DIY Pulley Light

DIY Pulley Light

I finally did it! I finally completed this fun DIY project.

It wasn’t that I started and never finished… (though I’ve done that plenty) This was one of those cases where I had a cool piece, but hadn’t figured out how to use it yet.

DIY Pulley Light

I’ve had this pulley hanging around for a few years. Through the move, it just got tucked up in the attic of the storage shed and forgotten.

To read more about our house remodeling project, click here

Once the house’s remodeling project allowed us to start moving stuff in, I was sifting through boxes in the storage shed, deciding what to take now.

Interesting” I thought as I re-found the pulley laying up there by some treasured boxes of stuff.

I had been planning to create a DIY ‘something’ with the pulley when I bought it at a yard sale a few years ago… just hadn’t thought of what that DIY something would be yet.

There is such a fine line between holding on to found items for future use and hoarding isn’t there?

Several weeks later, (yes… I said weeks, and that’s an understatement! It’s taken me months to get stuff unpacked, and I’m still not done! Yikes!!)

DIY Pulley Light


several weeks after I re-found the vintage pulley, I unpacked a box with 2 glass lined baskets.

Oh yeah, I remember these!” (Funny how I forgot half the stuff I had until I unpacked it.) The 2 baskets used to hang on the ceiling mounted ladder in our last house’s breakfast room.

You can see them in this post about that breakfast room reno.

I wouldn’t be hanging a ladder in this house, I don’t think so at least… lower ceilings than the 100 year old house. (Although we did inherit a fabulous old ladder when we bought the house… but I think it’s too big to hang) so do I keep the baskets or sell them?

You see, as I’ve been unpacking stuff, I’ve been trying to be more disciplined with getting rid of stuff. If I don’t think I want to look at it, and realistically I’m not going to use it now or in the future, then I’ve been trying to either sell it, give it to one of my kids, or donate it.

I wasn’t sure about these baskets. I love the vintage look of them, and the thick glass liners… but I wasn’t coming up with a purpose for them.

Then it dawned on me… they might work with that vintage pulley I found in the storage shed.

And that my friends, is how DIY projects are born!

Here is how I made this DIY vintage pulley light:

Being inspired by the macrame hanging lights at a favorite restaurant on the coast of Maine,

DIY Pulley Light

That’s the look I wanted… Sort of… in a completely different format… Basically, tons of texture from the cords being covered in macrame knots of jute.

DIY Pulley Light

HERE is where I found and ordered these light kits to use on the DIY pulley light. I actually ordered the jute  from the same source. Free shipping!

The last thing needed for this project was the hook to mount the DIY pulley light on. It needed to be a heavy hook that could hold the weight of the pulley and glass lined baskets firmly on the wall of the screen porch .

I just happened to have an extra hook from a project.

diy pulley light

On a previous project, I had miscalculated the number of posts on the outside of the screen porch for hanging lanterns on… Okay, I do know how to count to 4. LOL! The miscalculation happened because I thought one bracket/lantern would be mounted on each of the 4 posts… forgot about the gutter downspout on the last post. (It wasn’t installed when I ordered the brackets, but it was by the time I was going to mount them. Whoops! but perfect! The bracket was just the thing for the vintage pulley light to hang from.

Next, it was time to macrame.

I grew up in the 60’s and 70’s. Back in the golden day of macrame! Though I haven’t done it for years and years, I used to love to macrame! Funny how it just comes back. It’s like your hands just know what to do.

This DIY pulley light has only one macrame knot style… a square knot. This inspiration picture from the coastal Maine restaurant used a half knot. By using a half knot, which is half of the square knot, it creates that twirling shape on the length of cord. Perfect for the ceiling application, but not for my DIY pulley light.

The first knot my macrame instructor taught me was a square knot. (My macrame instructor was a talented artist that just happened to live across the road from us. That’s actually saying a lot as we lived out in a rural area of Wisconsin. We talked her into leading the 4-H club newly created macrame group.)

Here is a picture of half of a square knot before it’s pulled tight.

DIY Pulley Light

To make a square knot, first one side is on top, then the second half of that knot has the other side on top. Trust me, it’s easier to understand in the video!

If you want to create the twirling length like the Maine ceiling, then just keep repeating the first half of the square knot.

Click on this video link to get a better understanding how to macrame a square knot.

Working with jute is a bit messy though. There are all kinds of little fibers that come off the jute. I worked on these cords, completing them in one evening so that I could just get rid of the mess right away.

Once both light’s cords were covered with macrame square knots, I gathered all the ingredients for making the DIY pulley light together on the screen porch.

DIY Pulley Light

Next… assembly

Here’s a tip…

Didn’t even think to check ahead of time, but fortunately it fit… Whew! Be sure to check that the macrame cord and plug from the light kit fits through the pulley before you get too far into the project!!

I tied a loose knot at the bottom of the pulley to hold the macrame cords in place.

diy macrame light

As you can see, when I was doing the macrame, I didn’t care about the knots of the additional cord being added. I like the rustic texture the knots give, and that relieved me of having to guesstimate how much cord I’d be using to pre-cut it all ahead of time.

DIY Pulley Light

Click here to check out the video on how to make a macrame square knot!!

Here you can see more tips and tutorials I’ve written about.

Here is that How to Macrame a Square Knot Video, again too.

Thanks so much for stopping by! Please feel free to follow and share this blog with your friends, as well as on Facebook,PinterestFlipboardBloglovinYouTube and now Instagram! I appreciate you reading along.

This post is linked at: RefreshRestyle, DIY Showoff, Between Naps on the Porch

Reader Interactions


    • Liz says

      I’ve just seen two different antique pulleys come up for sale on Facebook garage sale sites… they’re out there, if you’re interested. 🙂

Share Your Thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *