Woven Wood Pendant

Evidently, home-made light fixtures are my thing.  I don’t know how that happened, but so far I’ve made a cloud like coffee filter pendant for our guest bedroom.

And a wood veneer shade for the boys’ bedroom.

Just a warning.  I say embroidery hoop about 10,000 times in this post.  Enjoy.

We still have more than half a roll of the veneer strips, so I brainstormed ways to use it.  One of my ideas was another light fixture.  I know, how many wooden light fixtures does one house need?  This one isn’t for our home, actually.  When I was in Minnesota visiting my blog BFF Jen, she mentioned she wanted a new light fixture for her son, Preston’s, room.  That’s when I shared my diabolical plan for a wood veneer/embroidery hoop/bamboo skewer drum shade.  And, she loved it.  Now, I had to figure out a way to, as Project Runway’s Tim Gunn would say, “Make it work!”

In the words of my favorite 80’s school skipper, Jen Jones, this one’s for you.

I already had the veneer and skewers, so I took a trip to Hobby Lobby to snag two wooden embroidery hoops.

After gathering a few more supplies, namely a seamstresses tape measure, permanent marker, a hot glue gun and glue sticks, I started my project.  I should mention that I should have made a second trip to the craft store to get another itty bitty (like 2 inch diameter) hoop and a length (or two, depending on the diameter of your pendant) of thicker wooden dowel.  Something around 1/4 inch should do.  Oh, you’ll notice this pendant is tiny.  That’s because I didn’t know exactly if my plan would work, so I bought cheaper, smaller hoops.  Also, the outer hoop isn’t necessary for this project.

To start, measure the circumference of the hoop, marking on the inside where you started.

Then, fold your tape measure in half to easily (math free) find the half way measurement.

Mark this on the inside of your hoop.  Continue folding the tape measure in halves until you’ve made at least 8 marks on the inside of your hoop.  Stack the second hoop on top to transfer the marks.

These marks represent the skewer placement.

Helpful hint: I used 8 skewers for a 6 inch diameter pendant.  If you’re making a larger pendant, you’ll need more skewers.  It depends on the look you’re going for, but I would suggest about 32 skewers for a 24 inch diameter hoop.

Next, use your hot glue gun to place a skewer on each of the marks you just made.  Place the flat end down, against your work surface to make sure the skewers are all flush.  Don’t cut the skewers to length until you’re completely finished.  This eliminates guess-work or more math.  Can you tell I loathe math?

Now, cut 6 (or more depending on the look you’re going for) strips of wood veneer the same length as the circumference of your hoop.  Start weaving the strip in and out until you’ve reached the opposite end.  Hot glue the overlapping ends together and hold until cooled.

Helpful hint: Each embroidery hoop will have a small notch.  Try to line your seams up with this notch, just to keep the ugliness all to the back.

Continue placing each row of veneer, alternating the showing skewers.

Gently push each row down for a tight, even weave.

Place the pendant vertically and slip the second hoop over the skewers.  Push down until the top of the last veneer piece is flush with the bottom of the embroidery hoop.  Glue the skewers to the inside of the hoop along the marks.  Now, use a scissors or a wire cutter to cut the tops of the skewers, keeping them even with the top.  The beauty of this plan is that every component is a blonde wood, which could be painted, stained or left natural for a different look.

That’s great, but how am I going to hang it, you ask?  Here’s how.

What, that didn’t make perfect sense to you?  Let me explain.  The outer circle is the top embroidery hoop of the shade you just finished.  The medium-sized circle is the tiny embroidery hoop which will keep the fixture hanging.  The four thick lines are 1/4 inch wooden dowel, epoxied to the pendant shade and the small hoop.  Don’t use hot glue for this, you want it to be completely secure.  The square is foam core with a small hole cut in the center.  Place the foam under the small embroidery hoop with the wiring threaded through the hole.

If you want to make a light diffuser, buy another embroidery hoop that is about four inches smaller than your largest hoop.  Stretch a piece of fabric in the hoop, add four more dowels to keep the hoop in place.  Make the dowels long enough to rest on the top of the bottom shade hoop.  Make sense?  If not, just ask and I’ll clarify.

If you don’t want to use embroidery hoops and dowels, track down a wire lamp shade cage and weave veneer around it.  You could use something like this for the top and this for the bottom.  A heavy gauge wire would work to make the verticals for the weave.  I would spray paint these before weaving the design, just to modernize the brass look, for around $10.00, which isn’t bad for a 24 inch diameter pendant.

If this sounds like too much work, just buy this pendant from West Elm, for at least 120 bucks more.

Think you’re brave enough to give it a try?  If you do, we’d love to see what it looks like.  Are you a DIY light addict like I am?  Running out of places for new lights?  Share your home-made lights, please.  Have you been lusting after a fancy fixture, but can’t bear to shell out the dough?

13 thoughts on “Woven Wood Pendant

  1. I want to try this so bad! I’ve been trying to find a solution for a drum shade over our dining table and this would be so cool! Great idea!

  2. Awww! Thanks Amanda!! I can’t wait to do this project now! I appreciate the great tutorial, and will have it up on the computer the whole time I am creating ours.

    Thanks for being the best blog bff ever.


    1. Meggan, If you give it a try, please share pictures and how it went! We’re dying to see someone else do this!

      Jen, Anything for you. 🙂 Hopefully it works for you! Can’t wait to see it!

      Happy crafting!

  3. wow! I love this! I am also crazy about DIY light fixtures… I’m working on one right now which involves paper mache and gold leaf…. I hope it works out as well as it does in my head!

    1. Paper mache and gold leaf? Sounds promising! Keeping my fingers crossed it works as you hope. Can’t wait to see how it turns out.

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