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Creating Minnow Trap Light Pendants

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
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  1. 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…..

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

  4. 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!

  5. 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!

  6. 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 🙂

  7. 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…

  8. 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.

  9. 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 🙂

  10. 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!


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