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Monday, June 10, 2013

The best DIY world globe pendant light

I don't know how long I've had my world globe, but the USSR is still one nation, according to its map. So most of the nations of Eastern Europe haven't been born yet, and I don't know how many countries in Africa are missing or have changed names or changed borders. In short, my world globe is obsolete, but I love maps, and I'd hate to get rid of it.

It's Pinterest to the rescue. I've been seeking out images of lights made from recycled materials to post on my Pinterest board "Recycled and Up-cycled Lighting." I've found some amazingly beautiful, wacky and ugly lights. There chandeliers made of the most unlikely things: disposable plastic utensils, Bic pens, bicycle chains, plastic milk jugs and even laundry bottles (one of the ugly ones).

As a map lover, some of my favorite recycled lights are made of world globes, so I thought: Why not make a light out of my outdated globe? I'm not really a DIYer. My husband Mark isn't really a DIYer either, but he offered to help since my knowledge of electrical wiring is zip, and he's good with electrical work.

When we bought our home in Tucson, it had some pretty ugly lighting. At the time, we couldn't afford to change it since we and our wallets were busy buying appliances, replacing the flooring and doing other essentials. Now 11 years have passed, and we've started replacing rather than ignoring the ugly fixtures.

You can see why we needed to replace this entryway light. It's hideous!

The first step in the globe-to-pendant transformation was to cut the globe off of its stand and cut an opening at the bottom for the light to shine out and down. I've seen globes cut in half so that you end up with two pendants, but we decided to cut our globe along the 60 degree latitude (south of the equator). So we kept the tip of South America and ended up with enough light for a small entryway light.

The next step was to paint the interior with white paint to seal the paper and to create a reflective surface to help disperse the light. 

The cut globe after the interior was painted white.

We bought a mini-pendant light kit that included all of the wiring and hardware that we needed for the light fixture. We also used an LED bulb. They are long lived, and they also emit very little heat, which seemed ideal for a cardboard fixture.

The mini-pendant light kit.

Not surprisingly, the cut edge of the globe's cardboard was a little rough, so we wanted something that would hide the uneven edge. Mark came up with a great idea to use a flexible car door edge guard to finish the edge.

The car door edge guard installed on the globe edge.

Getting the globe cardboard edge to fit in between the metallic and black rubber sides of the edge guard was a little tricky, but it worked wonderfully, and it's the best looking edge trim I've seen on a globe light. Kudos to Mark for a great idea!

Here's a close-up of our globe pendant light.

Here's the "after" photo of our new globe pendant light.


Talk about an improvement! It's perfect for us, too, because we love to travel, and it goes well with our eclectic art collection. The whole project (basically the pendant kit, car door guard and free globe) cast about $20. Even a really cheap pendant light would cost twice that. To get a stylish light would run at least four times that cost. And it's up-cycled!

Now we just need to replace the ugly matching light in our dining room. Maybe we'll use another globe variant....