Guess what? I made a light out of brass tubes!
But let's back up a bit :)
I know I've mentioned before how much I love incorporating geometric shapes and forms into spaces (see my easy triangle paper art tutorial here). I like that they seem to add an unexpected and interesting layer to a room, and lately I've been particularly drawn to geometric light fixtures.
The Spica lights from Iacoli & McAllister are insanely cool:
I also really liked this light fixture in more of a brass finish.
So when I saw this DIY version floating around on pinterest, I decided to try making one, too! Even though it wasn't all that similar to the above fixtures, it still had that interesting graphic shape thing going on, and even better, it was cheap to make (no where near the $600-$1000+ those pendants above cost!)
So, after picking up a few materials, and a couple hours of time, this is what I ended up with:
I like it! To be honest, it turned out completely different than how I thought it would, but that's totally okay.
I'd originally tried to mimic the shape of the Spica lights above, but after working & tinkering with the brass tubing for a bit, I realized that it would be impossible (or really really hard) to replicate those shapes without welding or soldering the metal tubes. Since that was out, I stuck with just bending the tubes into a crazy shape that I liked :)
Here's how I did it:
- pendant light set (I used a vintage brass option like this one from this shop)
- light bulb, preferably an Edison-style bulb like this or this
- brass tubing (I used eight 36" long tubes that were 7/32" thick - I got mine from a hobby store)
- wood dowels that will fit snugly inside the tubes, cut to 2" long each
- fishing line (to hang)
- hook that can be screwed into ceiling (to hang pendant)
1) Attach brass tubes together with the wooden dowels. You'll want wood dowels that will just barely fit inside the tubes (I even had to sand the edges of mine down for them to fit). Anyway, stick one end of the dowel about 1 inch into each tube, and attach another brass tube to the other end of the dowel.
*Note: You want the dowels to be snug, but also make sure you don't force them, or put too much tension on the wooden connection point. Otherwise, the wood dowels can snap inside the tubes, and you're kind of SOL if they're wedged in there. This happened with one of my tubes, and I couldn't use it... although, now that I'm thinking about it, you could probably drill the dowel out of the tube if you needed to.
2) Bend the tubes into a shape that you like. This is where the "tinkering" comes in :) I can't really describe this process, because honestly I just folded and bent the tubes where it looked best in my eyes. You have to sort of visualize how you want yours to look (sketching it out might help!) and bend the tubes accordingly.
Attach the remaining tubes one at a time with additional dowels. Attaching the tubes individually helped me see where the next bends should be (if there was sort of a bare area, I'd make sure I bent the next tube into that direction. Make sure you're lamp has volume in all directions - you want it to be spatially interesting when viewed from any angle.
Also, keep in mind that the tubes have a bit of weight to them, so you may have to bend them in places that will help support other areas, if that makes sense.
3) Hang up your light. Once you've attached all of your tubes and bent them into a shape that you like, you're ready to hang it up! Screw the hook into the ceiling where you want yours to hang, and hang your light set from the hook. Next, tie a knot with fishing line around the point on your brass light that you want it to hang from, and tie the other end of the fishing line in a knotted hoop. Hang the hoop on the ceiling hook, and you're done!
I love the shadows it casts on the walls when the light's on. And, while I know this light probably isn't for everyone, I really like the graphic element it adds.
So there you have it! A light fixture made with brass tubes!
Happy Happy Friday!!