How to Turn a Vintage Lampshade into a Hanging Light

Hey there, friend! Have you ever come across a vintage lampshade at thrift stores or flea markets? Well, I’ve discovered a super cool way to repurpose those old lampshades into a unique new light fixture. So, grab your creative spirit, and let’s dive into this awesome vintage shade hanging light project. Get ready to create a one-of-a-kind DIY pendant light that will add a touch of vintage charm to any room.

Vintage swag reading light hanging over a vintage wooden bed made from a vintage capiz shell lampshade.

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I’m typically a huge fan (haha, pun intended) of ceiling fans. I know so many people that are not, however, they tend to really help keep your home cool during the summer at a much more affordable price.

That being said, I have dreamed of putting glamorous feminine light fixtures up for pretty much my whole life. When it came time to design my pre-teen daughter’s bedroom vintage-style I knew I needed something.

We had originally thought we’d use table lamps, but she has a propensity to break things. So, the idea of taking an old fixture and repurposing it into a hanging light seemed like the perfect compromise. I can keep the ugly old ceiling fan and still give her a pretty light.

The Beauty of Vintage Lampshades as Home Decor

Vintage lampshades have an undeniable charm that adds a touch of nostalgia to any space. Their unique designs, like a drum shade, glass shade, or glass globe, evoke a sense of timeless elegance.

Vintage Capiz Shell hanging lampshade.

By repurposing these treasures into hanging lights, we can combine the style of vintage with the modern appeal of pendant lighting.

Imagine the warm glow of an Edison bulb peeking through a flea market find or a beautiful pendant shade adorning an old fixture. Vintage lampshades provide endless possibilities for creating stunning pendant lights that infuse our homes with character and a touch of old-school charm.

Get Inspired: DIY Pendant Light Ideas for Every Room

Lampshades turned into hanging lights can be used in various spaces to create a unique and eye-catching focal point. Here are some perfect places to showcase your DIY pendant lights:

  1. Dining Area: Hang a cluster of vintage lampshades-turned-pendant lights above your dining table to create an inviting ambiance for meals and gatherings.
  2. Kitchen: Install a couple of these repurposed beauties above your kitchen island or Kitchen Sink for a touch of rustic charm and functional task lighting.
  3. Breakfast Nook: Transform your cozy breakfast nook into a charming and well-lit space by suspending a single or a set of pendant lights crafted from vintage lampshades.
  4. Living Room: Add a statement piece by hanging a large vintage lampshade-turned-pendant light in your living room. It will enhance the overall aesthetic and serve as a conversation starter.
  5. Home Office: Infuse your workspace with personality and creativity by incorporating a unique hanging light made from a vintage lampshade.
  6. Bedroom: Create a dreamy atmosphere in your bedroom by hanging a soft and romantic pendant light crafted from a vintage lampshade above your bedside table or in a reading nook.

Remember, the possibilities are endless! Let your imagination guide you to find the perfect spots in your home where these repurposed lampshades can shine and bring a touch of vintage elegance to your decor.

YouTube Video Tutorial

Watch this on Youtube:

Getting Started: Gather Your Supplies

I chose to use this gorgeous vintage Capiz Shell lampshade I found at a garage sale to make a swag reading light, but making a pendant light may require different materials.

Vintage lampshade hanging light supplies, a swag light kit and a porcelain keyless fixture socket.
Vintage Note icon with a quill and ink bottle.

Little Note: The easiest way to do this project is with a kit so that you know all the supplies you need are there. However, you can save on the extra cost by using your own cord sets if you happen to have one on hand if you are comfortable with the process!

How to Turn a Vintage Lampshade into a Hanging Light: Step-by-Step Process

If you’re creating a swag light as I did, this is definitely the best place to start. And there are definitely different ways to do this, but I’m going to show you how I did it!

However, I made a few mistakes through trial and error. And because of that, I discovered the best more efficient way to do this process so I can show you how to do it right the first time!

Vintage Note icon with a quill and ink bottle.

A word of caution: Any time you do an electrical project you must ensure your electricity is off. Either turn your breaker off or flip your light switch to off, etc. Do not plug this cord in until the project is completed.

The screw collar loop secured at the top with the threaded nipple securing it from under the vintage lampshade.

Step One

Attach the Screw Collar Loop to the top of the shade. And secure it using the Threaded Nipple from underneath.

Step Two

Attach the last chain link to the top of the Screw Collar Loop.

Vintage lampshade underside with the metal part of the porcelain socket attached to the threaded nipple.

Step Three

Disconnect the metal part from your porcelain socket and connect it to the threaded nipple.

Vintage lampshade with the chain secured to the loop and the cord through the chain.

Step Four

Then thread your cord through the chain. I chose to do every 5th chain link. But you can do more or less.

Vintage lampshade turned hanging light, the hot wire being wrapped around the gold screw on the porcelain keyless fixture light socket.

Step Five

Use your wire cutters and carefully cut back the cord to expose 1 or 2″ more of the hot wire and neutral wire.

Then lightly twist the wires to a point and then create a small loop for the screw to fit in.

Connect the gold screw to the hot wire as shown.

The neutral wire and the hot wire connected to the correct screws on the porcelain keyless fixture socket.

Step Six

Then do the same thing for the neutral wire.

Create a small loop and connect the silver screw to the neutral wire.

Vintage typewriter icon in a grey circle.

3 Ways to Tell the Neutral from the Hot Wire:

  1. The neutral wire side of the cord will be ribbed, the hot wire will be smooth.
  2. The hot wire side of the cord will have writing on it.
  3. The cord plug has 2 pins, the larger one will be neutral, the smaller one will be hot.

To be extra careful, when you figure out which is the hot wire mark it using a black Sharpie.

Attaching the porcelain keyless socket to the threaded nipple underneath with the two screws. The vintage lampshade now becomes a hanging light.

Step Seven

At this point, you will carefully connect your socket to the metal part that is already attached to the underside of your lampshade with the two screws you took out initially.

Be careful not to put pressure on the lampshade while you gently pull the cord up with the socket.

Installing Your Vintage Lampshade Hanging Light on the Ceiling

If you happen to be drilling into studs this process will definitely be different. My process involved drilling holes into my drywall ceiling, which was pretty simple.

Vintage swag reading light hanging over a vintage wooden bed made from a vintage capiz shell lampshade.

Measure and Mark Your Installation Spot

Measure your space so you know exactly where you want to place your vintage lampshade hanging light.

I measured to the center of my daughter’s bed, then determined we wanted the fixture to be about 8″ from the bed frame. I then measured the diameter of the shade to find the radius. Radius + 8″ spacing = placement.

Drill Your Holes & Install Your Ceiling Hooks

  1. I used my largest bit and drilled my holes. One for the initial placement. Then the second hole to carry the cord over to the plug on the side of the bed.
  2. Then I connected my loop and fittings to the ceiling hook and pushed them into the holes. You will have to pull them down while you twist them to tighten them in place.

Hang Your light & Enjoy!

At this point, you just need to decide how low you want your light to hang. And you’re done!

Other Great Options in Place of a Lampshade for Unique DIY Light Fixtures

If you’re feeling adventurous and want to explore beyond traditional lampshades, there are plenty of other great options for creating your own pendant lighting. And the good news is most of them you may already have on hand!

Vintage lampshade turned into a hanging light installed on the ceiling above the bed.
Vintage Capiz Shell lampshade with it's beautiful crown.

Consider these other fun options that would make great pendant lights:

  1. Mason jars make beautiful pendant lights with a little rustic charm.
  2. Simple metal wire baskets for an industrial style.
  3. Vintage wicker baskets for rustic appeal and beautiful wood texture.
  4. Or Even repurposed glass jars for a whimsical look.
  5. Thrifted glass shades for a simple, but effective lighting solution.

You can also get creative with materials like a tree branch, metal frame, or even simple fabric to craft your own one-of-a-kind pendant lampshade. The key is to think outside the box and let your imagination guide you toward creating a truly exceptional and personalized lighting fixture.

Vintage swag reading light hanging over a vintage wooden bed made from a vintage capiz shell lampshade.

Create a Custom Lampshade Pendant Light

Share this story with your friends for a quick tutorial on this fun process!

Photo Credit: Capturing Wonderland


Yes, a lamp shade can be used as a pendant light for a stylish and functional lighting solution.

Convert a lampshade into a hanging light by removing the hardware, attaching a pendant light kit, and suspending it from the ceiling.

Create your own pendant light by selecting a shade, adding a pendant light kit, wiring it, and hanging it from the ceiling for a custom lighting fixture.

To swag a plug-in pendant light, attach a hook or anchor point on the ceiling, hang the light from it, and use extension cords or chains to achieve the desired swag effect. Or purchase a swag light kit.

Yes, you can convert a pendant light into a plug-in by removing the canopy, attaching a plug and cord, and securing it with wire connectors.

In Conclusion

In conclusion, turning a vintage lampshade into a hanging light is a fantastic DIY project that allows you to repurpose and revive forgotten treasures.

With a little creativity and some basic tools, you can transform these lampshades into stunning pendant lights that add character and charm to any room.

Happy crafting!


Meet the Author

Hi, I’m Julie! Mother to five beautiful kids, Homeschool Educator, Writer, Handicraft & DIY Enthusiast, Photographer, Thrifter, and Furniture Restorer. Follow along for fun DIY projects creating a handmade home on a budget! Read more about me here→


  1. This is such a detailed tutorial and fabulous idea. I love vintage lampshades and the idea of hanging them. Pinned this for future reference!

  2. Wow! I love this idea and such a detailed post! I’m totally gonna be on the look out for a lamp shade like this the next time I’m out at garage sales. Thanks!

    1. You’re super welcome! I totally agree. I personally have little kids so I tried to avoid “lamps” lol but this way I don’t have to worry they’ll get knocked over.

  3. I love this idea! Look how much charm it adds to the space!! I’m already visualizing old lampshades hanging in different nooks in my house. Thanks for this awesome tutorial!

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