DIYdiy projects

DIY Aluminum Drum Pendant

by Erin Souder

designsponge metal pendant Pendant lights are one of the most fun things to DIY since you can work with a ton of different materials and styles all while keeping electrical work to a minimum. It’s been about a year since I walked by these pretty, perforated metal sheets at my local hardware store and knew I had to make something from them. There are a few different patterns ranging from quatrefoil to triangles. They’re intended to be used with large vents and radiators, but I thought a pendant light would make a wonderful (and beautiful) alternative project for them.

As with most of my ideas, I look for things that can be highly customized, offering a range of outcomes. The size, color, pattern can all be adjusted on this project, giving a wide range of possible finished pendants (or just a regular shade!). I plan on making three total and grouping them together to create a focal point. Have fun! –Erin

Click through for the full how-to after the jump!

Metal Pendant - Materials

Decorative Metal Sheet – One sheet is big enough to make two shades
Tin Snips – (they’re like scissors made for cutting metal)
-Needle-nose pliers
-22 gauge steel wire – cut into four 2″ pieces
-Old lamp shade – lamp shade should have large enough hole to fit a pendant kit and be smaller than 36″ circumference
-Pendant Light Kit
-Work gloves & protective eyewear
-Lightbulb – I used a round globe to give more interest to the finished piece!


Step One: Measure the top circumference of your lampshade and add 1/2 inch to your measurement. Be sure to use the side that has the arms joining to the center hole. Take note of the distance between each wire arm as well. If you’d like to keep your new shade the same height as your old shade, mark down that measurement as well and also add 1/2 inch for the top fold.

Metal Pendant Step 1

Measure and mark out a piece of your metal sheet which matches the appropriate length (total circumference) and appropriate width (however low you want it to hang). Make the factory-finished edge of the sheet the bottom edge of your shade.

Step Two: Take the paper, fabric, and bottom ring off of your lampshade. I got mine from the thrift store for about $2, so I didn’t feel terrible ripping it apart.

Metal Pendant Step 2

Step Three: Using your Tin Snips, cut on your marks from step one, being sure to wear gloves because the cut metal is sharp!

Metal Pendant Step 3

Step Four: Using needle-nose pliers and a straight edge (I used a cutting board), bend in the cut edge of your metal to a 90 degree angle.

Metal Pendant Step 4

Step Five: Make ‘V’ shaped notches in the folded edge where the shade’s wire arms would hit.

Metal Pendant Step 5

Step Six: If one of your wire arms will fall at the edge seam of the metal, cut an angle into each end (so when formed into a circle, it still makes a ‘V’). Slightly push the folded edge down a little bit so it creates a little crevice for the shade ring to fit within.

Metal Pendant Step 6

Step Seven: Carefully, (and still wearing your gloves!) wrap the metal around the shade ring, making sure that the finished edge of the metal is on top.

Metal Pendant Step 7

Step Eight: Using your needle-nose pliers, clamp the edge of the metal down onto the shade ring.

Metal Pendant Step 8

Step Nine: Fold your 2″ wire pieces in the center so they look like a hairpin. Thread each ‘pin’ through both overlapped sides at the seam and twist the backs tightly to secure. Repeat 3-4 times along the seam to create a nice drum shape.

Metal Pendant Step 9

Step Ten (optional): spray paint the color of your choice! I did a matte black, but think an oil-rubbed bronze or gold would be my second choice!

Although the metal sheeting is a little pricey at $26 for the sheet, it makes two pendants, so with thriftstore shades at under $2 each and $3 pendant kits, you could create two great, customized pieces for less than $40 – that I like!

Metal Pendant h1
Metal Pendant h3
Metal Pendant h4

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