DIY Plug-in Chandelier from Thrifted Hardwired Light

Hi Friends! It’s Crystal here again from The Weathered Fox sharing another easy tutorial from our renovation adventures. This time, I’m taking you into our dining room to show you how we fixed our builder grade no light dining room problem without opening up the ceiling or hiring an electrician.

DIY Plug In Chandelier. Change An Old Hardwire Fixture Into A Gorgeous Plug In Fixture In Minutes. Save Money And Light Up Your Dining Room Without Having To Open Up The Ceilin

Our house was apparently built before people liked to turn lights on, because there were only two lights on the first floor when we moved in and both of them were in the kitchen. Maybe they had better eyesight? Or maybe they lived the whole sun up to sun down life. Because there’s no way anyone can function with the amount of lights that are available in this house! In all seriousness, I think this was a time when people relied heavily on lamps as a light source instead of ceiling lights. I digress.

We were able to add recessed lighting during our kitchen renovation, but that required taking down drywall, rerouting electrical wire, and asking for help because I don’t have the first clue about any of that. For the dining room I wanted to hang a chandelier, but didn’t have the time, motivation, or money to consider hiring an electrician to do it. So, I went all swag for this project.

Yea, there was a time when swag referred to lighting and curtains and decor kind of stuff, and not  attitude or clothes or gifts. Not sure when that changed? Somewhere in the Justin Beiber era?

But anyway, this is the story of how I turned an old brass thrifted chandelier into a pretty antiqued farmhouse style plug in (swag *gasp*) chandelier. 

But don’t worry, this ain’t your grandma’s swag.

This DIY chandelier tutorial shows you how to paint and antique a thrift store brass light fixture and convert it from hardwired to a plug-in chandelier, plus how to make the swag fixture chic with a DIY cord cover

Thrifted Chandelier to Plugin Dining Room Light

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To complete this plug in chandelier makeover, you will need these tools and materials:


Painting an Old Brass Chandelier

Step 1: Prep for Paint

I started off by removing the plastic candle tube around the lights. If you are going to spray paint, which is a lot faster than hand painting,  you’ll want to tape off the light socket with painters tape to avoid spraying the sockets.  I cleaned the entire chandelier with a damp cloth, then went over the entire thing with a deglosser to help the paint adhere to the glossy surface.

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Step 2: Paint the Base Coat

Once the chandelier was cleaned and prepped, I painted two coats of a light brown over the entire chandelier. Though, in perfecting this process, I would recommend using white spray paint. It ends up being a lot faster but gives the same result.

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Step 3: Antiquing Technique

I waited two hours for the paint to completely dry, then I began rubbing dark wax over the painted surface.

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Now this is where personal preference comes into play. I wanted the piece to look antiqued, but not too dark. So I ended up mixing a bit of white paint with water to go over the wax with a whitewash. I went back and forth between the wax and whitewash until I got the look I wanted.

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The painting technique turned out perfectly in the end, with a beautifully aged patina in all the crevices, and really pulls out the details of this chandelier. 

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Creating a Cord Cover

Now that we have the chandelier the way we want it, it’s time to start converting it from hardwire to a plugin! I have an outlet on a switch, so this was the easiest way for me to have light in my dining room without opening up the ceiling. The first thing I did was create an cord cover for the long cord that will go along the ceiling and down the wall.

Step 1: Cut fabric into 3-4 inch strips

This doesn’t have to be exact. You’ll just want enough fabric to be able to fold over and glue together.

The Weathered Fox Chandelier Makeover

Step 2: Apply Hot Glue

Flip the fabric finished side down, and fold it in half so that part of the finished side shows. Add hot glue to the edge of one of the finished sides, and press it against the opposite finished side. This creates a nice little fabric tube and hides any cut or frayed edges. 🙂

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Step 3: Insert the Cord

Insert your cord through your new fabric tube and scrunch it up a bit. Continue to create more little fabric tubes until you have the length of the cord covered. I hid the seams of each new tube by tucking one end into the start of the next tube.  The cover over the chain needed to be a little bit wider, so if you have a chain keep that in mind.

The Weathered Fox Chandelier Makeover 2


Converting a Light  from Hardwire to Plugin

Disclaimer: I am not an electrical expert, I did my own research and asked for help from others who were knowledgeable in this area. This tutorial should not take the place of getting expert advice.

So after the lamp wire is completely covered, it’s time to connect our lamp wire to to our chandelier wire. I had help in determining which wires to connect together. Some lights will come with different colored wires to help guide you, but mine were the same color.  You should consult with a knowledgeable person and double check your wires and plugs before connecting anything together.

Step One: Start with fresh cut wires

Cut both sets of wires for a fresh edge, pull the two wires apart about an inch and pull off about 3/4 inches of the insulators around each wire.

The Weathered Fox Chandelier Makeover 7

Step Two: Connect Your Wires

Twist together one wire from the chandelier to one wire from the lamp cord, secure by tightening wire nuts around the connected wires. Remember to connect your neutral wires to each other, and your hot wires together. Again, consult a knowledgable person to determine which wires are which in your light fixture.  I also made sure these connections wouldn’t have any stress on them by wrapping them in electrical tape. I then hid the connection above the chandelier, making sure nothing would cause this connection to be tugged or stressed in any way.

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Step Three: Attach the Plug 

On the other end of the lamp cord, I attached the plug just by placing the wire into the opened plug, following the instructions to place the ribbed wire on the right side, and closing the plug until it snaps. The plug pokes holes through the insulators and connects directly to the wire conductor. Easy squeezy!

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Step Four: Mount Ceiling Hooks and Hang!

Once we positioned our table and found the center, we anchored our hook into the ceiling. We got lucky, our anchor placement landed right above a stud. But if you can’t find a stud in your ceiling, make sure to properly anchor your hook with a toggle anchor.

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I also screwed in two smaller hooks to help guide the cord across the ceiling and down the wall. These ones don’t need to be anchored well, since they will only be carrying the weight of the cord. Last step is to hang the chandelier from the chain, swag the cord across the smaller hooks, and plug in the chandelier!

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I love that the cord fits into my decor. I have no problem decorating around it.


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If you like this inexpensive project, check out my other projects on Remodelaholic:

Wood Wall Rack DIY

The Weathered Fox Farmhouse Wall Rack. Rustic wall organizer for $10-2


And if you like an easy painting makeover, you’ll love this Thrifted Brass Candle Makeover, this Painted Powder Room Vanity and this 3 Day Laundry Room Makeover

More DIY Lighting Ideas:


Mason Jar Hanging Light

mason jar pendant chandelier light from bathroom vanity light strip - The Summery Umbrella featured on @Remodelaholic


Pallet Wood Light Box

pallet wood light box DIY tutorial


Terrarium turned Light Fixture


diy geometric light fixture from a terrarium

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