Build It Yourself,  Home Decor,  Painting Projects

Ruler Drum Shade

If you follow us on {Facebook}, you may recall earlier this week that I posted a teaser photo of a project I was working on using 43 rulers. And for the 2 people who actually care, I’m here to share with you the fate of those foot-long wooden measuring sticks. Behold, the ruler drum shade, aka, the thing that hides a boring, ugly light fixture.

Ruler Drum Shade 1 Ruler Drum Shade 2

Do you know what I can’t stand? Boring, ugly light fixtures. Yup. Especially, this particular one (pictured below) in our dining room. Why we would need to illuminate other areas outside of the dining room with this trio of directional spot lights is beyond me. I want to see my food and not the corner of the floor!


Unfortunately, we can’t change out the fixtures because we are currently renting. However, since they are directional, we can point them down over the dining table and cover them up with a removable shade.

Ruler Drum Shade 4

I actually only used 37 of the 43 rulers, but it was good to have a few extras around in case of mess ups. I also used a 14” embroidery hoop, gray acrylic paint, foam craft brushes, wood glue, binder clips, string and some little white ceiling hooks. Only about half of these items actually appear in my supplies photo. Oops.

Ruler Drum Shade 5

To start out, I mixed a 1 ½ to 2 ratio of water and paint in a cup. I wanted to give the rulers a gray washed look and still be able to see the numbers and marks. Using a foam craft brush, I applied a thin coat over the front and back of each ruler. I also separated and painted both pieces of the embroidery hoop with my water and paint mixture.

Ruler Drum Shade 6

Ruler Drum Shade 7

Once everything was dry, I grabbed some wood glue and attached my rulers around the outside of the embroidery hoops; one hoop on the bottom and the other on the top. The spacing was completely guesstimated and the last ruler I added had to go on the inside of the bottom hoop to avoid the screw on the outside. My binder clips held everything in place while the glue dried.

Ruler Drum Shade 8

Next, I screwed 3 hooks into the ceiling around the light fixture, tied 3 equal pieces of string to the top of the shade, and looped the strings around the hooks, making sure the shade stayed even and level. (This involved a lot of climbing up and down to check things out.)

Ruler Drum Shade 9

Then, I admired my new dining room shade. Here’s an interesting view from below. Nevermind the mismatched bulbs.

Ruler Drum Shade 10

From this angle, it kind of looks like the boogeyman when the lights are on. See the two eyes and wide smile? Eat your veggies, children, or the monster in the ceiling will get you.

Ruler Drum Shade 11

We love not having to look up and see the weird spot lights all of the time, and I’m so glad that I gray washed everything because it gave it a cool vintage look. What do you think?

Ruler Drum Shade 12

Oh, and just in case you are wondering, here is the cost breakdown of the shade itself.

  • 37 Rulers ($.25 each from Walmart): $9.25
  • 14” Embroidery hoop (from garage sale): $0.25
  • Gray acrylic paint (from Walmart): $0.97
  • Foam craft brushes, wood glue, binder clips, string and ceiling hooks (all already owned): Free

Total cost: $10.47 plus tax


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