DIYable: top hat lighting


i have an obsession with top hats lately, you’ll see more evidence of this later. i love their structure but also their playfulness. these top hat pendant lights are rad! and so easy to DIY!

Prep It!:

  • top hat – you can buy them online ($7 to $60) or at flea markets, costume stores, etc. you could also use bowler hats too!
  • lighting cord kits ($6 to $12)
  • screw hooks
  • optional: lamp base with a screw top lamp shade bracket
  • sharp utensil to poke a hole in the hat


  1. use your sharp object to poke a hole in your top hat, large enough for the plug side of the cord kit to feed through – a slit should do nicely.
  2. feed your cord through starting with the plug, it should stop when it reaches the bulb apparatus **make sure the bulb is not too close to the top or side of the hat for fire safety.
  3. hang your cord and pendant light from a screw hook that you screw in the ceiling. you might want to use another screw hook to swag the cord over closer to the wall to run down to the plug.
  4. optional: for the top hat lamp, 1) use a great lamp base that you already have or from the thrift store that has a lampshade bracket with a screw top. 2) poke a hole in your hat large enough for the screw top to fit through, then fasten it with the knob that screws onto the screw top and keeps the hat in place.

if you wanted to go top hat crazy, you could also get this amazing top hat ice bucket from Graham and Green! – they also sell top hat pendant lights for around $200

photos via: Sears, Apartment Therapy, Graham and Green,,,


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The pictures look like you have some type of metallic liner in the hats. Is that to protect the hat from the heat of the lamp, diffuse the light, or just a trick of the picture? I'm very excited to try this in my home, but I want to make sure that it will be safe.


Hello. Love this idea and keen to try to make one myself (probably a standing table / floor lamp rather than a hanging pendant). However I'm curious if and how you line the insides of the hats to reflect heat and light. The images and products available to buy all seem to have a gold lining.


led lighting is the future of lighting technology
I would suggest this one: led lighting
B2B trade marketplace -

Debbie Powdrill

Like you, I too LOVE hats and have a pretty good and unusual collection. I have a bowler hat and this is a fantastic idea which I am going to do. I love inovative and bizzare ways of using things. Congratulations on this fantastic idea. Love it!!!!!!!!


It 'a wonderful idea, they're great!


 will it burn the hat?!


if you use LED lights they won't heat up like regular ones, making this project safer. i can't garentee it COULDN'T"T happen, but its defiantly not very likely


You're absolutely right. LED's are an incredible advance in nearly every field of lighting tech. They use very little power and produce even less heat. I would suggest this one:,G11,30,3895:
It's not the kind of bulb you could really light a room up with, but its ideal for this project.


Unfortunately according to this " " that specific bulb is not meant to be used with a dimmer....


Actually I take that back !! I plan to use this light-bulb and according to the tech I just spoke with not only should this be alright in fairly close proximity to wool etc. BUT! the cord which has the inline on/off switch, will be fine as it is neither a dimmer,relay, control circuit etc. so I completely take back my above statement, Also the LED light should make it possible to forgo the silver aluminum interior that is on those above pictures (although they aren't mentioned by Kate in the text). I will let ya'll know how mine turns out !!


Too cool! 🙂