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Dowel Pendant Light Shade

Transform a pendant light into a colorful lantern by making this delicate shade from easy-to-cut dowels.

Dowel pendant light shade

Project Overview

Skill Level


Estimated Time

1 day

Estimated Cost


Tools & Materials


  • Miter saw or miter box and handsaw
  • Tape measure
  • Straightedge
  • Carpenter’s square
  • 120-grit sandpaper
  • Clamps
  • Wood glue


  • 9 - 3/8 x 36 poplar square dowels, #27594
  • Portfolio chrome mini pendant light fixture, #394803
  • 32-watt spiral compact fluorescent light, #280590
  • Valspar spray primer
  • Valspar gloss spray paint: Tropical Oasis

Items may be Special Order in some stores. Product costs, availability, and item numbers may vary online or by market. Paint colors may vary slightly from those shown.

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Project Resources


Build the Top and Bottom

Step 1

From 3/8-in dowels, cut the top and bottom frame ends (A) and sides (B) to length (Dowel Pendant Light Shade Project Drawing). Then cut the middle slats (C) and long frame connectors (D). Sand the faces and ends smooth.

Step 2

Lay a carpenter’s square on a flat work surface. In the inside corner of the square, glue together the ends and sides to form a basic frame (Frame 1 in the drawing). Repeat to make a total of six frames.

Step 3

On two of the basic frames, measure and mark 2 inches from the outside edges of the frame ends. Glue two middle slats (C) parallel with the ends (A) to create two middle frames (Frame 2 in the drawing).

Step 4

Place center slats for Frame

On two other basic frames, measure and mark 2-5/8 inches from the outside edges of the sides. Glue two middle slats parallel with the sides to make the two outside frames (Frame 3 in the drawing).

Step 5

Stack frames to form the top and bottom

Glue and stack frames 1, 2, and 3. Check that the corners are all flush with each other and apply weight to the top or clamp the assembly until the glue dries.

Connect the Frames

Step 1

Connect the top to the bottom

Rest both frames on edge on a flat work surface so that they mirror each other. Use a carpenter’s square to help make the outside edges flush. Lay two frame connectors (D) between the frame sets with 3/4-inch overhangs on both ends. Check for the correct distance between frames and apply weight to the connectors while the glue dries.

Step 2

Flip the assembly upside down on the work surface and repeat the previous step to install the other two connectors. Then prime and paint the assembled shade to suit your room (Tropical Oasis shown).

Step 3

Screw the pendant fixture to the frame

Install the pendant light fixture according to the manufacturer’s directions. Unscrew the light fixture socket ring and insert the threaded part between the slats of the top frame. Thread the socket ring on the fixture, tighten, and add a lightbulb. (We used a compact fluorescent for less heat and greater energy efficiency.)