DIY Hanging Edison Bulb Lights


Recent sightings of artfully draped Edison lightbulbs in bars inspired us to create our own version of the octopus-like chandelier. The White Owl Social Club in Portland strung single lightbulb cords from one ceiling centerpiece, and Searsucker in San Diego tangled nautical ropes from an exposed beam in the middle of the dining room.

Steal the idea and make a statement in your home by tying and looping 1920s Edison bulbs in minimalist designs. You can customize the look however you like. Try the octopus idea, string the cords in an asymmetrical shape, drape them over a beam in your house, or hang a waterfall of multi-colored cords from the ceiling. Check out these hanging light bulb ideas on Pinterest.

There are two ways to do it at home. The easy way may end up being cheaper, faster, and less work. If you’re inclined to take the harder route, you’ll need some electrical skills and a bit of patience, but you’ll have more manual control over the materials.

Your best bet is heading to an antique home decor and hardware store that stocks a varitey of truly vintage bulbs and cords. Some stores will even help you with the electrical wiring. Save the corporate hardware store for everyday tools and hooks.

You’ll need:

Drill (if you plan to hang cords from the ceiling)

Swag hooks (again, if you want to hang bulbs from the ceiling; these are often used to hang plants so they should be readily available at a home and garden store)

Edison light bulbs (check out these from Schoolhouse Electric Supply and these from Rejuvenation, both stores in Portland, but available for purchase online)

Single light bulb cords, like these nylon-covered cords from World Effect, which come in different colors and already have a built-in switch and prong plug; or customize the length with a basic rayon-covered lamp cord

Twist ties, for securing the cord


Easy: Drape several cords over an exposed beam or other long fixture in your home. Adjust the cords to drop at random points, and experiment with looping them. Use the twist ties to keep the cord in place. Screw in the lightbulbs. If you don’t have a beam, create the illusion of one by stringing two black or transparent fishing lines across the top space of your room, about a foot apart. Make sure they are taut. Drape the lightbulb cords over the string as you would on a beam.

Moderate: Drill the swag hooks into the ceiling at various points. Nestle the cords onto the swag hook, and secure them with a tie. Screw in your lightbulbs. Plug the cords into a power strip on the floor.

Hard: You’ll also need wall plugs, lamp sockets, wire cutters, needle nose pliers, and a screwdriver. Buy your own old-fashioned rayon-covered lamp cord, cut to length. Follow these instructions at Design Sponge to attach the cord to a plug. Drape or hang to preference. — Dominique Fong

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