I don’t know about you but it seems that when I’m working on putting a room together most of the time I can’t find exactly what I want or need to finish the space. Take our light above the new kitchen island for example.
We really wanted to make the existing electrical work and avoid spending money on an electrician. So we had to find a light that had a plate across the top like the old light.
I looked in stores, I looked online but anything I found that (1) worked and (2) I liked, was WAY too much $$$. Isn’t that always the way?
But at least I knew what I liked. Now it was just a matter of finding it at a reasonable price. Then one night while watching reruns of Fixer Upper I saw it again…
And it dawned on me that we could repurpose the old light and make our own fixer upper inspired wood light. I removed the glass shades and we were left with a pretty decent starting point.
Here’s how we made our Fixer Upper inspired wood light for just $40.
- repurposed light fixture
- miter saw
- nail gun
- wood glue
- spray paint
- Edison bulbs
Before starting we went through all the pieces and picked out the straightest ones. I also sanded down any rough edges. We picked up the wood at our local lumber yard but you can also find it at Lowes or Home Depot in the general purpose molding area. We got it for a much better price at the lumber yard though so it might be worth checking out if you have one in your area. All in all the wood cost us $40 and we had plenty of scrap leftover.
Here’s a diagram to help with the step by step process of how we put this light together.
We started with the short sides of the light fixture. So we cut four pieces to 12 inches (A from the diagram above) and four pieces to 11 inches (B). This gave us a 12 inch square. We dabbed each end with wood glue and then used a single nail to hold it in place.
For the center X we measured from corner to corner and got a total length of 15½ inches (C). Once we had those pieces cut to size we marked the middle point on the wood and set the miter saw at 45°. Place the piece of wood on the saw so the center mark you made lines up with the laser. After you cut your first angle just flip the piece over and repeat. Do the same thing on the other end. Once your pieces are cut you can secure it in place with some glue and nails (I highly recommend dry fitting your pieces before you secure them).
For the other half of the X we used some of the smaller scrap pieces. Again mark the center of the wood and set the miter saw at 45°. Place the piece of wood on the saw so the center mark you made lines up with the laser. After you cut your first angle just flip the piece over and repeat. Next hold up the piece to the longer side of the X, like this,
And mark on your smaller piece where the two meet. This is your cut line. You could also just measure but we’ve found that this method gets you the tightest fit most of the time. Set you miter saw back at 0° and cut to size. You’ll need to repeat this for all 4 pieces. Secure in place with glue and nails.
Next we cut the 4 long sides pieces (E) at 46 1/2 inches to make our light 48 inches total. Secure in place.
Using your tape measure mark on the top and bottom pieces every 16 inches to make the 3 rectangles. Cut four pieces to 10½ inches (F). Secure each in place making sure to center (F) with your pencil marks.
Now it’s time to make the X’s for the rectangles on the front and back. We had to dig deep and think back to 10th grade geometry class to figure out angles of right triangles. Thankfully they have online calculators to do the math for you as long as you understand what numbers to enter.
So, just like before we measured from corner to corner and came up with 18 3/8 inches (h). You’ll also need to know the height of the triangle (a), ours was 10 5/8 inches. Enter these two numbers into the online calculator and it will effortlessly give you your missing angles!
After cutting the wood to 18 3/8 inches we marked the center point of the wood. To cut the first angle we set the miter saw to 36°. Again, line up the pencil mark with the laser and trim. The next angle is a little more tricky because miter saws can’t cut a 54° angle. So we had to use a scrap piece of wood to make a perpendicular fence for the miter saw. With the angle still set at 36° and holding the wood perpendicular like this,
we were able to get the angle we needed. We repeated this for each of the 6 rectangles and then secured each piece in place.
Next we had to make the smaller pieces of the X’s. Using the same angles as before we basically repeated the process except we cut the pieces longer than 18 3/8 to start with. After all the angles were cut we used a straight edge (a level works well) to find the center point of (G).
Hold up (H) like this and draw a line to mark the center angle. This is the cut line. Repeat for each piece, securing in place as we went.
The last step was to make supports on the top (I) that would rest on the light fixture. Using the 16″ spacing from the sides we held up a piece of wood, marked it, cut it, and secured it in place.
And here it is after all the measuring, cutting, gluing and nailing.
With everything in the kitchen being new, clean and crisp I thought the light would be the perfect place to add some patina, especially since it really is a focal point of the kitchen now. So I decided to paint it white and give it a distressed, worn finish. I tried a new paint and distressing technique on this project. I started by staining the light with with Minimax Special Walnut.
Then I picked up some milk paint at Michaels and used a wet rag sanding technique. I saw something about it online recently and wanted to give it a try. And I LOVE it. It was easy, quick and best part NO DUST. After two coats of paint I took a wet rag and essentially rubbed the paint off. It gives a nice distressed look and lets the textures of the wood come through.
All that was left to do know was to hang the light back up. My husband is tall so we chose to hang it so the bottom of the light is 36 inches from the countertop.
I can’t decide if I like it like more on or off.
Another successful DIY project done and closer to a finished kitchen!
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