lamp and cord pendant set

10 3/16″ wood dowels, 36″-length ($.29/each; $2.90 total)

1 can spray paint ($2.95)

saw or utility knife

hot glue gun and yellow (wood) glue sticks

two-part epoxy, Household Goop, or E6000 glue

tin snips or sharp scissors (optional)


1. Use the saw to cut the dowel rods in half once, giving you 20 lengths of 18″. Any type of saw will work here: a hand saw, coping saw, hacksaw, miter box or power miter saw. Since the dowels are so thin, you could even use a utility knife and hard surface.

2. Take one dowel rod and glue it onto the light cord set. Glue it at the center and at 90 degrees. This is the only point where the dowels actually touch the lamp, so make sure it’s a nice, strong joint. Yellow glue doesn’t love plastic, so I used a 2-part quick drying epoxy, but any strong glue will work here.

3. Once that joint has dried, insert a bulb so you have a sense of its weight as you work. Find some way to hang the light at a comfortable working height — the supports between the joists in a basement work perfectly. Warm up your glue gun, and insert yellow glue sticks. Glue two dowels at 90 degrees to the main support to begin creating your structure.

Note: Using glue approved for wood is essential here, and the quick drying time of hot glue means you don’t have to hold the dowels in place or use clamps. Awesome! Also, you’ll want use some kind of drop cloth or scrap surface under your work area to catch dripping hot glue.

4. Then continue to add dowels. Take your time and experiment with different angles and placements. Note that most of your dowels will be oriented more or less vertically, with just a few horizontal ones for support and balance. Be sure to move around the piece, noting how it looks from all angles. Of course, you’ll want to avoid trapping the bulb. Be sure there’s enough space to change it.

5. With practice, you’ll learn to use just the right amount of glue to make a strong joint without creating the crazy blobs and strings that hot glue tends to make. Keep an old pencil or junk piece of dowel handy to wipe away excess glue. Keep adding dowels until it looks finished. If you don’t need all 20, there’s no need to use them. My finished piece had 17.

6. At this point, I realized that some of my dowels extended a bit too far. Use tin snips or sharp scissors to cut the dowels to create an overall cube shape with balanced dimensions. I also used a hot soldering iron with a narrow tip to remove any excess glue globs.

7. Once everything has cured, take it outside or into a well-ventilated area and spray paint the whole thing. Remove any stickers or labels from the socket before painting — I didn’t and wish I had. And be sure to leave your dummy bulb in so no paint goes into the socket and messes with the connections. One coat of spray primer and one coat of white was enough for a perfectly glossy finish.