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Nov 11, 2012

convert any light to a
pull-chain fixture

fish leaves for work before the crack of dawn...so i don't even want to think about what time he wakes up. whatever the hour, it's pitch black outside. even after daylight savings time.
   so...he definitely needed a light by the master closet.
we still have a LOT of work to do in this room...

closer view of the mess poking out of the ceiling:
ICK.

we didn't want to spend a lot -- we also need new light fixtures outdoors and in the dining room, front room, and kitchen. and, if you ask me, the powder room and upstairs hallway as well.

really, fish would have been perfectly content with a cheap, plain (i.e. UGLY) spotlight. but, my thoughts are: if we're going to spend money, why not spend it on something beauuuutiful? 

so off we went to ikea to search for a compromise.
...and we came back with a tived spotlight ceiling fixture.

the arms are flexible so they can be pointed towards the closet.

fish liked the price.
and i like that it's a bit unusual.

we brought it home...then quickly realized a problem: the wiring of the light in front of the master closet is not connected to a switch. this means whatever fixture we put up there has to be a pull-switch light or it will always be on.

argh.

i did a few online searches and discovered pull-chain fixtures come in one basic style:

UGLY.
.
.
.
but, wait a minute...

what if we ((fish)) converted the ikea tived we already bought into a pull-switch??

observe the results of a quick home depot trip:

this is what the light looked like out of the box:
high-five to anyone who can make sense of that jumble of wires.

fish made a hole on the side of the base for the pull-chain to protrude using his new drill bit. he smoothed the sides of the hole with a dremel.

then, he pushed the pull-chain unit through the new hole and secured it with a nut and washer.

next, fish rewired the light with the switch in the circuit...

...then hung the fixture!

i artfully arranged the spotlights to all point towards the closet.

the final step was to attach the knob we ((ahem...I)) chose:

K admiring fish's work:
...or is he giggling??


the actual final-final step will be to spraypaint the entire fixture gold. i was going to leave it silver and paint the knob's chain to match...but every. single. other. metallic item in the room is gold. i have no choice but to paint the light.
   
you agree, right??

i don't want fish thinking it's cool for metallics to mingle.

actually, i think it IS cool when metallics are mixed. 
...just not in this instance.

* mari

22 comments:

  1. Very clever! I don't think I ever knew you could convert any light into a pull chain. I hear you on the mixing of metals but I have heard the rule of thumb is as long as each metal appears more than once it looks layered and intentional and not mismatchy. However, on that note that light would look AWESOME in gold!

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  2. ooh, we might be in luck then because i realized this morning that our ceiling fan has silver hardware as well -- and that seems a LOT harder to pull down and spraypaint. plus, i gave fish a *slight* heart attack when i told him he'd need to take the spotlight back down at some point because i still needed to paint it gold...

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  3. This is fantastic! I knew there must be a way to do this. I have been starting at two super ugly ceiling fans for almost two years now. I am definitely going to do this...or I should say get my husband to do it. :)

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  4. Curious - have you painted this yet? I'd love to see this in gold - I'm thinking of doing the same thing in my bedroom. thanks!

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    1. no, I'm ashamed to say we haven't painted it yet. mostly because fish and I disagree on whether it needs to be painted. but also, projects in the master bedroom seem to always fall to the back burner. :(

      I know it would be fabulous though so I say go for it!! :)

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  5. I was at Menards today looking for 2 light fixtures for my kitchen, they both need to be pull chain operated and found nothing. I asked for help from their "lighting pros" and was offered the same 18" fluorescent fixture that we have. ARGH - can you say ugly. I knew the kits existed (LOL it was right on display at Menards) but the "lighting pro" had no idea if I could convert the really great fixture that I liked which was the proper size, style and color. So thank you for the post, I will have new lighting fixtures which I will buy anywhere but Menards this weekend.

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    1. you're welcome anonymous -- i hope everything works out! :)

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  6. You've given me hope! We just purchased a 100-yr-old home and when I mentioned a pendant over the countertop and some scones on the sides of the cabinets, the electrician said it would be very difficult/expensive to put new wiring in those spots. I was afraid I'd be stuck with the ugly fluorescent over the sink and a pillbox-looking light over the countertop, but I think we'll give this kit a try!

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    1. great, i'm so glad we could help! i hope it turns out fabulously! :D

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  8. That is precisely what I did, with exactly the same light. Nice post!

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  9. HI - first of all - genius - thank you. I have a similar situation with a kitchen pendant - hard wired no light switch! (previous ugly fixture had switch - new one needs a switch).
    Can you explain a little bit more about how you secured the pull chain once you pushed it through?
    Thanks!!

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    1. hi there ltbabyj, sorry for the delay! fish simply drilled a hole in the fixture with a dremel, then pushed the pull chain connection through the hole. the pull chain kit comes with nuts to tighten either end of the connection. :)

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  10. I have been searching the internet on how to do this. I knew there had to be a way. Now, thanks to you, I can replace an ugly pull chain ceiling light with a super cool light fixture. Thanks so much!!

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    1. wahoo! I hope you got everything set up okay! :)

      - mari

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  11. Thank you so much. I've been to Home Depot looking for a pull switch. The 1st trip, I bought the one that you have, then second guessed myself. Took it back to HD and asked 2 different sales people for a pull switch that wasn't for a ceiling fan. They told me it didn't exist and that you couldn't use the fan one for a regular light fixture. I told them that I wanted to do exactly what you've done, they didn't suggest I do that. I started searching the internet yesterday, it just had to be a way!..Thank you for your post, I was right all along. I swear some people just can't think outside of the box!

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  12. Thank you so much. I've been to Home Depot looking for a pull switch. The 1st trip, I bought the one that you have, then second guessed myself. Took it back to HD and asked 2 different sales people for a pull switch that wasn't for a ceiling fan. They told me it didn't exist and that you couldn't use the fan one for a regular light fixture. I told them that I wanted to do exactly what you've done, they didn't suggest I do that. I started searching the internet yesterday, it just had to be a way!..Thank you for your post, I was right all along. I swear some people just can't think outside of the box!

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    1. hah! I hope everything worked out for you in the end, Kuddles Royale! :)

      mari

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  13. I feel like this skips quickly over a very important step: "Rewiring the light to a circuit in the switch" ... Was that difficult? What does it involve? Is your fish an electrician, or could anyone do this?

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    1. Hi Little One, The conversion kit we bought had pretty easy to follow instructions. You're basically inserting the pull chain switch into the middle of the circuit between the house wires and the light wires. I hope that helps somewhat! -mari

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