When we bought our first rehab in St. Louis, we were only able to afford a very small 2 BR, 1 BA house on the south side of town. We knew we would have to make it eye catching and desirable to make up for the lack of space (although it feels spacious) and garage. We chose an industrial theme.
We decided to finish the basement but leave it open concept, saving money and time. We sprayed the ceiling a flat charcoal color and I wanted to do some cool lighting. Fixtures would have been just as expensive and wouldn’t have worked well in our space.
There are SO many options when it comes to pipe lighting! You can come up with hundreds of formations and different shapes (just check pinterest for more inspiration!). I chose something a little flatter to the ceiling to allow ample room for people to walk around and not bump their head.
This tutorial shows you how to make a simple pipe/iron fitting light!
I chose to use old barn wood from a salvage yard as my board for the light. You can buy new wood, or use whatever flat surface you think fits your look.
Cut to size.
Next you’ll need an impact drill and a paddle bit to bore a hole through the wood for the wires to fit through. The size of the bit will depend on the size and style of the light.
Attach your flange piece to the wood. All of your piping will have to be the same size to ensure proper fittings, so once you choose the dimensions (in this case 21/2 inches) you’ll need a flange. You can find these at any hardware store in the plumbing isle. I usually use black iron or galvanized steel. You can spray paint them as well to achieve a different color.
Your extension for the light, the part that creates length is called a nipple. They sell these in sizes ranging from 1/2 inch long to 14 inches and even full 8 foot pieces. Choose the size that works best for your room. I used a 2 inch nipple.
Attach the tee piece (again make sure you buy the same size) to the nipple.
You’ll need light sockets like THESE from Home Depot in order to create the light itself. You can buy them in the electrical isle, they are a bit tricky to find. They fit perfectly in a 21/2 inch pipe, which some Home Depots don’t sell. I went to a local plumbing supply store for mine.
Attach the light sockets, pulling the black and white wire through the nipple and then through the hole in your board, screwing the nipple to the flange on the board.
Once your light fixture is secure to your board, you’ll need to connect the wires to the electrical, connecting the black wires together and the white wires together. Use electrical tape and wire nuts to help secure the wires and prevent them from coming apart.
You will then mount your board that holds your fixture to the ceiling or wall. I use deck screws and the paint them afterwards. You might need to base the size of your board on where the joist are located, allowing you to secure the light properly to the joists. Use a stud finder to locate the joists and base the size of your light board on where you’ll be able to secure to the wall or ceiling.
In this case, I cut my board to fit between the joists. I secured the wires together and then leveled my board between the joists. I then used four deck screws to attach the board securely to the joists.
I chose clear REVEAL bulbs because the Edison bulbs aren’t very bright and I prefer a less yellow color. They aren’t as unique looking, but since my lights are in a basement, I needed bright lighting.
Here are some other examples of lights I’ve made!
For this light, I chose a larger piece of wood and a rope lighting effect. It is connected to the ceiling with piping and flanges.
This light is one flange, a three inch nipple and three lights hanging from the piping. I used plumbing strap to create the ball.
This light is attached to the wall directly with a flange as well. I made sure there is a stud on either side so that it can be secure. I used a 3 inch nipple and a 90 degree piece. It is the same concept otherwise, with a socket strung through the piping and attached to the wiring in the wall.