DIY Pulley Lights

DIY Pulley Lights

Use designer Kenneth Wingard’s instructions to create vintage pulley lights for your office.

5 col

Recycled pulleys from an antique store or junkyard
Non-polarized decorative electrical wire cords (at least 8’ long; 1 for every pendant)
Single outlet plugs (1 for every pendant)
Light bulb socket kits (1 for every pendant)
Vintage light bulbs (1 for every pendant)
Ceiling hooks (1 for every pendant light)
Drill with screw bit
Wall hooks (1 for every pendant)
Scissors or wire cutters
Stud finder


Tip: Consult a qualified electrician before starting any project involving wiring.

Wiring the Cords:

  1. String wire through the interior portion of the pulley (where the rope would go if it were being used as a pulley) so that the pulley hook falls down or up according to your visual preference
  2. Cut lightly around rubber coating of electrical cord using scissors or wire cutters to expose 1 inch of wire on one end. Remove the excess coating and discard
  3. Twist exposed wire into a point. When you expose the wire by cutting into the rubber coating, you’ll see a gathering of wires; twist these together into one point
  4. Open the cover of the light bulb socket kit by untwisting and sliding the cap down (see picture below)

  1. Push the exposed end of wire through the cap of the light bulb socket kit so that it comes up through the opening to wrap around screw (see picture above)
  2. Attach the exposed wire end around one of the screws on the socket (see picture below). It doesn’t matter which screw you attach the wire to, as the wire is non-polarized. Slide socket cap back on bulb to cover wire


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  1. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for the other end of the wire. This end will be attached to the plug
  2. You will see a screw to open on the outside of the plug. Unscrew to open. Wrap the newly exposed end of wire around the screw on the plug (see picture below)

Tip: Wrap wire in the direction of screw so that when you tighten the screw back into the plug, it will naturally secure the wire in.

  1. Attach screws back into plug with screwdriver
  2. Twist the light bulb into the socket kit you installed. Ensure it’s twisted in fully. Test your wiring connection by plugging into an outlet and turning on the light

Hanging the Lights:

  1. Use a stud finder to find a load-bearing stud in the ceiling and screw the ceiling hooks into ceiling using a drill and screw bit
  2. Determine the outlet where you will plug in the light. Screw in a wall hook 5 feet above the outlet. This will allow you to tuck the wire in and hold it against the wall and out of walking space
  3. Hang pulley lights on hooks from cords at your desired height. As you can see from the final picture, our pulleys were hung at varying lengths. To do this, feed more wire through the pulley away from the wall to lower the bulb down or pull wire through the pulley toward the wall to raise bulb up. If the light is located where people will be standing, you want the bulb to hang about 1 foot above eye level standing. If the light is where people will sit, you’ll want to lower it down to just slightly above eye level when seated

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