Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Chandelier Makeover Part One Tutorial: REWIREING A CEILING LIGHT INTO A SWAG

Recently I transformed a regular ceiling mounted chandelier into a hanging light (swag light). I had gathered a few parts here and there to put together a customized light for  my kitchen. I will show you how I rewired the light fixture in a tutorial today.


  • Camera ... take lots of pictures when you take something apart!
  • Pen and Paper.... for notes to remember
  • Swag light kit.... can be bought at Lowes or Home Depot for $15 -$18 (pictured at right)

  • An all purpose tool AKA "Leatherman" ....... my go to tool
  •  Wire Nuts
  • A light to rewire into a swag

Glossary of Terms
 I hate getting confused with tutorials when I don't know what something is or means. Hopefully this will help.
  • Lamp or Light Cord: The cord that feeds into the light. It is made up of two wires that can be separated to hook up with other wires.
  • Primary Cord: The main cord feeding into the light that hooks up to the ceiling wires.
  • Swag Cord: The main cord feeding into the light that can be plugged into the wall outlet.
  • Wire Nuts: Cone shaped fittings that twist around a clump of twisted wires securing a sure and safe connection.
  • Bulb Cord or Wires: Made up of the same material as your light cord and swag cord. This cord is hooked up to the bulb. My light has 5 bulbs so I have 5 cords that can split in two. So all together I have 10 wires to deal with.
Okay now before I get started telling how I rewired my light know that I am not a professional electrician. So if your hair gets in a frizz I am not liable M'kay.

(never mind my spray painted hands)
 I disassembled my light and got into the guts. This is the fun part where a camera comes in handy. Do not take your light apart with out taking pictures along the way. You may think you can remember how it goes but later you will get distracted by bickering kids or the smell of dinner burning and have to leave it. When you get back to it minutes or days later you will have wished you would have taken pictures.

When I opened up the guts of the light you can see two clumps of wires all joined together with yellow wire nuts. I undid those to tAKE out the primary light cord.

You can see how this primary cord attaches to the individual wires feeding to the bulbs. I am holding the primary cord that I needed to take out in my hands above here and....

 ....here. When you have disconnected the primary wire pull it out of the tubing.

 Next take your new swag wire and  twist the ends together tight so you can feed it back through the tubing to meet up with the other wires.

 I fed the swag wire though the tube here above.

Here you see the swag wire I am holding.

 You can see all the wires exposed now: the swag wire, one side of the 5 bulb wires bunched, and the other side of the 5 bulb wires bunched.

 I put a wire nut back on so that I wouldn't get my wires mixed up while I was connecting the swag wire to the bulb wires. Note that only one side of each bulb wire will connect with one side of the swag wire.

 I untwisted the bulb wire clump because it was messy. See above.

 I individually twisted each bulb wire to have a good clean and safe connection. See above.

 I then gathered them together lining them up at an even length and added one side of the swag cord to it. See above.

 All together I twisted them tightly leaving a  good clean clump of wires. Note I always twisted them to the right.

 Then I took my red wire nut (bigger than the yellow) and twisted it on around the wire clump. Again I twisted it to the right.

 Now I had the other side left to do of the remaining 5 bulbs wires and the remaining swag wire.

 You can see that my swag wire is of a different colored wire. I was very hesitant about connecting the different colors because I thought the swag wire might me aluminum. Aluminum and copper are not a good conductive mix. Aluminum expands and shifts when presented with a current making the connection vulnerable. I went to my good "smart" neighbor for advice and he said that it was not aluminum just a different kind of copper. So copper on copper was good.

Again I made a clean twist for all 5 bulb wires and the swag wire.

 Then I lined them all up to be twisted together.

Remember to twist in the same direction for a good safe a clean connection.

Here you can see the inside of the wire nut how it is cone shaped with a thread in it to contain the wires well.

Again twist in the same direction with the wire nut as you did the wires.

Here you get can see how the swag cord is split and connected to the bulb wires all nice and neat. Isn't it beautiful! .....nerd talk...

When you are ready to put your light back together tuck the guts back in their home.

But before you get to carried away putting things back together put in your bulbs and plug in your swag light to see if she will shine. This was a happy moment for me!

Now the rest is just cosmetics! Stay tuned for  Part 2 of the Chandelier Makeover.
Swag lights are pretty simple to do. I did a lot of studying first before I started to ease my fear of electricity...... still I am no professional.



Sharing with:

Ivy and Elephants
Savvy Southern Style
A Stroll Thru Life


  1. Oh my word, this is gorgeous. I love it and fabulous detailed tutorial. What a lovely chandy. I would love for you to link up to my ongoing party - Inspire Me --http://www.astrollthrulife.net/2013/08/179th-inspire-me-tuesday.html Hope to see you there. Hugs, Marty

    1. Thanks Marty! I would love to be part of your link party!