Strainer Things: Surprisingly good looking colander lights

Shira and Alon made a set of pendant lights from the IKEA GEMAK colander. Pretty unusual in a whimsy way. And since they are for the kitchen, seems appropriate the strainers found their place.

IKEA GEMAK colander lights - DIY
IKEA GEMAK colander lights - DIY
IKEA items used: 
  • GEMAK colanders x 4
  • FEJKA plastic plants (4 different kinds for variation. We didn’t use all the stems/leaves)
Other materials and tools: 
  • Light cord set (we assembled our own with parts we bought in a local lighting shop because we wanted a somewhat fancier ceiling cup thingie and cord. (We got black and white fabric ones.) But you can use the IKEA HEMMA light cord set instead. That will actually make this project much easier and faster because you’ll have a lot less to cut, assemble and wire.
  • A couple of plastic flowers we had at home (you can use the IKEA SMYCKA series for that as well)
  • FIXA tools — screwdriver, drill, pliers etc. and anything that’ll help you slightly widen the hole the electric cable will go through
  • Cutter, scissors etc. (for wiring and so on)
  • Round file (for after you widen the hole)

How to make colander lights: 

So, basically the instructions are — insert a cord set through a colander, and hang it. Very simple! 

The nice thing about the colanders (except for the fact that they already look like pretty lamp shades) is that they already have holes. 

This makes the “inserting the cord set” part very easy. You just have to make sure everything fits.

So here are the steps:

1. Get the colanders. Decide which cord set you wish to attach it to and get that as well. Then, check the pieces of your cord set to see how big you need the hole to be. (It might have a piece that’ll fall through if it’s too big so be careful!) You should also think of the height of your future lamps and buy the cord set (or cable) accordingly. (haha cord joke).

Before – Getting the height right

2. Now, widen the hole with any available tool — a drill, a knife … The colanders are made of steel and enamel, so it’s easy to work with. The enamel might slightly peel off but if you hang your lamp from the ceiling no one will see it. 


3. It’s time to wire up and insert your cord set through the colander. If you have a ready made one, life’s easy — insert it on both ends, attach the wires and you’re done. If you decide to do your own wiring please make sure your use a grounding wire as well. 

Wiring it up

This is a pic of our old lamp and how the wires should connect, but it’s the same with the pendant one. Blue to blue (neutral wire, according to European color standard) red to red (the hot wire) and yellow-green grounding to a metal part in the lamp itself. 


Here’s how the HEMMA cord set connects:


Connect all the parts on the inner side of the colander as well.

IKEA GEMAK colander with bulb

Basically that’s it. There’s, of course, some screwing and unscrewing to do… just the basic lamp / pendant installation. 

Please see this website for super exact instructions on how to hang a ceiling light fixture! 

In this above pic you can also see the next (fun!) stage – decoration! 
But just a sec – let’s talk about bulbs.

IKEA GEMAK colander lights - DIY

4. Choose the bulbs. This is how the colander lights look with regular bulbs. We decided to go with FSL LED orang-y bulbs. This is just a matter of taste, obviously.

IKEA GEMAK colander lights - DIY

SO – now for the fun part. 

5. Decoration! The colander holes are also very useful for decoration, We (easily) ripped out the stems of the FEJKA plants and just stuck them wherever we wanted, no glue needed! (their ends are a bit more bulky then the rest and they fit perfectly into the holes).

We decorated the 4 lamps in the same style, with some variation.

Other useful information:

The hardest part about this hack was doing the electric wiring ourselves. It would have been MUCH easier to just go with a ready made one, but this allowed us to decide on their looks and length, which was critical.

Most importantly, if you don’t feel confident dealing with electricity, call someone who does! Alon had his share of experience with electricity and I probably wouldn’t have been able to do it without him (not ’cause it’s hard, just ’cause it’s a bit scary when you don’t know your way around it) 🙂

How long did it take? And cost?

It took 3 days of non-consecutive work. All in all the project cost (the NIS equivalent of) $123 ($55 for 4 sieves, $32 for the plastic plants, $36 for the parts for the light cords sets)

We really love how this lights up the room even when the lights are off 🙂
You can get creative with the decoration.

Magnets are a cool addition. (We added one for balance (the left side of lamp 3 (see pic) was slightly too high, so the magnet keeps it straight, but now that we thought of that, it opens up a whole new world of possibilities. 🙂

So, in conclusion.

Before (the lamps that were there when we moved in):




After YEAY! Our colander lights are lit.

IKEA GEMAK colander lights - DIY

~ by Shira and Alon

Jules Yap