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Light It Up!

Vintage Swag Lights are often ripped from old ceilings, dumped in boxes, and brought in to the ReStore. While you may not want them in your house, they add charm to my backyard thanks to the magic of LED lights and a little imagination. DIYNot?

First, the find

The Habitat For Humanity ReStore of Mesa County usually has some of these babies in stock. They're vintage swag lights that just didn't light up the previous owner. Boy they light me up! If you don't see any next time you're in the store, you know what to do - follow the Golden Rule of ReStore shopping and Come Back Tomorrow!

Not being an electrician, I can see how such a fixture would be intimidating if you were installing it normally. That's why I ripped out all the old innards and replaced them with a simple set of LED string lights that are operated by a remote. If you can change a battery, you can have these lights.

Make your own

These lights hang in my back yard and I love how unusual they are out there. Here's how you can have your own set.


  • pliers

  • scissors


  • swag light fixtures

  • white or clear zip ties

  • set of LED battery-powered remote control lights (if it's not the holidays, you may have a hard time finding these locally - where you shop is up to you). If you're really into it, you could even get solar-powered ones and never have to change a battery.

Step One:

If you're going to hang them outside like I did, I removed the mounting plate by prying the chains open with the pliers and and then attaching the two chains together so I had a long chain connecting the two lights. This makes install easy - keep reading.

Step Two:

Remove any light fixture innards - wires, sockets, etc. You just want the glass globe, the cap, and the chain.

Step Three:

Follow the instructions on your LED light set to get them set up properly. Then, using zip ties, attach the light boxes (where the batteries go) to the cap on each fixture however you can. I had to run mine through the hole for the wire in the cap and attach it to the loop on top that attaches to the chain. Yours may be different. Trim any excess tail on the zip ties.

After you've attached the box, you can push the string of lights into the glass globe and attach the cap to the globe.

Step Four:

Installation was easy, I just looped the chain a few times around a roof structure of my deck. You may need to install some ceiling hooks if you don't have something similar. The good news is, you can hang the lights at any height that's convenient by simply having a swag in the chain. Love these lights!

Step Five:

Depending on how fancy your remote control is, sit back and enjoy the light show - twinkle, candle, chase, or just soft glow, it's up to you!

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