DIY Yellow Barn Light from Thrift Store Brass

If you’ve looked at any of my decor-related posts, you’ve probably noticed that I really love bright colors. My home isn’t one of those all white ones with a pop of color. Nope, it’s all about color – everywhere. And I particularly love to use yellow, orange and red together. So it’s not surprising that I’d been drooling over the yellow pendant lights I kept seeing on Pinterest. Lately, I’ve been searching on Google for “yellow metal pendant light” and things like that, and I’ve gotten very few results for actual products for sale. Fab.com had some recently, but those, like any others I managed to find, were very expensive. Like, in the $199 and up price range. That’s way too much for me to pay for a light.

The spot I wanted a yellow light for was the front hallway, where I just finished adding board & batten. Since my ceilings aren’t exceptionally tall – about 8 feet – I couldn’t actually put a regular pendant light there. It could easily hang low enough to bump heads on taller folks.

I was thrilled to find this old brass light at our local ReStore. Not only was it the exact style I was looking for, but it was on sale half off for just $15. So cheap! This photo I took of it is possibly the only documentation I have of the original hall light too. So here you can see what I was replacing.

I started to take apart the lamp, so that I could paint a few pieces separately. And I saw these wires, which scared me. They were old and frayed, and sure looked like a fire hazard to me. So I cut them off, and decided to rewire the light. For painting purposes, that meant that I could easily just paid the big bell portion without any wires sticking out.

I cleaned the light off, and sat it out on a box to spray paint. I gave it a few thin coats of primer, and let it dry according to the package directions. Then I began thin coats of yellow. Here’s where I have to say that a spray painting station in the garage would be a great thing to have for projects like this. There were bugs EVERYWHERE while I was painting. You know those little tiny bugs that kind of hop around in the grass? They were enemy #1 when it came to getting a nice smooth finish on this light. There really wasn’t any getting around a few hopping in and getting stuck. And when I picked them off, that of course marred the finish. But it’s on the ceiling, and I don’t notice those imperfections at all now.

Next, it was time to figure out how to rewire the light. I won’t go into many details here, since you most definitely should not follow my advice for any electrical work in your own home. The electrical guy at Lowes was a big help to me in figuring it all out. My biggest hurdle was that I didn’t want to actually hang this as a pendant. If I’d wanted it to hang low, there are simple kits that Lowes sells to make your own pendant light. I needed this to be semi-flush, so that meant buying all of my parts separately. Here’s one attempt, still leaving in a link of chain.

Luckily, after going on a walk, I finally understood how I was supposed to go about putting it all together for a semi-flush look. It doesn’t use a chain now at all, which lets it hang higher and means that tall visitors to my house won’t hit their heads.

Wiring it to the house wiring and securing it all to the ceiling wasn’t bad. My first attempt was too close to dark, and we began rapidly losing sunlight as I tried to connect it all. Since the house breaker has to be off for this part, natural light was pretty critical. We tried again the next day, and it was much easier when I could see. Ha!

The finished product probably came in closer to $35, with the cost of the lamp parts and spray paint. Not bad, in my opinion!

(excuse the still unfinished board & batten in this shot! I still need to saw those remaining pieces for beside the door and the right shelves)

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