DIY: Pendant light

Anthea McCloed, the creative genius behind the upcycled furniture at A 2nd Life, shows how easy it is to turn standard cake tins into a clustered pendant light



  • Three cake tins; use old ones or buy cheap ones from chain stores or second-hand shops.
  • Three cans of spray paint in colours of your choice and one can of primer.
  • Three different lengths of three-core electrical wire; I used 600mm, 500mm and 400mm.
  • Three lamp holder SES light bulb holders, six lamp holder SES lock nuts, three lamp holder SES caps, six cord grips and three light bulbs.
  • A rectangular block of wood or three plastic ceiling cups for use as a mount.
  • You’ll find everything you’ll need at a hardware store or electrical supply shops and at Builders Warehouse and Builders Express stores.


  1. Drill a hole in the centre of each cake tin that’s large enough to accommodate a lamp holder.
  2. Spray the outside of the tins with a primer; allow to dry for 20 minutes.
  3. Give the outside of each tin two coats of spray-paint in the colour of your choice; allow the paint to dry between coats.
  4. Attach the wires to the light bulb holders as you would to a plug. If you’re unsure how to do this, ask an electrician to assist.
  5. Using two lock nuts per light bulb holder, attach one to the inside and one to the outside top of the cake tins; the part you’ll insert the light bulb into must protrude inside each tin.
  6. Attach a lamp holder cap to each light bulb holder; use cord grips to secure them in place.
  7. If you’re using a block of wood as a mount, drill three holes into it to accommodate the wires. Pull the wires through the holes in the wood, or through the plastic ceiling cups, using cord grips to secure them in place.
  8. Attach the wires to an existing light fitting (make sure the light switch is off at the DB board). Then fix the plastic ceiling cups or wooden mount to the ceiling. Ask an electrician to assist with this step if you’re unsure.


  • As an alternative to cake tins, you could use round steel mixing bowls.
  • Read the instructions on the can of spray paint carefully as this will give you a step-by-step guide on how to get a professional finish.
  • Most hardware stores, like Builders Warehouse, will cut the three-core electrical wire to the specific lengths you need.
  • Use energy-saving light bulbs or LED light bulbs as they last longer and are eco-friendly.