What do you think of when you hear the word ‘drum’? I’d assume that most people think of their kids loudly playing a drum kit in the garage, high school football halftime shows, or their favorite rock and roll band.
But, most people aren’t us, are they? We DIYers and home decor obsessed people probably have a drum shade spring to mind instead. Or, at least I do.
I’ve been rolling around the idea in my head for the past few months on combining the best of both versions of drums. I’m glad that I let my mind wander down that path – it’s a lot of fun when I can dream up something pretty farfetched that ends up becoming reality.
Creating this fixture was actually a pretty simple process once I figured out what to do. I put together a tutorial so that you could do it, too.
DIY Drum Pendant Light
- Used Tom drum
- Short piece of scrap wood
- 4 finishing nails
- Pendant light kit (I HIGHLY recommend the cloth cord kits from Shanell’s)
- Scissors or X-Acto knife, if needed
1. I bought a used Tom drum off of Ebay for under $30 shipped. I’m sure I could have found a better deal at a thrift store or pawn shop around town, but I knew what I wanted and was willing to pay a little extra so that I didn’t have to drag the kids all over town. This Tom is 12 inches tall and 10 inches wide. Any size will likely do – you’ll just want to make sure it will fit in your space.
2. I removed the top and bottom of the drum by unscrewing the screws that hold it together. I was able to unscrew it with my fingers, but you may need a really small socket or “drum key.” Please note, I know not one single thing about drums, and I’m sure the top, bottom and little screws have a name. I’m going to just call them my own terms so that other non-musician DIYers, such as myself, can more easily understand the instructions. The top and bottom will separate from the chrome ring.
3. I cut a piece of scrap wood so that it would fit tightly inside the drum without distorting its shape. I didn’t curve the edges; I just cut it straight across. On either side, I hammered in 2 finishing nails to hold it in place (drill small holes first to make it easier). In the below photo, I hadn’t hammered them in all the way so that you could see them more easily in the photo. Obviously, hammer them all the way in. I colored the nail heads black with a Sharpie marker since my drum is black, but they are pretty well hidden by the chrome rings once you put the drum back together, so you might not have to worry about that.
4. Once the strip of wood was in place, I needed to create a slot for my light fixture to thread through. I drilled three holes that were roughly the diameter of the the piece I needed to thread.
I used my jigsaw to connect all three holes into one long slot. The reason you need to do this is to be able to balance the drum. There is a clamp on the side of a Tom that attaches it to a drum kit, and it creates more weight on one side of the drum. The drum doesn’t hang straight from the center, so a slot gives you the ability to slide the fixture around to figure out its balance point.
5. Thread your fixture through the slot. You can pick up a light kit at a home improvement store, which you will hang by a wire and chain. OR, you can do what I did and use one of the Pendant Light Kits from Shandell’s. Instead of having the ugly chain, these kits are made from cloth cord. They come in several colors – red, gold, brown and putty – and in either nickel or brass finishes. These kits are $29 each and I couldn’t speak more highly of them. They definitely give a much more finished and vintage look to a fixture.
I have a 60-watt blub in the fixture, but that could vary by project. You will need to test it on your own drum, but mine does not get warm to the touch at all, even when left on for many hours.
6. Replace only the chrome rim on the top of your drum (where the light fixture is). You may find that you need to cut (with scissors or an X-Acto knife) the little silver ring off of the what was then the bottom head (they part you don’t play) and put that under the chrome rim. You’ll see what I mean when you start to put it back together – you want the top to be open, but you may need that silver ring as a spacer in between the drum and the rim.
Flip your drum over and attach the head (the part you actually drum) and rim to what is now the bottom of the drum. You can just screw the screws back in with your fingers.
7. Hardwire your new fixture to the ceiling. You’ll want to buy a light canopy to hide the wires. I got mine at Home Depot and spray painted it chrome.
I hung my new drum pendant light in a small area of our entry way. I could not possibly be more in love with its quirkiness and originality. I bet you will be the only one in your neighborhood with this light fixture!
My favorite part about it is the amazing light it throws off at night. There is an almost ethereal glow that comes through the drum head, and the light that shines on the ceiling really highlights the fixture.
And yes, I totally bribed my dog boys with treats to sit right there. I sure love those crazy mutts, even if their constant barking makes my head feel like I’m actually living in a drum!
So, what do you think? Does the term drum shade have a whole new meaning for you now?