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Step-by-Step DIY: Stylish perspex pendant light fixture

 

1. Introduction

What’s the point of investing in a beautiful designer light fixture if you’re afraid to look at your bank balance afterwards? Our perspex pendant light offers an affordable and versatile alternative: suspended at head height, it looks great over the dining table. When suspended higher, possibly as part of a duo, it casts a wonderful glow in a long room such as a hall, for example. And don’t worry, you don’t need to be a professional to handle perspex!

The following construction guide applies to perspex that is 5 mm thick. You must adapt the list of materials accordingly if you opt for other materials or material with a different thickness.

Our light fixture is simply designed: Light bulbs are suspended separately from the ceiling by flexes and enclosed in a box made of two lateral bars at the top and at the bottom. The box itself is suspended from the ceiling by four wires, each of which is attached axially to the upper two lateral bars in the box. The glare shield rests loosely on the two lower lateral bars; it can be omitted if you want to suspend the light fixture so low over a table that you are unable to screen the lamp inside.

Detailed material list and construction drawing

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Plan 1

Required power tools:

Table Saw
Vacuum Cleaner
Multi-sanders
Bench Drill
Cordless Screwdriver
Fine Spray System

Other accessories:

  • Set of drill bits
  • Metal file
  • Sanding paper, grits of 120–400
  • Folding rule, soft pencil, rubber, pencil sharpener, felt pen
  • Epoxy resin adhesive or superglue (note: not all brands are suitable)
  • Transparent adhesive tape
  • Clamps



Required materials:

  • Perspex

Metal rods

Wire cables, wire cable clamps, screw hooks

Detailed Material List:

Item

pcs

Designation

Length

Width

Thickness

Material

0

2

Long sides

800 mm

300 mm

5 mm

Perspex

1

2

Narrow side panels

150 mm

300 mm

5 mm

Perspex

2

1

Glare shield

750 mm

300 mm

5 mm

Perspex

3

4

Rods, diameter

6 mm

145 mm

Steel

4

4

Wires

1,000 mm

2 mm

5

4

Screw hooks

6

4

Wire rope clamp


2. Making the mitre cuts

Stylish perspex pendant light fixture

The four sides of the light fixture are glued together. To maximise the gluing surfaces at the corners, you must make a mitre cut along the 30-cm edges, that is, cut them at a 45° angle.

Adjust your bench circular saw to a cutting angle of 45°. Advance the cut by about a millimetre and then trim by the exact dimensions.

Handling instructions for perspex

Perspex is a hard brittle material. It can melt due to frictional heat generated when it is handled by machines. You should therefore always set your tools to the lowest possible speed when cutting perspex. In addition, make sure you always wear protective glasses and remove any perspex chips while working. When clamping the perspex workpieces in place, use underlays made of a soft fabric such as felt. Only remove the protective film when assembly is complete, to protect the delicate surface. Ask about suitable adhesives at a DIY store or specialist perspex retailer (check addresses in the Yellow Pages). You must always follow the manufacturer’s handling and safety instructions.

3. Drilling the blind holes in the long sides

Stylish perspex pendant light fixture Stylish perspex pendant light fixture

The four bars connecting the two long side panels inside the light fixture are accommodated in holes that are drilled on the insides but do not go all the way through (‘blind holes’).

Using the felt tip pen, trace the positions of the blind holes on the long sides. Mount your drill in the drill stand and adjust the drilling depth to 2.5 mm. Before starting to drill the four blind holes in the perspex with the 6-mm universal drill bit (without a centring tip), test the setting of the depth stop on a sample piece.

Since the drill bit tapers at the tip, the blind hole only extends to its full diameter for 1 mm in depth. You may have to use the file to taper the bars slightly before inserting them between the long side panels. Therefore dry-fit all pieces before gluing them together.

Using the metal file, file notches into the centre of the base of the two upper connector bars. These notches will act as midpoint markings later when you suspend the light fixture.

4. Sanding the long edges

Stylish perspex pendant light fixture

Clamp the perspex panels and sand the long edges (not the mitred edges!). Start with sanding paper with a grit of 120 and finish by carrying out fine sanding with sanding paper with a grit of 240. Always work in the longitudinal direction of the edge only. Then chamfer the edges, using fine sanding paper at a 45° angle in a longitudinal direction.

5. Joining the light fitting sections together

Stylish perspex pendant light fixture Stylish perspex pendant light fixture

Place the long and narrow side panels together in exactly the way they will form the lamp shade: with the tapered sides of the mitre cuts facing upwards, seamlessly joined together. Now carefully secure the light fixture corners with strong adhesive tape: make sure that the surfaces remain seamlessly joined, and flatten the adhesive tape so that no adhesive can get between the workpiece and the tape at a later stage.

The four side panels now form a chain-type structure, which you can fold together to make the light fixture. You should now check whether the connector bars fit exactly between the long side panels.

Turn over the four side panels that are joined with adhesive tape and open them out again, with the mitre cuts facing upwards. Dab a small amount of adhesive in the mitre cuts and blind holes. Excess adhesive may damage the surface and traces may be difficult to remove.

Now insert the connector bars (making sure they are positioned correctly) and carefully assemble the side panels together again. Fasten the open corner with adhesive tape. If the glue is dry, you can remove the tape again. Finally, chamfer the edges with fine sanding paper, as described in step 3.

6. Mounting the light fitting overhead attachment and glare shield

Stylish perspex pendant light fixture

Wrap the wires around the upper connector bars, making loops with the wire clamps. Follow the same procedure at the top of the wires to make the overhead attachment to the ceiling. Place the glare shield in the light fitting box without attaching it so that it rests on the lower connector bars.

7. Suspending the light fixture

Stylish perspex pendant light fixture

To suspend the light fixture, you must attach two screw hooks to the ceiling. First, mark the drilling points in the ceiling. You can easily measure the distance between them using a measuring tape or folding rule on the top of the light fixture. Centre the holes in relation to the electrical source on the ceiling so that the light bulb is later suspended exactly in the centre of the lamp shade.

Use the appropriate fixings for the overhead attachment, depending on what the ceiling is made of. You can make the holes (again depending on the ceiling properties) either with an impact drill or rotary hammer and a masonry drill bit to match the fixing size.

If the wires are not long enough (because of the loops): you can make minor adjustments by twisting the screw hooks on the ceiling once or twice.

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    Mriehel
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