Upcycle Projects with Light Fixtures

Upcycle Projects with Light Fixtures

Light fixtures are something you always find at certain kinds of thrift stores- especially Habitat ReStores. Chandeliers, pendant lights, ceiling fans, and more; there are always an abundance of these fixtures available. And while some of them are perfectly fine for wiring into your home, there are lots of other ways to repurpose them as well. So, if you’d like some DIY inspiration for light fixtures before your next thrifting run, you’ve come to the right place.

Geometric Cloche

plant cloche from a geometric pendant light

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

A geometric brass-and-glass pendant light is perfect for upcycling into a DIY cloche like this. You can display anything you’d like within it and even change it out seasonally. Big name decor shops sell similar versions for a much higher cost than the full light fixtures run at thrift shops, too.

Decorative Beehive

bee decor from the thrift store

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Before modern day beehives were developed, beekeepers would use bee skeps to house their honey-making bees. The traditional skeps were domed baskets, but the idea of skeps is more likely to be decorative these days than functional. And you can easily create the look of one like this by upcycling a glass light shade.

Light Fixtures in the Garden

bathroom light fixture as fence decor

Image credit: Birdz of a Feather.

Outdated vanity lights and bathroom fixtures are definitely something you see at thrift shops. And this is a fabulous way to reuse them: as planters you can hang on your fence! What a great way to add charm and whimsy to your garden or yard, and such a straightforward upcycle project, too.

Spooky Halloween Moon

Halloween moon and witch decor from a glass globe light fixture

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

An old light fixture is the perfect thing to transform into an eerie Halloween moon lamp like this– complete with a flying witch! Interestingly enough, the painting technique for that moon-like “texture” couldn’t be easier, either.

DIY Antique Diving Helmet

Antique diving helmet from recessed light housing

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

An antique diving helmet is an elegant curiosity for a coastal home, but is usually reserved for those who can afford one. But upcycling a light fixture into a faux version is a much more approachable option.

Mini Birdcage Decor

bird cage decor with cage light covers

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Industrial light cage covers might not be something you see everyday with the other light fixtures at thrift shops. But if you do, don’t pass them up! There are lots of fun ways to upcycle them, including this craft idea for a mini birdcage.

Light Fixtures as Display Bowls

displaying christmas ornaments in a vintage light shade

Image credit: Lora Bloomquist.

Vintage glass light shades are gorgeous, often found in shades of pale green or pink with lovely designs in the glass. And because of the pre-drilled holes from use as light fixtures, they’re ideal for repurposing into pedestal bowls like this for displaying collections around your home. Vintage ornaments are a perfect item to show off in it, too.

Patriotic Projects

liberty bell replica from a glass light shade

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

When it comes time to decorate for July 4th, how about a small Liberty Bell to put on your mantel or elsewhere in your home? Believe it or not, but this version of it was made from a glass light shade that came from a thrift store.

Light Fixtures as Halloween Ghosts

halloween ghost lights from glass light covers

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Glass light shades from ceiling fans and bathroom sconces often end up at thrift stores after a remodel. But look how PERFECT they can be as little ghost lights! This Halloween craft takes just a few minutes to make, and their eerie blue/indigo glow makes all the difference.

Shabby Chic Candleholders

candleholder from a light fixture

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

The right antique light fixture might be virtually useless and would at least require a brand new rewiring job. But if that goes beyond your skill level or attention span, then perhaps it can be used as a candelabra of sorts. It’s got great shabby chic or vintage charm, doesn’t it?

Christmas Scenes in Light Fixtures

christmas scene in a lantern style light fixture

Image credit: Confessions of a Serial DIYer.

Creating snow globes and Christmas scenes in mason jars is cute and all. But what about elevating the look by upcycling a lantern-style light fixture into an elegant yet whimsical winter scene like this?

Firefly Lights

Firefly lantern with a brass light as upcycled lighting

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Want to create something magical to use in your backyard at night? This “firefly lantern” is SO gorgeous, you’ll feel like you’re in a movie while simply enjoying a warm summer evening outside. And it all started with an outdated light fixture from the thrift store…

Unexpected Thanksgiving Decor

pilgrim hat craft from a light baffle

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Place cards are a staple at larger and more formal Thanksgiving gatherings. For an extra dash of whimsy, these place cards look just like pilgrim hats. But the best part is that they’re made from repurposed (and inexpensive!) light fixtures!

Succulent Planter in a Chandelier

vintage chandelier as a succulent planter

Image credit: My Repurposed Life.

Old chandeliers (typically brass) are a staple at Habitat ReStores, as people upgrade and modernize the light fixtures in their homes. Thankfully, though, there are lots of fun ways to upcycle them- including this succulent planter idea. And I certainly won’t tell if you use fake succulents from a craft store, since that’s probably what I’d end up doing, too!

Interchangeable Luminaries

Christmas lantern for a rustic Christmas by upcycling the light bulb cages into luminaries with sheet music

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Again with the industrial light bulb cages! Look how stunning they can be as luminaries or lanterns like this. I used vintage sheet music to help diffuse the light and give them a romantic feel, but nothing is permanent. So you can change out the decorative paper or vellum throughout the year.


light up pumpkin and jack o lantern

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

An outdated light fixture, especially with a round glass globe and a little metal finial, is adorably repurposed as a jack-o-lamp. Halloween decoration ideas that only require painting on a face and an LED candle are as easy as it gets!

Oversized Ornaments from Light Fixtures

globe lights as ornaments

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Globe light fixtures- especially the pressed glass versions- are ideal for repurposing into oversized Christmas ornaments like these! You can set them in the yard, line your steps with them, or display them on the mantle. Ironically, it helps if you have a kitty at home- because those are cat food cans as the ornament “caps”, too.

Winter Snowglobes

Winter snow globes in jelly jar light fixtures

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

Making waterless snow globes is typically considered a Christmas craft. But making winter versions is just as satisfying- and quite beautiful to look at. These versions are in salvaged light fixtures, but recycled glass jars would work just as well.

Craft Projects with Light Fixtures

salvaged light fixtures

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

See? I wasn’t lying to you when I said there are a LOT of unexpected ways to upcycle and repurpose light fixtures. Whether you use the entire fixture or just the shade, there are any number of project ideas out there. Seasonal, year-round, functional, and decorative- the sky’s the limit when it comes to reuse potential. Now that you’re armed with ideas, it’s time to head to your local Habitat ReStore, don’t you think?

Craft on!


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crafts you can make from old light fixtures

Image credit: Sadie Seasongoods.

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Sarah Ramberg is the owner of Sadie Seasongoods, a website that celebrates all things secondhand. From upcycling ideas and thrifted decor to vintage-centric travel itineraries, Sadie Seasongoods is a one-stop shop for anyone who loves thrifting and approachable repurposing ideas. Sarah is also the author of “Crafting with Flannel” and has been featured in numerous media outlets and magazines.

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