I’ve started making my own pot lid pendant lamps. Here’s how to do it. I’m also selling them, so check out Chickpea Factory, my Etsy store, if you’d rather buy one readymade.
I love the look of the old enameled barn and factory lamps, but they’re surprisingly expensive, even just to buy a shade and rig it up yourself. The secondhand stores in my neighborhood have plenty of beautiful enameled pot lids, though. So I decided to start turning them into pendant lamps.
I really like the results. Depending on the components you choose, you can get a rustic cabin look, more of a farmhouse or cottage style, or even modern or steampunk looks. See more examples at the bottom. It’s all about the lid and the fittings.
Today we’re using this lid.
Here’s what we’ll need:
– The pot lid.
– A socket, there in the middle.
– Cloth-wrapped cord. The length depends on how low you want it to hang. I use 6 feet per lamp, counting on a loss of 6 inches on either end for wiring, which leaves plenty in case someone has high ceilings.
– A short length of standard all thread lamp pipe and two lamp nuts (to the left of the orange wire connectors).
– A ceiling canopy, on the left, with matching screw caps.
– A bulb cage, which is optional but so stylish.
– And mounting hardware for attaching the lamp to the ceiling, which includes screws, a bracket, and the wire connectors.
– Not pictured is a matching strain relief nut, which holds your cord to the ceiling canopy when installed.
I get my components from Snake Head Vintage, where you can get most of this stuff in matching finishes. The lamp pipe and nuts you can get at most hardware stores.
Here are the tools you’ll need:
– Electric drill.
– A nail punch.
– 5/16″ masonry drill bit.
– 3/8″ all-purpose drill bit.
– Masking tape.
– electrical tape.
– Wire strippers.
– Phillips screwdriver.
Keep your eyes peeled for some surprise guest tools later on.
The main work is to drill a hole through the pot lid. Start by taping it to protect the surface from marks or chipping. Tape the top.
And tape the bottom.
Find the exact spot for your hole and start it by making a dent using your hammer and nail punch. It turns out that my nail punch was too small, so I used this roofing nail, too.
Start drilling with your masonry bit to break through the surface. Be careful at this point to keep your bit from sliding off center.
In no time you’ll have reached metal. You’ve gone plenty far when you get little filings on your bit.
Now you’re ready to use the standard drill bit. At this point block off the back with some wood. This will protect the pot lid when you finally break through, and it gives you something to push against without the risk of distorting the pot lid’s shape. If your lid doesn’t have an integrated handle, you can just rest the back of the lid on some scrap.
Start drilling. I like to wear ear plugs against the noise.
It will take a while. Some oil helps preserve your drill bit.
You might have to swap batteries on your drill. Keep going.
Eventually you will notice some dimpling — you can see a little of it in the previous photo. At that point it speeds things up to drive a nail through the thin metal.
Now you have a starter hole, something the drill bit can get its teeth on. From this point drill more cautiously — when the bit gets through the hole, it can catch and start to whip the lid in your hands. If you can get at the hole from the top of the lid, it can help to flip the lid and drill from that side at this point.
At last you’ll hit wood. Beautiful.
At this point, see if you can push the lamp pipe through. Don’t try to screw it in, that will strip the threads. It’s likely that it won’t quite fit. In that case, use your file to widen the hole slightly.
Or you could use a grinder bit in your drill. Careful, this guy can really chew and you only need to widen the hole a little.
Once it’s finished, the hole will have a little chipping around it, but the nuts will cover that. Now is a good time to go to the sink and wash your pot lid.
Check inside your lamp pipe for burrs and file them out.
Time to test fit. Back out the set screw on the neck of the socket and thread in the lamp pipe until you can see that the set screw will get a good bite into it. Don’t tighten the set screw yet, though.
Add a nut.
Put the lamp pipe through the pot lid and thread on the top nut. Adjust the top and bottom nuts and the socket until everything is seated to your liking.
Remove the top nut carefully so you don’t disturb your setup. Screw in the set screw on the socket neck to hold it to the lamp pipe where you like it. Place the socket’s threaded sleeve over the top of the socket and reattach the whole gang to the pot lid.
Unwind some of your lamp cord. It helps to tape the ends so the fabric doesn’t get caught on the way through.
Mold the wires around the pot lid handle. (I wonder if it would look cool to wrap them around the handle a few times?)
Tie a simple knot on the inside of the socket to give the wires a little resistance for any adjustments you might make later to balance the hang of the pendant lamp.
Strip the ends of the cord and attach the black wire to the brass screw and the white wire to the silver screw. I snipped off those stray threads after I took this photo.
Screw the socket together.
That’s it. Here’s the top.
Here’s the bottom.
Get your blub cage on there.
And here it is, ready to go. In this picture, by the way, you can see the strain relief piece in the middle of the ceiling canopy.
The next stage is to hang the pot lid pendant lamp in your kitchen, hall, bathroom, etc. I don’t recommend hanging it in your garden like this photo. There are a lot of tutorials on hanging a lamp so I won’t run through all that here. Idon’t need any more up in my house — in fact I’m selling this one so if you like it, go buy it at Chickpea Factory!