I first stumbled across jute pendant lights at Lulu and Georgia which are called the Tarek Pendant Light and Walid Pendant Light and sell for over $300. After doing some more research I found many other retailers selling these types of geometric pendant light fixtures that consist of wireframes that are hand-wrapped with natural jute fibers or other types of cord. So I wanted to come up with my own DIY pendant light tutorial where I could use jute yarn.
Light fixtures are generally really expensive and I have made several affordable pieces for our home like the macrame light fixture, macrame chandelier, DIY wood bead pendant light, DIY flush mount ceiling light made from a bowl, and DIY macrame outdoor solar lantern just to name a few. It is so gratifying to see pieces you made yourself in your home for much cheaper.
how to make a DIY pendant light with jute yarn
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I just love the texture, shapes, and overall look of these types of pendant lights and wanted to replicate one at a much more affordable price. You see, we’ve had our dining room urchin chandelier for a long time. It was one of the few splurges I made in our house and I still love it. But… to be honest, I’m kind of sick of getting poked in the forehead (It missed my eyes a couple of times by millimeters). The urchin will go somewhere else in the house where it is out of reach. I just didn’t want to splurge again and since I’m not a newbie when it comes to making my own light fixtures I thought I could definitely come up with my own jute pendant light version!
Natural fiber pendants in all kinds of shapes for sale on different retail sites.
The emphasis is definitely on cheap because that was my goal which I’m happy to report was a successful mission. Let’s get to it…
jute pendant light materials and costs:
- jute yarn (4 rolls)
- white pendant light kit/lighting kit
- 2 thrifted vintage lampshades that have a cage frame ($2.99 and $4.99), the one I used had an 18″ bottom radius
- soldering iron
- water soluble flux and lead free solder
- finer grit sandpaper
- wire cutter
- small artist brush
- small paper clip
- plastic pipe (plumbing section)
- glass pendant dome for bulb socket (optional)
(I had also bought a metal basket to see if it could be used for this type of DIY pendant light but there were too many metal parts to be able to easily wrap it with jute. The metal lampshade frames from thrifted lamps were definitely a better option.)
You can sometimes find the metal lampshade frames for sale on Etsy but they are selling for much more than at a thrift store. I was surprised to see them sell for up to $50 per lampshade.
I ended up also using a 12-inch metal macrame hoop that I had leftover because I didn’t like the size of one of the lampshades that I had thrifted. We’ll get to that later.
If you end up using a macrame hoop and don’t have another cage frame to cut apart so you can use the metal rods for soldering then you need to buy additional metal rods in the welding and soldering section at any home improvement store. Our store unfortunately only had large packs of them so cutting the lampshade cage apart was definitely the cheaper option.
I had some of the materials on hand already. For me, the price added up to $83.51, and that included the soldering iron and flux. If you can borrow the soldering iron from someone then you can make the pendant light even cheaper. I wanted to buy one because I like adding new tools to my collection.
Our cats and jute yarn
Everyone always wonders how my cats do with my macrame yarn projects. So far they have been so good about it but with this project, I discovered that Willy definitely has a jute yarn obsession. I’m not sure what makes it so much more attractive to him.
That obsession made it a bit of a disaster because he ruined my first attempt at almost finishing the pendant light. He crawled inside the pendant, got stuck, and then made the entire thing crash on the floor where it collapsed. I was so annoyed! I’m not angry with him but I needed a couple of days to attempt the project again.
Detailed instructions and video on how to make a jute pendant
Before we get to the step-by-step instructions, I am sharing my video on how to make this pendant with you which I definitely recommend you watch. If you are on a phone or iPad hold it horizontal for better viewing and if it doesn’t load you can also watch it on my YouTube channel instead.
I have wanted to solder something for a while now and this was the perfect project to start. It sounds a bit intimidating at first but is comparable to melting candle wax over something to create a bond/connection.
What is soldering?
Soldering is a type of joining process used to form a connection between different types of metals by melting solder over them. Solder is a metal intermixture usually made of tin and lead which is melted using a hot iron that is heated to around 600°- 650°F (316°- 343°C) for lead-based solder and 650°- 700°F (343°- 371°C) for lead-free solder.
I used 430-Degree Fahrenheit melt temperature for the lead-free solder I bought.
Why do you need flux for soldering?
You need flux to help prepare the metal surfaces for soldering. Flux helps clean any oxides and impurities.
Flux also improves the wettability of the metals that you are trying to solder. As an example, you can use water on a glass plate where it forms water beads and that is considered poor wettability. If you add some soap to the water, the water flows nicely. Flux works for the solder the same way as soap for water.
Or you can skip the soldering altogether if you find two lampshade cages with the same bottom radius that you can just add together. Mine was slightly different, unfortunately. This way no soldering would be required and you end up with a long wrapped pendant.
Step-by-step instructions to make this DIY pendant light:
- Start out by removing the fabric from the lampshade frames.
- Cut the rods from the one lampshade frame (that you aren’t using) so you can use them as parts for the soldering part. I cut mine to 5 inches long.
- Sand the gold layer off of the macrame ring with sandpaper.
- Brush the flux onto the areas where you want to attach the rod parts.
- Solder 4 of the rods onto the macrame hoop from both sides by melting and dripping the solder onto the connection. Keep brushing on flux before soldering as you go.
- Time to attach the macrame ring with rods to the top of the lampshade cage frame.
- I used duct tape which I each removed as I went around the perimeter of the frame to solder it all together.
- I liked using this broad tip to solder the connections.
- Here you can see the finished cage for the pendant light before wrapping it with jute.
- Start by attaching the jute yarn to the center lampshade ring which you can untie later when you are finished.
- Start wrapping the yarn around the pendant frame but not to tight to make sure the frame doesn’t collapse.
- When you get to a part where the metal rods are, I just used a small bundle of yarn cut off from the larger bundle so it would fit through the narrow openings.
- When Tying a new piece of yarn to the wrapped areas because you ran out of yarn, don’t tie it in the center of the pendant because that will be visible later when the light shines through.
- Tie the yarn together at the middle ring instead as shown. This are isn’t visible when the light shines through.
- When you wrapped the entire shade with jute yarn, untie the yarn from the center ring piece and tie it to the other piece of yarn for a nice finish.
- Cut the plastic rod with a handsaw. I cut mine to 7 inches but it depends on what size of lampshade you are using and how far you want the bulb to hang down.
- I bought a cheap glass pendant cover for safety reasons because I want to make sure that the hot lightbulb never has a chance to touch the yarn should it ever move.
- Remove the screw at the top of the metal lid so you can thread the plastic rod onto the electrical cord.
- Now thread the electric cord through the lampshade hole so the entire pendant rests on the plastic rod. Then reassemble the cord and screw through the top metal part the way it was when you bought the pendant light kit.
- All that’s left to do is to hang the new jute pendant light.
I have a bit of experience with hanging new lighting and feel comfortable doing it. If you are new to it you might want to hire an electrician. It is honestly pretty simple to do though.
Below you can see how I wrapped the cord around the metal lampshade frame:
You could also spray paint the lampshade frames with a color that coordinates with the jute yarn color. In the end, it wasn’t really necessary.
Here are some common questions asked about dining room lighting.
what size chandelier for a dining room
This is preferential like most things in home decor. There are some guidelines though for people to consider should they have difficulties deciding. The size of a dining room light fixture should be about 1/2 – 2/3 the width of the table. Or the diameter of the fixture should be about one foot less than the width of the dining room table.
I always just eyeball it and don’t measure.
how high to hang dining room chandelier?
There aren’t really any rules to this question just recommended guidelines. We are all different! If you have a very tall person in your family then you might need to hang your pendant or chandelier much higher than other people do.
The general recommendation to hanging a chandelier over a dining room table is 30-36 inches above the table’s surface if you have an 8-foot high ceiling.
However, I find that a bit too high, and my last chandelier and this pendant are hanging 22 inches above the table which I think looks perfect.
Finished jute pendant light hanging in our dining room
Don’t you think the height looks just right this way?
The new pendant lighting over our dining table makes my heart happy. It catches my eye more than the old brass urchin which kind of disappeared in the painting. Below is a photo with the urchin and our dining room table pulled out into the larger oval shape.
If you are new to my blog then you can also see how I turned a kitchen half wall into this kitchen island. It made such a difference to the way we live in our small home.
The urchin is now in my daughter’s room. I have to take some photos of her room again too. She really wanted a new hanging light.
This new dining room pendant light fixture is similar in color to the gold tones of the urchin. I feel that the natural material looks much better with the rest of our decor though.
Other DIY lighting related blog posts
When I write a long blog post like this, I always wonder if I forgot to write about any necessary detail. So let me know if you have any questions so I can update the blog post.
If you are wondering what project I have lined up next. Well, I want to redo our stairs again. I peeled off the stair riser decals that I added years ago which damaged the paint. This time I decided on adding a stair runner which just arrived and I’m excited to get started on that.