Taking Flight Revisited: Birdcage Lamp How To
I featured my birdcage lamp in one of my first blogs and one of my friends paid me a massive compliment by asking me to give instructions for how to recreate it. Embarrassingly I have two confessions to make: (1) I totally stole this idea from the Conran shop and; (2) This is a really super easy craft. The main problem you may face when trying to make this lamp is sourcing the materials. To help with this I have tried to help by providing a few suppliers/ places you might want to check out, these are listed at the end of the post under the heading suppliers.
Before I start – as I mentioned this lamp is inspired by a Conran light fitting (see image below). So – if you like this more than the birdcage (and I wouldn’t blame you, I think it’s awesome!) then you might want to use a lampshade frame (which is a frame around which material is normally stretched to make a lampshade) instead of a birdcage for the main part of your fitting. You will need to thread wire around the frame so that you form a very loose weaved – mesh as you can see in the photo. I have to be honest with you, I don’t think this will be that easy. So you may want to try and source a frame that already has this done for you.
For the birdcage fitting you will need:
– a birdcage light fitting (suppliers at the end)
– enamel copper paint and paintbrush / or sandpaper (optional)
– I’m assuming you have a pendant light fitting installed. A pendant light fitting is a fitting that hangs from the ceiling from a ceiling rose, and it allows you to hang shades above the bulb. If you don’t have one of these installed will need to change your fitting – I would recommend getting an electrician. But then I am totally unhandy. I did however change the ceiling rose as I wanted a slightly industrial fitting, with fabric lighting flex cable.Here are some examples of awesome fittings you may want to use (but of course it’s not at all necessary to use these):
(images above courtesy of Urban Cottage Industries Ltd – see Urban Cottage Industries )
-I also used a filament bulb – see above for a picture. These are lovely, but exorbitantly expensive. It is also recommended that if you use these, you should install a dimmer switch (otherwise they blow sooner and you will have to fork out another £15 to replace them…..) If you don’t feel strongly about this just use a normal bulb – In fact with all the birds and the cage, the lightbulb is actually a little hidden, so it won’t matter.
– small decorative birds – the ones I used were meant to be used for floral arrangements. My birds had wires attached, if yours don’t you will also need some thin wire (and possibly superglue to attach the wire to the birds firmly)
1. Make sure that your pendant fitting is the length that you want it to be. This is of course going to differ depending on how low you want your birdcage to hang. Ours hangs over the middle of our kitchen table. It’s quite low, but because it hangs over the table, no one is going to bash their head into it – so it works well.
2. I wanted my cage to have a slightly distressed look. As I was too lazy to sandpaper off some of the paint (it had been powder coated which made the paint super hard to sand off) I painted bits of my cage with copper paint to give it an aged, rusted effect. All you need to do is very roughly brush paint onto random parts of the birdcage. This is not an exact science, and no one is going to look closely at your painting so don’t fret too much about this step! Note this step is not necessary- if you like the look of your birdcage then give it a skip.
2. Your little birds should be attached to wires. If not cut wire and superglue it to your birds.
3. Wrap the wire around your birdcage to make it look as if your birds are flying off in all directions. I wouldn’t have too many birds in the cage – the bulb gets pretty hot and it may burn your birds.
4. Attach your birdcage to your light fitting. Screw in your bulb. Turn on the light. Done!
Birdcage – ideally you want a cage that has an opening at the top to feed your cable through. Some examples are below.
If you are struggling to find a fitting with a hole in the top – then there a lot of birdcage fittings with hooks which can be used. You just need to attach a hook to your ceiling and feed the cord for the lamp through the bars of the cage (I actually think this could be completely amazing). Also New Zealanders – there are loads of these types available on Trade Me. Rest of the world – there are loads of these on Ebay – just search “birdcage light fitting”.
See here: Trade Me
(image above of hook fitting courtesy of Urban Cottage Industries Ltd – go here – Urban Cottage Industries )
Alternatively – how about suspending a lot of smaller cages from your ceiling with birds flying off in all directions – see here:
You can buy these smaller fittings (here)
Birds (click on link to take you to listings):
Other shops to try for New Zealanders: Spotlight, Warehouse, Farmers, florists, wedding suppliers.
Industrial light fittings and cord:
UK (I can’t for the life of me remember where I bought mine from. As soon as I do I will post a link) – try Urban Cottage Industries
Everyone else: You should be able to find supplies relatively easily online. However, if you are having trouble let me know and I will see what I can source.