While electrical projects might seem intimidating to the beginning DIYer, this ceiling light fixture project is one that, really, anyone can do. If you can screw in a lightbulb and wield a can of spray paint, you’re more than qualified to tackle this chic little lighting number.
- 1 porcelain canopy
- 13 “Y” socket adapters/splitters*
- 14 clear globe lightbulbs (25 watt, or 2 watt globe LEDs)*
- 1 ceiling medallion (optional, but recommended. Example shows a 10” plastic medallion, spray painted white before starting)
- Gold/metallic spray paint
- Painters’ tape (just a little)
*Tip: The number of socket splitters you’ll use is exactly one fewer than the number of globe lightbulbs you’ll need. For example, if you want a smaller branch light with only 10 socket splitters, you’ll need 11 lightbulbs.
Step 1: Assemble socket splitters.
This is a therapeutic and fun process, but you’ll want to start with one socket splitter and branch off from there. Be loosely creative in this process. (Photo shows just 12 splitters; I forgot one here but added it later.)
When you’re assembling the splitters, be sure to screw them together firmly but don’t overtighten. Also, check to make sure that there is sufficient space for each lightbulb; that is, don’t have two sockets aimed at the same space, because you won’t be able to fit two lightbulbs there.
Step 2: Tape off electrical.
When you’re happy with the configuration, tape off all electrical components. This includes inside each exposed socket as well as the very top (or base, depending on how you think about it) splitter attachment. Also tape off electrical component inside your porcelain canopy.
Your completed, taped off branch light configuration might look something like this when you’re done.
Step 3: Paint canopy and branches.
With your electrical components safe behind painters’ tape, you’re ready to spray paint your fixture. Spray several very light coats of the color of your choice, and make sure you change the angle of your spraying (move around the configuration) and the light fixture itself. There are tons of nooks and crannies that are easy to miss if you’re not careful. I did about eight coats in total, rotating everything each time.
Step 4: Remove all tape.
This one’s pretty self-explanatory. Be careful not to twist your socket splitters (and potentially crack the paint) as you remove the painters’ tape. Double check to make sure all electrical components are clear of paint.
Step 5: Prepare to mount the branch light: Remove existing light fixture.
Assuming you’re building this DIY branch light as a replacement for an existing fixture, simply flip the breaker to the existing light fixture (so there is zero electricity running to the wires), then un-wire and take the existing fixture down. You should be left with a ground (uncovered) wire, two electrical wires, and two screws protruding from the electrical box.
Step 6: Loosely place medallion in place. (optional)
If you’re using a ceiling medallion (I used a 10” plastic one, spray painted matte white), set it against the ceiling before you wire your canopy.
Step 7: Wire the canopy.
Attach each electrical wire to the canopy, as shown. Always be careful when working with wiring; ask for help if you need it. (Note: I didn’t need the help, per se, but my father was visiting and needed a project, so he hung this light for me. Hooray for fathers.)
Step 8: Mount porcelain canopy.
When your wires are securely attached to the porcelain canopy, it’s time to mount the canopy. Remember the two screws that were poking out of the ceiling from removing our existing light fixture? Use those to mount the canopy. Slide the screw heads through the larger holes on the canopy, then twist gently to align the screws with the smaller holes.
Tighten the screws securely. This will also hold the medallion perfectly in place. Don’t overtighten!
Step 9: Attach branch light.
Carefully screw in the base socket splitter of your branch light, taking care to avoid cross-threading or overtightening.
Step 10: Install bulbs and turn it on.
Screw in your 14 globe light bulbs, flip the breaker to turn the electrical back on, and turn on your light. This picture doesn’t do the gloriousness justice, but trust me. You’re going to be amazed at how bright and modern and awesome your branch light is.
Here’s the branch light installed in a toddler’s room. It’s stylish and well-proportioned for such a space; the branch light would also look awesome in an entryway, a home office, a bedroom, or any room where it won’t be overwhelmed, really.
Good luck on your DIY project in creating this branch light. I hope you love yours as much as I love mine!