From Fluorescent Diffuser to Statement Pendant {Sarah M. Dorsey Designs}

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hey there! I'm monica 

I pride myself on making amazing style and design accessible for everyone, regardless of location, budget, or ability! My design philosophy is rooted in authenticity + attainability - If I can do it, you can too! My work has been featured in countless publications, but I take the most pride in homeowners that have been personally inspired by my DIY ideas and have tried something in their own homes!

learn more about ME + MY BIZ

If you missed the announcement about which nine contestants made it through to Round 2 of Creating with the Stars, click here! We’re dying to see what those ladies come up with for this week’s Knockoff theme!
We didn’t think it could get much cooler than Sarah’s 80’s Chandelier to Glass Mirror project, but man, were we wrong! This light fixture is a show-stopper and we were both completely in awe of Sarah’s creative vision for old fluorescent light covers. I’m not sure I would have ever thought of this project, but I wish I did, because it’s stinkin’ awesome. Kudos to you, Sarah!

Walking through Habitat ReStore I spotted a few egg crate diffusers – you know those grates that cover fluorescent lights in basements across the country. It’s the last lighting fixture I would consider for a project, but once I got around my thoughts of drop ceilings, I began thinking how neat it would be to use the grid to create any square geometric shape that I wanted. At $2 each, what could I lose?
Browsing Pinterest I found this amazing light, Lolita – Shine by SHO and fell in love with the arms. It’s lines are simple, but make a big impact! Perfect for a statement piece!
Once we decided on the shape, we measured and marked the edges with a permanent marker. The egg crate diffuser was cut into the shape of the arms with small clippers (clipping as close to the edge as possible).
Next we taped the bottom with painters tape and filled with plaster of paris (mixing it on the thinner side so that it would level itself at the top). You want it as level as possible to reduce sanding. Any excess was leveled off with a spackle knife.
Once firm, they were placed in the sun to fully cure (I ended up letting it sit overnight)
Then excess was sanded off. Some of the squares fell out during sanding, so I used a little craft glue to get them back in place. Then I patched the imperfections with drywall spackle and sanded again once dry. This part was pretty messy – so I was definitely glad to be done with sanding!
We wanted a simple fixture so that it wouldn’t compete with the arms. Looking through thrift shops, all we could find were ones with curves (very ’80s) we needed something more mid-century modern. So we ended up building our own electrical housing out of old chandelier parts, PVC, and brass tubing.
Here’s how we did it:
Honestly, this wasn’t the easiest task, but definitely doable. It required modifying (mostly cutting holes in the PVC) so that all the parts would fit snugly.
To assemble all of the pieces we used Gorilla Glue Epoxy
We followed the directions by mixing equal parts of the resin and the hardener (in small batches so it wouldn’t harden too fast). This stuff worked SO well! It set up fairly quickly and was SUPER strong!
All parts were lightly sanded to remove any gloss, and dust was removed with a microfiber cloth. Then it was primed, and painted with Sherwin William Rivulet (2 coats).
We finished it off with 2 coats of Krylon Lacquer to give it a super glossy finish.
Turning off the electricity first, we installed the light and held our breath as we flipped the switch.
Success! It works!
We also installed trim and painted 8″ stripes on the ceiling to frame the fixture.
and a gallery wall with a few fun prints, paintings, and some fabric mixed in!
I love this fun addition to our office area!
Here’s the price breakdown:
(2) Fluorescent diffusers: $4 (Habitat ReStore)
Plaster of Paris: $5 (with coupon at Michaels)
Gorilla Glue Epoxy: $5
Chandelier: $5 (Habitat ReStore)
PVC parts: ~$3 (Home Depot)
Brass parts: ~$10 (Ace Hardware)
Total = $32
Not bad for a statement piece! So next time you see a plastic diffuser don’t just pass it by, think about what you can create with it!
You guys, Sarah has unbelievably good taste and mad DIY skills. I was browsing her blog and this Fabric-wrapped parsons table just jumped out at me! Would you believe that she made that with hollow-core doors??
 and take a look at this tufted headboard with nailhead trim. She had to have bought that, right? Nope! she made the entire thing. Gorgeous!
Don’t forget to check back tomorrow because one of  YOU might be featured here on EC2! We’ve picked our favorite upcycle project from the link party and will share the tutorial for that project! Get excited, peeps! Also, start thinking about which project you want to link up for Round 2’s link party theme: Knock Off! Beginning Tuesday, you can link up any knock-off project you’ve done in the last year for the chance to win more prizes and a feature here on our little ol’ blog!

The comments +

  1. Sarah is seriously amazing. I’m constantly in awe of what she dreams up and then is able to do with those dreams. Another home run here! Just…wow.

  2. Wow, this is just…incredible. I am blown away. What a cool shape she made from those diffusers. How did she dream this up?? Amazing job!

  3. This project was my top choice! Amazing.

  4. That is incredible and brilliant. Wow. How creative! I love it and I’m so impressed!


  5. Amber says:

    That is seriously impressive.

  6. Lori says:

    Wow! What did the existing chandelier look like? I want to make two, so do they have to be the same?

  7. […] Featured Image // East Coast Creative Blog […]

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