Make A Veneer Pendant Light Shade

Give a pendant light a new look by using two embroidery hoops and a small piece of 6mm thick plywood to make a frame for a shade.

A sheet of timber veneer is cut and wrapped around the frame to make a two-tier drum shade then finished with Scandinavian timber oil. 

Designed to fit an existing light fitting, the plywood is cut to house the socket. Only use CFLs with this light shade as they produce 75% less heat than incandescent bulbs. 

Buy timber embroidery hoops, sized from 75 to 350mm in diameter, for about $3 each, from craft suppliers. 

Cutting the veneer

Use a tape measure to find the hoop circumference, add 20mm extra for overlap when gluing, then mark and cut a 300mm wide piece of veneer to length for the shade. Cut a 100mm wide strip to the same length. 

For straight strips of veneer, cut right through the sheet with a utility knife for the best finish. 

Or you can score the marked line then fold it against a straight edge and back on itself. 

TIP If you want the grain of the timber veneer to run around the light, cut the long edge in the direction of the grain.  

Step 1. Mark the plywood

To make a top for the pendant light shade for the light socket and socket cover, lay the piece of 6mm thick plywood on a flat surface and position a timber embroidery hoop on top, tracing around the outside edge with a marker pen.

Step 2. Cut the shade top

Clamp the plywood to the work surface and drill a starter hole at any point on the marked outline. Cut out the top of the light shade using a jigsaw, keeping the blade directly on the outline for a top exactly the same size as the hoop.

Step 3. Make the light hole

Find and mark the centre point of the shade top then measure the light fitting to cut a hole for it to pass through using a holesaw. Make sure the hole is big enough for the socket to pass through but small enough for the cover to sit against the plywood.

Step 4. Apply the adhesive

Use a paintbrush to apply contact adhesive to the edge of the shade top and the inner edge of an embroidery hoop, leave for 15 minutes to go tacky then slot the hoop over the ply. Apply adhesive to the outer hoop edges and 20mm from the veneer long edges.

Step 5. Secure the veneer

Position the shade top and base hoop at one end of the veneer shade and roll along the glue line. Apply adhesive to the base hoop inner edge and the top outer edge of the veneer strip and let it go tacky then secure, ensuring both shade seams line up.

Step 6. Finish the light shade

Peg the shade on the seam until the adhesive dries then apply two coats of Scandinavian timber oil to the veneer using a paintbrush. Leave to dry then attach the light fitting to hang the pendant shade. TIP Stain the veneer before oiling.

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