Below are just a few suggestions for empty cans and other assorted metal objects that almost everyone has on hand!
You can use cheese graters, buckets, mason jars, coffee cans, paint cans or even soup and/or veggie cans to create these one of a kind lights! All it takes is a simple light kit that can be bought from any craft store (and even from some big box hardware stores), a can, some imagination and you have a light fixture that cost you next to nothing.
If you're really creative, punch a design in the cans so that the light will form interesting shapes on the ceiling and walls at night. Great thing about using metal cans is they can be installed inside or out.
What about those colanders and graters I mentioned? What can you create with them? What about a planter?
If you don't have extra colanders and/or graters laying around, head down to the nearest thrift store and pick some up. Doesn't matter what they look like, spray paint can make anything look great.
Maybe you might even have a bucket or two laying around.....guess what? Lights can be made from them too!
Do you ever replace the drip pans beneath the burners of your stove from time to time? If you do, wash them, spray paint them and use them as a cover for your string of lights.
None of these projects requires a lot of skill or money. Of course, if you want to hardwire the light into your ceiling or wall, that will require either an electrician or a very high DIY skill set. But if you're a renter, that would probably not be a good idea.
The easiest thing to do is either use an existing light to cover or buy a light kit with a long cord, a hook for your ceiling and an extension cord that is long enough to allow you to reach an outlet.
Put your light together, run the cord through the hook you've installed in the ceiling, then run the extension cord along the ceiling and down the wall to the nearest outlet. Staple the cord every 6 inches or so to keep it taut. (Be careful not to staple directly into the cord) You don't want the cord to stand out like a sore thumb so either choose a cord that is the same color as your ceiling and walls or paint it with the same paint you used on your ceiling and walls. Since the cord won't be bothered, the paint won't rub off or fall off so you can use any leftover paint that you have on hand. The closer you hang the fixture to the outlet, the less cord you'll have to camouflage.
If you are going to punch out a design, it's best to draw the design directly onto the can using a felt marker or pencil, then using a phillips head screw driver and a hammer, punch the holes. If you're afraid of making a mistake that can't be erased, draw your design onto paper, wrap it around the can securing it with tape, and then punch the holes through the paper. Once you've finished, simply remove the tape and paper, string the light kit and hang your light.
This idea can also easily be moved outdoors. Take a string of outdoor "fairy" lights and after punching holes in the cans, string the lights through the cans and hang on your patio or deck.
No outdoor outlet by your patio or deck? No problem. Put candles in the cans and hang them.
I love repurposing items that normally find their way to the landfills. Nothing makes my heart sing like looking at a pretty project that cost me next to nothing.
Enjoy your space!