Heika’s DIY hemp-string pendant lamps
Super talented Heika DeHart strikes again. These pendant lamps she made of hemp string are genius. Plus, don’t you love how they look with her wallpaper? Heika writes: “I fell in love with West Elm’s Abaca pendent lamps a few years ago but, as usual, my taste was more expensive than my wallet could support. However, I was sure that I could copy them at a fraction of the cost.” I love the natural look of the hemp, but you could also use white or colored string. I’ve seen others make string lamps using balloons (which are oval), but Heika has an innovative solution for achieving perfectly round lamp shades. (This post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something, I may earn a small commission. You can read my full disclosure here.)
Below are the West Elm Abaca pendants that inspired Heika’s lamps. I think hers are as good as the real thing and better than any DIY I’ve seen out there.
How to make hemp-string pendant lamps
SUPPLIES & TOOLS
bouncy balls of various sizes
clear drying craft glue (about 1 bottle per ball)
hemp string 20lb. weight (estimated amounts)
- 16-inch-diameter ball: 400 yards
- 14-inch-diameter ball: 300 yards
- 9-inch-diameter ball: 100 yards
plastic gloves (optional)
trash bag or small drop cloth
light fixture and hardware (Lowe’s doesn’t carry the fixture that Heika used anymore. Search online for pendant fitters or pendant light kits.) Try one of these:
1. Draw a circle on the ball with a permanent marker. This circle will mark a space on the lamp that needs to remain clear of string. The empty circle will be used in assembling the light fixture and will allow you to have access for changing light bulbs. If the light fixture you are using has lamp shades, make sure that the circles are big enough for the shades to easily pass through.
2. Cover your work surface with trash bags or a drop cloth, and put on gloves (this gets messy).
3. The best way, I found, to apply the glue is to squeeze a quarter size amount onto your fingers and run the hemp string through the glue and then wrap it around the ball. The string should stick fairly easily to the ball. I tried two other methods that also worked reasonably well, but were much more time consuming and made a bigger mess. You can fill a shallow tub with the glue and run the hemp string through it, or you can apply the glue directly to the string from the bottle.
4. Glue and wrap, glue and wrap, glue and wrap. Just keep going. Try to wrap randomly to avoid criss-cross patterns. The more densely wrapped the lamp is the stronger it will be.
5. Make sure to avoid wrapping string over the circle area. If there are any areas that seem weak, you can apply a little extra glue to give it more strength.
6. Repeat the steps 1-5 to make multiple lamps. Let the glue dry completely. (The glue I recommended takes about 48 hours to cure completely.)
7. Use the inflating needle to deflate the ball.
8. Remove the deflated ball from the lampshade.
9. This part takes some basic electrical skills. Follow the installation instructions that come with your light fixture. While installing the light string, feed the wires through the circle hole of the lamp and up through the top, so that the light bulb will hang down in the center of the sphere.
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Cara Jean Means made these brightly colored yarn pendants as part of an impressive kitchen redo.
Hua Moua made these hemp pendant lights for her dining room. Her fiancé helped her wire them.
Kim Henderson made these hemp pendants using 75 lb. twine and hung them as decoration in her massage room.
I love your DIY hemp pendant lamps.
How thick is your hemp string you were working with? The 20# hemp twine I found is about 1mm and yours looks thicker than that is that correct?
Thanks for great DIY