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Creating Minnow Trap Light Pendants

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On our last trip to the beach, I stopped in a hole-in-the-wall thrift shop. The store was musty, dirty and reeked of old cigarette butts. I’m still not sure why I was drawn into this store. But low and behold, this is what I found!

The owner told me it was a minnow trap. Duh, of course it is! Actually, I’m not a fisherperson, so I never would have guessed that.

What I did see was two pendant lamps for my screened porch. I have been trying to decorate it for a year, but I have been unable to find some inexpensive porch furniture. Regardless, I am aiming for a breezy ocean theme, so these would fit in perfectly!

I separated the trap into two pieces. Then cleaned them with a damp rag.

To create the light kit frame, I used these tools:

I bent a small hook in the clothes hanger with the needle-nosed pliers. Then fed the end of the coat hanger through one top edge of the minnow trap.

Using my pliers, I pinched the hook shut.

If you pretend that the first hook was attached at 12 o’ clock, then you want to attach the second hook at 3 o’clock.

 Using my pliers again, I bent both wires near the center into a 90 degree “L” shape.

Next, I wove the other L hook (over and then under) the first hanger and bent the wires until they overlapped at 6 o’ clock and the second one at 9 o’ clock. I played with the wires until I was able to create a small hole in the center.

I ended up with this on both traps (now looking more like lamp shades):

I sprayed my two lamp shades with an automotive primer (I read somewhere that it has better adhesion to metal) and followed up with 2 – 3 coats of Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint.

For the light sockets, I purchased 2 candelabra base kits from Lowe’s.

I simply inserted the socket and light bulb underneath the coat hangers. Then bent the coat hangers while making sure to get the light kit centered in the shade.

When I got everything centered, I fed the unattached ends of the coat hangers through the shade and hooked it around securing it to the wire shade.

Then all I had to do was screw in these cool iron shelf brackets into the wall on my porch and feed the wires of my lamps through and use a twisty tie to secure it.

Now we have some unique mood lighting on our porch!


 Do you like? Would you have known that they were minnow traps?

Too bad the weather is turning cool again. Maybe I can find some deals on porch furniture now!

Copy Me Challenge

51 replies
  1. The Mustard Seed
    The Mustard Seed says:

    ummm… i NEED those on my porch. they turned out so good. gonna try to see if i can make some. thanks for sharing the tutorial!


  2. Caitlin Campbell
    Caitlin Campbell says:

    Yes! I love the texture it creates on the walls. Man, I never would have seen those minnow traps and thought anything of them 🙂 You have a great eye for re-purposing.

  3. jerriann
    jerriann says:

    Ah, that is genus. How did you know to bend the wires at a 90 degree angle? I don't think I would have thought of that. I have a girlfriend who needs to see this.

    These are so cute and soooo creative.

  4. Amanda@The Hand Me Down House
    [email protected] Hand Me Down House says:

    I LOVE this, Brittany! What an awesome light fixture — I can't get enough light fixture projects! 🙂 I'm with you on the porch furniture — hopefully you find a good deal now that it's fall! 🙂

  5. Christa @ Stories of a House
    Christa @ Stories of a House says:

    Holy smokes! That is a really neat project…I wish I were that handy with wiring. You are a jack of all trades!

  6. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    I pretended to attach the first hook at 12 o'clock, and then waited until 3 o'clock. Nothing happened so I read a magazine until it was time to overlap some wires at 6 o'clock and then another wire at 9 o'clock. I wasn't sure what I was supposed to do in between time, so I fixed myself a nice cup of tea and looked out the window. I feel so relaxed, I can't wait for your next project.
    Many thanks,
    Amelia Bedelia
    PS. would your boys like the minnows I caught?

  7. Midwest Cottage
    Midwest Cottage says:

    I LOVE IT!! What a great idea. I feel you about the smoking dirty thrift store. I too sometimes say to myself "why am I here" but you can find some good things! Thanks for sharing I love it!

  8. Anonymous
    Anonymous says:

    Of course I knew they were traps…. NOT lol

    I love them they look great…and your step by step instructions are fantastic…

    Thanks for sharing,,,happy hunting for furniture 🙂

    All the best,
    Kathy 🙂

  9. Anita @ GoingALittleCoastal
    Anita @ GoingALittleCoastal says:

    I love these. They would fit right in around here. Hubby being a big fisherman would love them too. I would need to find an outdoor light kit since my pool area is not covered. I wonder how hard that would be to find.

  10. Ashley
    Ashley says:

    Fantastic idea! I LOVE it. I wouldve definitely not known these were minnow traps…so creative. I may be on the hunt for some of these…

  11. designsimplyworks
    designsimplyworks says:

    Those lamps are great and I especially love the pattern that gets displayed on the walls.
    Minnow traps, that's a first for me 🙂

  12. Krista Benskin
    Krista Benskin says:

    I don't think that I would have seen new lamps for the porch if I had seen the minnow traps. 🙂 It looks amazing and like many others, I like the pattern it leaves on the walls. Truly a great example of finding creative genius in the most common of items. Thanks for the inspiration!

  13. Yanet @ 3 Sun Kissed Boys
    Yanet @ 3 Sun Kissed Boys says:

    These are soooo cool! You know ANthropologie would sell these for like 1,001 dollars or something crazy like that. I would love to find me some minnow traps! I need a light for the laundry room!

  14. michelle
    michelle says:

    That is so great! I love it!! I have never seen those types of minnow traps but will now have to keep my eyes open!

  15. Rambling Renovators
    Rambling Renovators says:

    Great project! They've got that whole industrial look going on. I like the scale of them too, not too big, not too small.

  16. Christine
    Christine says:

    NO WAY! Those are so cool. You have amazing vision for decorating. I'm sure that I have a light kit hanging around somewhere that I never used. I need to find that now…..

  17. Jan @ bobbypins boardwalk
    Jan @ bobbypins boardwalk says:

    I love how you say what you "saw" regardless of what the shop owner said it was. Creativity does that to a person, doesn't it? You see things that others would think was crazy. He would probably have wondered why you just don't go out and buy a light if you want a light. Haha. Actually my husband is sometimes like that. "Jan, if you want a light, then buy a light." I also love how you used half a ladder as a shelf. You've really put together a great look.

  18. TheVirginiaHouse
    TheVirginiaHouse says:

    Those look so cute! I can't believe you thought of that! So smart and creative. Thanks for linking up to We Can Do It Cheaper!

  19. Rita @ TesoroFino.com
    Rita @ TesoroFino.com says:

    You certainly are a pretty handy girl! I've added you to my crafty bloggers list so that I can visit often to be inspired often!

  20. Laurie at Turner Farm
    Laurie at Turner Farm says:

    OH MY! How clever you are. I have a couple of those minnow traps, from my dad's barn. Love this idea! They look wonderful.

  21. Jan @ bobbypins boardwalk
    Jan @ bobbypins boardwalk says:


    You know how much I loved this project! I have featured it on my blog as a "Boardwalk Bookmark", with a direct link back to this post on your blog. You may enjoy taking a look at it and, of course, feel free to take a button. Again — I want to share with you my appreciation for your talent and creativity!


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