7. I totally love that you don’t mind sharing how you do things! Thanks so much for encouraging us to be able to do the things that you can do.

  8. I’m very impressed that you even thought to DIY this. It turned out great! How did Adam cut the grooves in the dowels?
    Jan Elizabeth recently posted..A bowling ball with a history, and big plansMy Profile

  9. Impressed! Totally new idea? Love it!

  10. oh, I love this! Adding it to the list of reasons DH needs a fancier selection of saws :)
    Gretchen@BoxyColonial recently posted..Shaking Things Up in the Dining RoomMy Profile

  11. I have been trying to figure out something for my entry hall and this is great! I love the Mcgyver clamping!
    Kelley @Miss Information Blog recently posted..Easy Cheesy Hash Brown CasseroleMy Profile

  12. Anonymous says:

    Can’t wait to see your projects, it’s been awhile! They are amazing.. Grandfather

  13. looks great Ashley! I always look forward to your creativeness!
    Cheryl @ The Creative Me and My McG recently posted..How to Make Quick/Cheap Art!My Profile

  14. This is an amazing light, girl!! Can’t believe you guys made it!
    Jamie recently posted..Indigo Dyed Pillow ShamsMy Profile

  15. I love the light you both made! :) I am soo impressed.
    Yvonne @ Sunnyside Up-Stairs recently posted..Wood Louver WainscotingMy Profile

  16. Love it! It’s cool to build a fixture yourself. I hope you never get tired of looking at it! Thanks for sharing.

  17. This is genius! I have a boob light in our computer room and I hate it. But I don’t want to spend a ton of money on a new light fixture either. Were you able to use the old boob light set up to hang the new fixture?


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