how to-sday | makeover a janky light fixture

March 9, 2010 separator DIY IKEA Hacks

So apparently decorating my apartment is my newest obsession. I am disgustingly thrilled to just sit around and shuffle furniture, paint everything that isn’t a permanent fixture, and vinyl-decal every smooth surface in sight. My newest project over the weekend was to redo my ugly ceiling light, and you can do it too – for under ten bucks!

  • paper lantern (Mine’s from Ikea.)
  • clear packing tape
  • box cutter
  • scissors
  • really precious cat
1. Remove your original light fixture. It probably unscrews from the bottom. If you have incandescent bulbs, replace them with CFL bulbs. This is important not only because they are much more eco-friendly, but also because they do not get nearly as hot. The cooler lighting temperature will not burn your paper lantern.

2. Cut the lantern about 1/3 of the way from the bottom. Slice all the way around with the box cutter, and if you have the Ikea version that I do, snip through the bamboo caging with your scissors.

3. Your lantern should now look like the above image. You can discard the smaller piece, unless you can think of something brilliant to do with it. Let me know if you do!

4. Cut off several pieces of the packing tape – four inches long apiece. Distribute them along the circumference (edge) of the lantern. The tape should be attached to the inside of the lantern, with the sticky part facing out.

5. Stick the lantern to the top of the fixture casing. You’ll have to reach up through the hole in the bottom of the lantern to firmly press the tape onto the fixture.

6. This image should give you an idea of how it’s affixed on the inside. Now you’ll need to stick a couple very short, discreet pieces of tape around the outside edges to hold the lantern in place from the outside as well. You’ll want to focus these pieces around the back of the lantern so that they don’t show from the front.

Taaa daaaaaaa – a much more zen lamp experience, all for about six bucks. Again, nobody stab yourselves. Seriously – I mean it.


  1. Maybe you could put some cute washi tape around the edge of that discarded piece. And then plug the bottom with patterned paper and washi tape. And use it as a bowl for yarn or something light. Except now that I think about it, it might collapse, depending on the type of lantern you have.

    Or you could use it (after making the aesthetic changes) as a bowl cover. For your rolls as they wait to be served.

    Or you could use it as the top of a windsock. Have ribbons or something dangling out of it.

    Or you could cut it down and use it as a yalmulke. Just a thought.

  2. wow this is creative, but fear that I can’t do it here. in malaysia very hot weather and I found out that my other lamp light with cover which is like pvc melted! horrible and lucky nobody injure I was worry if there is going to be fire. not sure is it the bulb 2 power.

  3. very cool, once saw a how to for a chandelier made out of gallon bottles of water, always wanted to try something like this. thanks for sharing 😉

  4. Very cool! I once made a hanging lamp from a paper lantern and had it my room at college – that was way, way back in the day – but I never thought of using it for a light feature. Great idea!

    And yes, a precious cat is essential for all home improvement projects 😀

  5. Very clever!! Too bad you didn’t live closer, I’d love to hire you to redo my living room!!

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