how to: DIY neon light

Last week I posted about fixing up the ugly window corner of my dining room; in addition to covering the weird window with a quilt, I also gave this little light fixture a neon makeover. This light is kind of random to begin with; originally when I moved in, there was some super-outdated track lighting in this spot. I removed it, but then I needed to do something with the wiring hanging out of the ceiling, so I thought I’d install a really minimal fixture and call it a day.

So I put in the light that you see here–just a basic black cord, porcelain socket, and an edison bulb. (I got mine at a lighting store in the city but you can find something similar here.) It was fine, but it kind of lacked oomph, and I started thinking that it might need a little shade or something. But once the quilt went up, the light really looked blah; it totally blended into the quilt and disappeared. But then, I remembered that I had THIS STUFF hanging around:

Well hello, neon pink duck tape and nylon cord, aren’t you marvelous! These were both impulse purchases that I picked up in the past few months. They just jumped out at me in the store with their flashy neon fabulousless and begged to be taken home, and obviously, I couldn’t resist them. I wasn’t sure what I would do with them, I just knew I needed them. But when I looked at that plain black lighting fixture just blending into that quilt, their purpose in my life finally became clear.

Wrap that boring black cord! Easy peasy. So, all I did was knot the nylon cord up at the top of the electrical cord (the end near the ceiling), then begin wrapping.

Just wrap, wrap, wrap. And wrap some more.

And wrap until you can’t wrap no more! When you reach the end of the cord, tie it off in a knot. (I covered the knotted end with a bit of duck tape to hide the knot.) Then, to spiff up the socket itself, I wrapped another piece of duck tape around it, just for looks.

Done and done! Super simple.

I have to say, this light makes me really happy, and I love that it’s totally temporary. When I get tired of neon pink (which I guess will happen someday, though it’s hard to imagine), I can just unwrap the tape and cord, and do something different!

But for now we’re totally in love.

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  • Richard M.

    That’s so non-usual (so you). The only thing missing is a melted pocket watch draped over the edge of the table - ;-)

  • Liz

    Fabulous project!! All of your projects are great though :-)
    And how good is it when you have an idea and you have all the supplies on hand so you can just do it there and then?? I love craft momentum.

  • jessica

    After reading about your lighting projects I felt inspired to update some of my hated lighting. After many zips around the web, I came across this light, a match for your wallpaper I believe. Not my style, but I had to share it with you:

    • Brett

      How wild – it does match my wallpaper! Thanks for sharing & good luck with your new lights! xo Brett

  • Billie Wagtail

    The bust in the last photo, is this a cast from a Pereprine Hoenig collection

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