Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tudor / Medieval wall light tutorial

I've been longing to try to make a light fixture for ages, and today I just knuckled down and did it!  It's a little crude, and I know I can make it better, but I thought it might help someone else attempt something if I wrote down the steps and showed the results :)

Here's what I used:  a ready-made 1:12 scale eaves bracket (but you could use any piece of wood or a decorative corbel or something similar), a bead cap and a screw-in candle bulb complete with wire.  I stained the bracket walnut.

I drilled a hole through the bracket.  Well, in the case of this bracket, because it has a hole in the middle of it, I drilled two holes -- one at an angle from the top of the bracket into the hole and another straight in from the back into the hole.  This actually was quite convenient because it meant I could use a rather short drill bit :)  If I had a solid piece of wood, I would have used a longer drill bit and just drilled diagonally from the top of the bracket and out the back.

I painted the bead cap black and glued it on the top of the bracket, over the hole.

I was a little bit nervous about how fiddly this next step would be, but it went swimmingly enough.  I removed the plug from the light bulb assembly, cut the ends of the wire off cleanly, straightened the wire and pushed it through the hole from the top.  When the wire got into the centre cut-out, I used a thin knitting needle to make it turn the corner and kept pushing.  Voilà!  The wire obligingly exited the bracket at the back :)  I'm sure that the next one I make, it will be possible to hear me swearing all the way from Canada!

And here's the socket in place -- a bit gloopy from the glue, but just as planned.  You can see a bit of white wire coming through  the centre hole of the bracket, but that's easily fixed.

You can hardly see the wire now, because I've pushed a little glue up to the top of the cut out hole, glued the wire in place and painted it black!

Now to make the light socket look more like a candle. I would have used a bit of drinking straw, if I had had any around.  Instead, I rolled a piece of light card tightly around a thin paintbrush, tested it for fit, and then glued it together to form a tube.  When dried, I slipped the tube over the socket.  I may add some decorative white glue blobs to represent candle wax (considering I leave white glue blobs whereever I go, it would be nice to have some that were MEANT to be there :))

And here's the fixture stuck to the wall with Museum Putty!  Of course I need to decide where it's going to live, drill a hole, glue the fixture to the wall, refit the plug, etc., but I'm pretty pleased that I've finally actually made my own light fixture, blobby though it may be!

Now I need to learn to solder!


  1. Excellent tutorial! I can see adapting this is many ways for old-fashioned light fixtures, thanks for posting it! :)

    - Grace

  2. Well done, Nina!! Lighting is far away in my plans (because I'm an expert procrastinator when it comes to putting the houses together) that it's great to get good background on lighting. Thanks so much!!

    Love it!! There's something so very satisfying for me in medieval things! I'm enjoying your work :)))

  3. Wonderful Nina! I have been collecting bits of lighting supplies in preparation to try to make some "torch" lights for my castle (the one that I have been building but not on my blog yet...) :) I can definitely copy some of your pioneering work! I can't wait to see where you will attach it!

  4. What a great idea and it worked out very well. I have to make a light fitting as well so it'll be interesting to see how that goes.

  5. Very interesting following your tutorial. I haven't as yet touched lighting for my shop but I'll have to at some stage. Oh I do have a short length of wire with a globe attached, I wanted to see just how fine the wire is and it is reeeeally fine, thank heavens. I am still fiddling with ideas for the promised wired chandelier for my 200 followers giveaway in future:)

  6. Well done! Great sconce. Thanks for the tutorial.

  7. What a great idea, it looks great! Thank you for posting the tutorial.

    I am dreading doing the wiring in a house. How do you attach chandliers to the ceiling? Surely they can't be glued on? How would you ever change the bulbs when they burn out? Sorry if that sounds really stupid (blush) but I have just have not had to do it yet.

  8. That looks great! I need some lights in Poe's house and this gave me some ideas, thank you :)

  9. Great idea! Thanks for sharing this tut!Hmm maybe now I can think about that tourch ...;)

  10. You're a genius, as usual! Thanks for the explanation.
    Above all, congratulations for taking the care with which you work :-)
    Mini hugs, Flora

  11. This is very good idea, thanks! =)

  12. Hi Nina,
    interesting blog, particularly the period consider and thanks for the tutorials that you share.

  13. Genius.....so well done too. It looks really great :-)


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