DIY Random Light

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Hello bloggy friends! I ran across this amazing DIY on Pinterest (follow me @carrsk) and I decided immediately I was going to tackle this project. After translating the web page to English (thanks google!) I felt pretty confident that this was a project I could handle. Well– I handled it alright. My version is a little different from the original tutorial, naturally. I also have a few of my own “helpful” tips that will make this easier on you. So let’s get to it!

Step 1: Prepare yourself for a huge mess. Seriously. If you are not used to making messes, don’t have a place to make a mess, or don’t like cleaning up, skip this project. Trust me.

Step 2: Gather your materials. You will need a pendant lamp lighting kit. You can get one at Home Depot for about $15. The original tutorial calls for wallpaper paste, paper cord, and a Pilates or exercise ball. I stuck with the wallpaper paste. It was about $6 at Home Depot. Here’s one of my helpful tips: don’t use paper cord. For a number of reasons. A) it’s very difficult to find B) it’s very difficult to work with. Save yourself the two hours of traveling from craft store to craft store, and go with raffia. I’ve seen some versions that use twine, but I wasn’t feeling that. Use the plain white raffia you would find in the wrapping paper section. I didn’t use an exercise ball either. Cause I’m cheap. I used one of those big bouncy balls. $2.50 seemed better than $15. But that’s just me. It all depends on the size you want to make. You’re also going to need plastic wrap, a black marker, and disposable plastic gloves. The gloves are optional, but totally recommended.

there are more… but… i failed to capture them in a photo

Step 3: Use your black marker to draw a circle about 6″-7″ in diameter on your ball. Directly opposite that circle, draw a much smaller one that is just big enough for you to pass the bulb holder from your lighting kit through it. It also needs to be small enough that the shade holder from the lighting kit won’t pass through the hole. The small hole is for your lighting kit, and the big hole is for the removal of your ball, and for changing the light bulb.

Step 4: Cover your ball with plastic wrap. This will keep the raffia from sticking to the ball itself allowing you to easily remove the ball once it’s deflated.

Step 5: Don your plastic gloves– it’s about to get messy. Go ahead and unwind a bunch of your raffia (and I mean a bunch- it wont go nearly as far as you think it will), and stick it in your wallpaper paste. Keep an eye on the end. That will help prevent tangling.

Step 6: Get ahold of the end of your raffia, and a couple feet to work with. I ran it through my fingers as I pulled it out of the paste to wipe off any excess. Start wrapping your ball. When I was doing mine, I started with paper cord and ran out then switched to raffia. But then I decided I liked the raffia better so I took it all off. I say this to say that my ball already had a lot of paste on it, so I didn’t have any problems with the raffia not sticking or not laying down. If you run into this problem, try smearing some paste on the ball to give the raffia something to stick to. I don’t think you’ll have a problem because the raffia is pretty thin and it lays down flat, as opposed to twine or paper cord.

Step 6a: Don’t let your ball roll away and roll through dirt, leaves, and various other porch debris. Just in case you thought this would be cool, it’s not.

Step 7: Keep wrapping your ball–avoiding the circles that you drew. It makes it easier if you stop periodically, unwind a ton of raffia, stick it in the glue, and the work from there. I kept getting tangly messes and was certain I would rip the raffia, but it’s surprisingly durable. At one point, I figured I had enough glue on my gloves and the ball that I would be good using dry raffia for a bit, but didn’t want to chance it.

Step 8: Keep wrapping. I used an entire spool of 75 yards of raffia, and part of another one before I ran out of paste. That’s when I quit. I could’ve bought more, and kept going, it’s totally up to you. But considering I was doing this on my backporch in bright sunlight in the middle of July in South Carolina, I decided enough was enough.

Step 9: Once you’re happy with the way it looks, let it dry. I used my frenemy the bright, bright sun to help me with this part. I think it really sped things up, but nonetheless, I let it dry overnight. I would actually suggest leaving it another day.

drying in a box

Step 10: Deflate the ball. And next is where I ran into some problems. I thought that the plastic wrap would pull right off the ball and the light. This was not the case. I had what was like another ball made of dried glue inside of my ball of raffia. Thinking this wouldn’t look so great with the light inside of it, I proceeded to punch out all of the glue between the holes. Because there were some teeny tiny spaces between raffia strands that were filled with glue, I didn’t get all of it out. I ruined my fingernails and now my fingers hurt, but I got to where I was satisfied.

Step 11: Put together your light kit, and install your light. Follow the instructions in the kit, and you should be golden. Or get your husband (or an electrician) to do this step while you sit next to him doodling your name, hearts, stars, pigs, and inchworms. Key things to be aware of: a lack of power to the fixture is essential. As is a little bit of patience. Once the light kit is in place, slide the tiny hole you made earlier onto the base of the lightbulb holder thing, and then screw the shade holder thing onto the base to hold the ball in place.

Step 12: Insert lightbulb. Turn on light and proceed to be amazed. Ooohs and ahhhhs are acceptable at this stage of the process. Enjoy!


All in all, this project was what I expected. Except for step 10 and the removal of all of the excess glue. Other than that, it went fairly smoothly, and I love the finished product!

here is the light in front of my collage wall

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