Are you familiar with the Hicks pendant light? I’d say it’s just about the most famous light fixture in all blog land, and quite deservedly. While it comes in several finishes, there’s just something about the bronze and antique brass combination that’s particularly captivating – the vintage industrial combination works well in both modern and traditional interiors, to which hundreds of pins on Pinterest will attest.
As I was browsing through the lighting section of the IKEA website, I stumbled across a familiar shape in the IKEA Vaster pendant light that sent the wheels in my head spinning overtime. Some spray paint + a few unlikely supplies later, and I had my very Hicks-inspired pendant light. No one would mistake it for the original, but I’m pretty pleased with the way it turned out!
So I’ll tell you guys a little secret. This light fixture was originally intended to go in my entryway. Because I need an entryway light. And I was shopping for entryway lights when this wild harebrained idea came to me. I read the dimensions of the Vaster light online and even went so far as to email another (incredibly helpful!) blogger I found online to see if the cord was able to be shortened. With 18” between my ceiling and the top of the front door, I was convinced it would work…
Spoiler alert: it didn’t work. The cord can definitely be shortened, but after spending over an hour trying to install it as close to the ceiling as possible, I was forced to admit that it couldn’t be shortened that much. My great plan hadn’t made concessions for the way the light needed to be installed – no slack in the cord = no way to install the light.
Thankfully, the light found a new home in the former-dining-room (which we now treat as an extension of the living room and is yet to be properly decorated) and I found a new soon-to-be-revealed solution for the entryway.
You Will Need:
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- 1 IKEA Vaster pendant light
- Frosted Glass spray paint (I used Rust-Oleum, and I warn you: this is going to sound like a Rust-Oleum commercial. It’s just the brand I happened to grab from the shelf for these things – feel free to switch it up!)
- Rust-Oleum Bright Coat Metallic Dark Bronze spray paint
- Rust-Oleum Specialty Metallic Gold spray paint
- 1 PVC vertical blind slat – I took these off four huge windows in our house when we moved in and I’ve just had piles of vertical blind slats sitting in the garage since. I was literally wracking my brain for what to use for the gold band around the light and a flexible vertical blind slat was the perfect solution!
- 1/2” Wooden Furniture Plugs
- Thin brass/gold wire
The Vaster light fixture was a little steep for my budget ($89.99), but compared to the $500-$700 range of my inspiration, I can’t complain. I was a bit intimidated to start spray painting my new acquisition though!
I began by taping plastic bags around the metal portion of the light and setting up a little spray painting stand – that’s a piece of cardboard with a round hole in it that came in the box with the IKEA light, sitting on top of an open box, with the light fixture nestled on top.
I covered the [plastic] clear portion with several light coats of frosted glass spray paint, waiting a few minutes in between coats. The frosted glass spray paint goes on clear, but “develops” a frosty finish over the course of several minutes.
Tip: For a smooth finish, start and end your stream of spray paint OFF the object you are painting.
After the frosted portion of the light fixture had thoroughly dried (I like to wait a full day to be sure), I switched the plastic and tape around to protect it from my next step, the dark bronze spray paint.
Again, light and patient layers are the way to go here – the smooth, round surface tends – no, WANTS – to create drips that will ruin your finish; don’t let it.
Am I making this whole process seem relatively easy and painless? More truth-telling: This was the project that never ended. First I painted the light a semi-gloss black and went through the rest of the project almost to the end before deciding that I really preferred the more muted color of the dark bronze paint and took it all apart and redid the whole thing.
Then, actually coming up with a way to construct the gold band was incredibly frustrating. It needed to be light, flexible and I needed a way to attach it both to itself and to the light fixture. I combed the house, I combed the hardware store and craft store, and I just didn’t find any solutions I liked.
Finally, this project popped into my head where a blogger used vertical blinds to make an incredible woven headboard and I remembered the stacks and stacks of vertical blind slats I’d been hoarding in the garage this whole time. Light: check. Flexible: check. Easy to attach? We’ll get to that soon…
I measured the circumference of the Vaster light where the metal meets the plastic shade and cut a piece of the blind slat a little around 1.5” wide by that length (about 38” in my case). Using a metal straight edge and a utility knife made the cleanest cuts. I coated both sides of my strip with light coats of gold spray paint. So much spray painting! So many thin coats!
At the same time, I set a group of my little wooden furniture plugs out on a piece of cardboard. They received a coat of gold spray paint and then a few subsequent coats of dark bronze spray paint. This was due to me changing me mind, but I do think the gold underneath the bronze gave them kind of a cool effect. If you have both colors of spray paint on hand, why not, right?
Once all my spray painting was finished (this is a few days later at this point), I had to figure out how to attach the gold band around the light. I tried hot glue, but it didn’t adhere very well to the spray paint. I tried Gorilla Glue, but for some reason it never dried. I tried using a stapler, but that was a bust.
Finally, this is the method I settled on. I wrapped the gold band tightly around the middle portion of the light and marked where the ends overlapped with a pencil. Then I removed it and taped it in place with masking tape. I used my tiniest drill bit to drill four holes in a box shape.
Then I cut a piece of the thin brass wire and used it to “stitch” an x through both layers of the gold band, effectively sewing the ends together.
I twisted the ends of the wire together in the back and taped them down with a small bit of electrical tape to keep the inner surface of the band smooth. Then I slipped the band around the light fixture and settled it into place. It was tight enough that I didn’t even need to glue it in place!
I settled on gluing six little wooden buttons around the perimeter of my gold band. Because they are so small and light, hot glue worked perfectly.
The last step was to hang my new light fixture, and with the proper amount of slack in the wire, it really wasn’t too difficult this time around. Much of the spray paint did flake off the wire in the installation process though, so once it was all hooked up and hung, I sprayed some dark bronze paint into the spray paint lid and used a little brush to touch up the hanging wire.
The wire is currently hanging a little wonky, but I think it should straighten out with time. I was also worried that I might not like the color temperature of the LEDs in this light, but it casts a lovely warm glow! The light is directed downwards, so it wouldn’t light a particularly large room, but it works perfectly in this area we are planning to be a moody little lounge with our vintage teak bar and some as-yet-to-be-acquired worn leather lounge chairs.
I just realized that this means just about every room in the house has some sort of DIY or modified light fixture now – the plumbing pipe light in the kitchen, the copper pipe icosahedron light in the office, the agate slice sconces in the living room, the midcentury chandelier + gold sunburst medallion in the dining room, my accordion sconces in the bedroom, and now a DIY Hicks-inspired pendant light in the “lounge”…
I refuse to admit I have a problem, just a deep and enduring love of interesting light fixtures!
So what do you think? Have you ever dreamed of creating your own Hicks-inspired pendant light? I’ve drooled over it for ages and I’m so glad I found a way to incorporate the look into my home in a very affordable manner!