How To: Make a Wood Shim Pendant Light (Part Two)

Welcome to part two of the wood shim pendant light saga! To read part one, head on over to this post. Today I'll show you how I used an old drum shade and some wood shims to make a pendant light for our dining room table. The process was pretty straightforward once I got going and had all the right supplies. It just took a little trial and error to get it looking the way I wanted. So, if after you read the tutorial, you're asking yourself, "Why was she complaining so much about this seemingly simple project yesterday?" know that what you see here is the yesssss I finally got it right! product :). Hopefully, if you do something similar, this tutorial will help you avoid some of the mishaps that I had along the way.

Supplies needed: 

Step one: Gather your supplies.

I used an old drum shade from Target I got on clearance several years ago for this project. While I liked the turquoise stripe, I didn't want any of that color showing through once I glued the shims on...

...so I pulled it off and was left with a white drum shade. Now, of course if you just buy a white drum shade, you won't need this step. I'm just too cheap to go out and buy a new shade. Why buy new if you can reuse? ;)

I did spend a little money on my other supplies. I picked up a HEMMA cord set (pendant kit) from IKEA for $5, and a set of wood shims for about $4 from Lowes. Shims come in different lengths, so make sure you pick up the ones that are the appropriate length for your project. 

Step 2: Plug in your hot glue gun and get gluing!

Wood shims are really lightweight, so a couple of dabs of hot glue is all you need to stick 'em to the shade. I put one dab at the top and one at the bottom of the shade to secure them. 

Since my drum shade is slightly tapered, I chose to put two layers of shims on to cover the entire shade. On the first layer, I left a small gap in between each shim so that the shims sit perfectly vertical (straight up and down). You can also see in these photos that the shims stick out from the edges of the shade. They are longer than the height of the shade, so I decided to center the shims so that they stick out from both the top and bottom of the shade. It's up to you how you want to place them!

Once you get all the way around with the first layer, it will look like this:

Repeat the steps for the second layer. Make sure to cover the gap between two shims in the first layer with a shim in the second layer. This isn't only functional - it provides a cool overlapping effect and adds some dimension to your pendant light.

By the end of all your gluing, your pendant light will look like this!

Step 3: Attach shade to the pendant light kit/cord set.

My cord set is of the plug-in variety. I chose this option because I live in a rental and I can't install permanent overhead fixtures (yay renting!). If you can install an overhead light, I'd say do it! That way, you won't have a pesky cord to hide once you get it rigged up. 

Since I used a drum shade with a slip UNO fitter (if you're going, "huh?" at that term, take a look at this article) as my base, attaching it to the cord kit was pretty simple. I just put the socket end of the kit down on one side of the slip UNO fitter and screwed in the bulb from the opposite side of the fitter to secure the cord kit to the shade. Voila! Pendant lamp done.

Like I said at the beginning, this project is pretty simple when you have the right materials. I can't wait to finally install it over our dining room table (I'm currently waiting to borrow the right tools...I get to use a hammer drill!). I think it'll look great! (Update: it's installed! Read about it here.)

The total cost for this project was around $15 including the shade, pendant kit/cord set and shims. Not bad for a brand new overhead light, huh?

Have you ever DIY'd a pendant light or any other light fixture? Any advice for this novice over here? 


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  1. I love love love this! Looks awesome.

  2. I love how it turned out! The texture of the wood is perfect. Pinning this to try sometime!

  3. Love this light and the wood shims are so inexpensive and creative! I can't wait to see how it looks in your dining room either! ;)

    1. Thanks! I'll have photos next week! Almost done installing it :).

  4. Shims were a great idea, keeps expense down, already cut, easy to work with! I bet the lamp would look great too if you stamped the shims first and then applied them!

    Becoming a new follower!

    1. Thanks, Krystie - and good ideas! The shims were super easy to work with. Glad to have you as a follower!

  5. Now this is so clever. I love it. Great tutorial. Amazing finish. I have a weekly party called Inspire Me and it goes lives every Monday evening. I would so love for you to link this or any other project to my party. www.astrollthrulife.net
    Hope to see you there. Hugs, Marty

  6. Thumbs up on a great project and instuctions! Keep creating---Cindy @ sunsetcoasting.blogspot.com

  7. Awesome!!! Thank you for sharing at Give Me The Goods!
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  8. Beautiful!!! What a great idea and I love the natural look of the shims. Pinning! And new follower :)


    1. Thanks, Chrissy! So glad to have you here. I'll have to head over to check out your blog too :)!

  9. WOW! I LOVE this! This is a brilliant idea! I just shared it on my fb. :)

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