January 17, 2023

Wall Sconces From Duct Parts?


Who would have thought that bits of ductwork and trash wood from Lowes would become light fixtures? Well, that's exactly what happened. Find out how to create lighting for your home with this surprisingly simple project.

The other day I was in Habitat for Humanity’s Restore looking for something else when I came across two of these lovelies. Technically-speaking, they were reducers for ductwork. But artistically-speaking, I thought they were really cool and would be great lampshades.


I was toying with making pendant lights out of them but my next find helped to solidify the idea of wall sconces. I was in Lowes while someone was loading the vertical wood stacks with new stock. What caught my attention was all the debris that came along with this process: dozens of sticks like lathe and big, chunky pieces with grooves (dados) in them. The best part? They were all free because they were being thrown away. I knew they had potential. So, I took a ridiculous amount home and starting devising a plan.

The build was actually simple and quick. I still had to purchase some materials: the light kitEdison bulbmetal brackets, and cleat system for hanging. But considering I was getting two giant light fixtures out of the deal, the materials were still a bargain. 

This really was a doable project and  I encourage you to give it a try. Watch this quick video to see how I did it.


The Steps


  • Cut a piece of ½ plywood to desired length and width.
  • Nail lathe pieces onto plywood, lining up one side evenly with the edge.
  • Cut off excess on table saw or with a circular saw.
  • Cut the frame from the chunky pieces using miter saw.
  • Glue and nail the frame to the lathe and plywood.
  • Make notches in the center of the top and bottom pieces of the frame to accommodate the lamp cord.
  • Cut a smaller piece, a little longer than the radius of the lampshade. This will be the bracket to hold the lampshade.
  • For the top of the lampshade, cut a circle to the diameter of the shade you are using.
  • Pound the circle into place. If it fits loosely, secure it with screws.
  • Drill a hole in the center of the circle to fit the light kit.
  • Stain all the wood.
  • Using a 90-degree metal angle bracket, attach the wooden bracket to the top of the frame.
  • Insert the lightbulb housing into the hole in the top of the lampshade. Attach one of the collars it comes with on the inside to keep everything tight and in place.
  • Run the lamp cord through the dado in the wooden bracket and through the notches on the top and bottom of the back. Tie a knot at some point and using a  ½” staple, attach the cord to the back of the sconce above the knot. This will keep it from slipping. Do not let the staple go into the cord.
  • Use a cleat system to attach it to the wall.
  • Insert an Edison bulb and you are done!


The finished sconces would be great flanking a couch or credenza. But with the addition of a small wooden shelf, they would make wonderful dual-purpose nightstands/lamps in the bedroom. I hope this project gets your juices flowing. If you make your own lighting, please send me a photo. I would love to share your success!