So I did some research. Turns out, there are not a ton of DIY Sputnik lamps that I enjoy. After giving it some thought, a light bulb went off. Two, literally. That’s how many light bulbs are in one of my boobs. I gathered some materials and dove (dived? <–that is embarrassing) in.
Now the beauty of my version is that there are so many ways you can customize it. Want a full globey one? Check. Want a more tradish Sputnik? No problem. Want an offbeat, one-of-a-kind, lil-bit-nutty, different-lengths-of-arms, bulb-sticking-out-its-butt light? The choice is up to you.
THINGS YOU WILL NEED:
Ikea Maskros – $50
Ikea Sekond cord (if you choose to rewire) – $12
Light bulb of your choice – varies (I used at 1500 lumens CFL bulb, E26 base)
4 safety pins (if you choose to rewire) – varies
Jewelry wire (if you choose to rewire)- varies
Screwdriver – Phillips for sure, flat head in case your ceiling wiring calls for it
2 Screws (may use ones from previous fixture)
Spray paint if you like – $5ish
Decor of your choice (continue reading for what this means)
Glass & bead glue – $4
Bottom line: you can make your own Sputnik chandelier for under $100, probably even less. Mine cost under $40 in parts + free stuff laying around.
Here is the process in four parts.
Part I: The Patina (aka The Outsides)
The DIYers I found used Ikea’s Maskros. I tried my luck and found this normally $50 small version for sale on Craigslist for $20. Booyeah. I thought the small one was still pretty big and I didn’t want to overwhelm my bedroom.
Personally, I’m not a fan of the dandelion. It is a weed. Weed may not be a problem where I live (Oakland) but it’s a problem for me. And the paper fingers creep me out, as do the shadow shapes it makes on the wall. Shadow shapes are creepy, too.
Since my lamp came preassembled courtesy of kind CL-er, I used a butter knife to pop off the buttons that hold the papers in place. If you buy it new, you will have it way easier. You can either bust those buttons or use them. I didn’t use mine. [NOTE: I saved some of the dandelion papers to paint and use for a firework 4th of July garland, since that’s around the corner.]
Take this ring, the bottom ring, and 10 of the 14 spokes (if you want less globe, more Sputnik), and the two plastic parts that are the very top of the lamp and spray paint. I used MTN gold 94. It’s less metallicky, which I wasn’t actually going for (Home Depot didn’t have brass colored spray paint. I had some MTN on hand = $0), but after I sprayed, I really liked the look.
1. You can just spray the letter sides of the rings. Make sure you get good coverage on the insides and outsides.
2. For the spokes, I started at the head and went over the length twice. I didn’t worry about the flat part of the head.
3. And you don’t have to worry about spraying the part of the large cup that the small cap will cover.
4. Didn’t spray the buttons since I didn’t plan on using. You could also leave white or paint another color and use to make it interesting.
I used that tube to hang dry the spokes, but spray paint generally dries pretty fast. Incidentally the tube was from an IKEA rug I bought months before.
As you’re waiting for the paint to dry, instead of watching it, you can move to Part II.
Part II: The Bulb (aka The Insides)
My husband wants our room to be really bright. Envisioning this project for our room and discovering that a) this lamp comes with one decorative bulb socket and b) the brightest bulb Ikea makes to fit it is only 400 lumens (or about 40 Watts), I knew I was going to have to rewire it. Have I ever rewired a lamp? No. But my grandpa was an electrician in the Navy in WWII, so I figured it’d run in the family…and I have the Internet in my house.
If you are happy with a 400 lumen decorative bulb, then yay! You can move to Part IV. If not, keep reading.
One easy way to go is to buy a pendant kit and follow the rest of the steps. Or you could do what I did…
First, pull out the cord from the metal base…it might not even be with the metal base. It will be the long white wire cord with the metal tubing and bracket on the end with the decorative socket. Save and use for a rainy day, toss, or give it away.
Second, buy a white Sekond cord from IKEA. (I got mine $6 in As Is, y’all! The website says it’s $8…and out of stock, but I bought two a couple of days ago, and it was $12 for one. They even had the cool B&W stripey one). It comes with a bulb, but it’s 400 lumens, so that’s a killjoy…BUT it’s an E26 (regular size) base that can handle up to 60Watts. You can save that 400lm E26 in your rainy day box, too.
I know what you might be thinking: “Kim, IKEA sells the Hemma cord for a pendant light (in double and triple bulb too (which could work for the PS Maskros)), why wouldn’t I just use that one? AAAAND THIS IS A PLUG IN. You’re telling me you’re gonna use a janky plug light for your pendant? I thought you knew what you were doing.”
First of all, my name is Elaine. And yes, you’re right, blog post reader, you could use a pendant cord/kit etc, but the Sekond has a beautiful part that makes this lamp a piece of pie. I’ll show you:
See those holes right there (you can see 4 in the picture). That’s what makes this pie.
[Background info you can skip if you want to]: I tried a few different ways to make this lamp the brightest I could. The Sekond cord can handle 60W, so after experimenting with the lumens (too dark), using socket adaptors to use 2-3 bulbs (too bulky), adjusting the cord length, researching swapping out for a stronger socket, etc., I decided to use a single 1500 lumen CFL bulb in the single socket.
I used one spoke to connect the rings (so I could maneuver this process easier than having all of the delicate spokes in my way) and here is where the light bulb went on (not literally): I could adjust the hole-y part on the Sekond socket to just the right height. Bing!
I got 4 medium sized safety pins and put the screws that connected the top ring to the bracket through the hole end of the safety pin and screwed them in the top ring. Worked like a charm. Then I used some jewelry wire I had laying around and connected the other end of the safety pins to the holes of the Sekond ring. See?
Ignore all those spokes. I took the pic after. Also, ignore the safety pin that popped open. It’s okay if that happens.
The top part of the pins are under the Sekond piece, because it needed extra height. You definitely want to do this prespoke because you need the space. Also, have the light bulb you want in at this time. It makes the process easier.
***I cannot tell you how proud of myself I was after I figured this out. And it didn’t take me that long. It’s some kind of miracle from Jesus.***
Part III: The Wires
This is where it gets tricky. But have no fear; it just is more time consuming than complicated; and if you have the right tools, it shall be a breeze.
Well, we also have a great tutorial on how to convert a plug-in light into a ceiling light. Google gives tons of results for the other way around, so I’m really ecstatic I found this. I just found a few others, but this one is simple. Basically:
1. Measure how much cord length you need, i.e., how low or high you want it to hang, and add 6 inches. (Now thread it through your two upper plastic parts and the metal plate.)
2. Strip cord down to black and white wires. Use wire cutters to expose the copper wires.
3. Ta da! You did it!
That post links to a post on how to wire to your ceiling!
That last bit took some strength, prying, and patience, not unlike when I ask my husband a question about his plans for the day, but I prevailed!
Part IV: The Grand Finale
You have waited long enough for the paint to dry. Put those spokes in, girlfriend! I had to use some gentle strength because the paint adds some layer and they need to click in. Follow your A/B’s around. I put 3 in, 1 gap, 2 in, 1 gap. Repeat.
I liked the unfinished look of the ends; you can paint them if you want, but you won’t be able to really tell they’re not painted. Of course, you’ll know, so paint them if you won’t be able to live with yourself. Geez.
Then wire it to your ceiling or call a professional. REMEMBER TO TURN OFF THE ELECTRICITY AT THE BREAKER BOX if you do it yourself (and you might cover any surfaces your light is under…I got ceiling dust on my bed oops). I did mine at night and used a headlamp. My hudsband (<did that on purpose, spellcheck) helped me, and despite his protests, I know he really enjoyed it, especially when I stripped down to my tank top and underwear and he happened upon me teetering on the ladder. It was freakin hot, what can I say.
All things bright and beautiful.
Be sure to test it before you put everything in place. Work smart.
The arms of this lamp are very delicate. I brainstormed for what I could use to make this lamp flippin awesome and the answer came to me in Target: ping pong balls. I ordered 48 (but only used 24) seamless 38mm white ones from amazon (cuz those = 1.5 inches), but use whichever you like. You can get all kinds of colors, some have stars; I actually wanted to spray paint mine teal/turquoise, but I haven’t found the right spray paint yet.
That looked too sparse, but I liked it much more than the 3-fers.. I did some math: 2 balls per spoke x 10 spokes = 20 balls. I remembered from my research that a 24-arm lamp is common. So I grabbed 4 more balls and decided to place them where my heart and eyes desired.
Ding ding ding, we have a winner.
I decided to leave them there for a bit, go away and come back to see if I still liked it. I went to lunch with my Hubs at The Pretty Lady (best diner ever), showed him the pix of my progress and got feedback on what he liked, and then went back and glued.
Me still likeed. So I went to work. I grabbed Krazy glue which did not work. But I had the brush on kind. Maybe the squeeze kind would be different. I bought Aleene’s Glass & Bead glue also because it dries clear and fast, goops on, and it said works for hard plastics. Boom.
You can see how it goops out the tube on its own. This actually helped me mark the end spoke I needed to glue (top picture) so I wouldn’t forget when I was removing the masking tape from the ball. Then get a fair glob on the ball and hold in place for 10-15 seconds. After I did that, I had to go back and adjust some of them because of gravity, but it wasn’t a big deal. None of them fell off.
THE BIG REVEAL!!!
I might go back and use wire cutters to cut some of the arms off (but that’s permanent, so I’m waiting) or touch up some of the sparsely painted ends. For now, I am THRILLED with my new fixture. It’ll likely be our permanent firmament.
I also ordered what I thought were 1.5″ plastic bubbles; turns out they were heavy acrylic balls, and 2, not 20 like I thought. My hunt for clear lightweight circles continues, and I have some ideas. You can also use pearly twisty ties from Michaels’ wedding aisle, gems, acrylic jewels, beads, poms, sequins, marbles, ornaments, outdoor light bulbs, half spheres, small paper lanterns, etc. You can use 8 spokes instead of 10, or all 14. Ceiling’s the limit!
Good luck! And here’s to a brighter tomorrow!
I love lamp,
For the GLOBE half I did:
Going counterclockwise on the top ring, I had:
B A B [gap] B A [gap]
In that order, I put balls on spokes:
B: 3, 4, 5
A: 1, 3, 5
B: 1, 3, 5
B: 2, 4, 6
A: 2, 4, 6
If you go the globe route, I’ll leave it up to you to figure out the other half! 🙂
ORBITAL half (the 3-fer):
A: 2, 3, 4
B: 3, 4, 5
A: 2, 3, 4
A: 2, 3, 4
B: 3, 4, 5
For the 2-fer, I just removed all the middle balls (3’s & 4’s from above pattern)
Have fun! Share your ideas and pictures in the comments, or shoot me an email!