I have one small bathroom in my house. In the 10+ years I've lived here, this is the second time I've renovated it. It was damaged when I bought the house, and then I got a cut-rate hack job which after a few years led to the bathtub actually cracking on the bottom. Unfortunately, this happened while I was in the midst of my extended involuntarily vacation, so I was left with no recourse other than to stand awkwardly while showering, in hopes of not crashing through to the crawlspace.
When I went back to work, one of my main priorities was the bathroom. And the priority of the priority was...octopus lights.
While I was saving up, I was researching like crazy, trying to find someone somewhere who made octopus lights I could use as main lighting for the room, as opposed to some small accent light. Came up with nothing. Even on Etsy! Really, check for yourself! In any case, the answer was — as it so often is — make them.
I refocused my search on finding some kind of statue or plaque that I could wire for lights. Now, if you're looking for statues, you'll find tons. I narrowed it down to three, and ordered all of them.
I was really rooting for the one on the left, which is intended as a candelabra, and seemed like it would be the easiest to wire up. It was also meant to sit on a table, though, so when I put it on the wall, it just...did not work. The middle one was my second choice, because I liked the coloration of it, and the side-set eyes were cool. But I couldn't come up with a good plan for bulb sockets, so it went back, too. Left me with my last choice, the "steampunk" octopus. A little ironic, that, because now, it's my favorite of the three, and they worked so well.
|Shaved, epoxied, and painted socket, with dry-brushed collet nut finish.|
They're still small curls, though, so full-size bulbs wouldn't work. That meant more research on candelabra bulbs to find some that would give enough light, sans heat, and would still look cool.
Let me tell you, I had no idea how many kinds of lightbulbs there are out there. I mean, why would anyone? I've been buying the same CFLs for a decade now, so I hadn't even been paying attention to all these LEDs and stuff. But man, I found some cool ones.
I got some little candelabra sockets at the local Lowe's, which almost fit into the curled tentacles. The plaque itself is some sort of resin, so I decided I could open the space a little with my Dremel, to get the sockets in there. Luckily, I decided to talk to my cousin Rob about this project, and he said the sockets would be easy to shave down, with less potential for disaster. See, this is why you sometimes just need a second brain on a project.
Rob got interested in the whole idea, so he came over and the two of us sat out on the deck, shaving down plastic lamp bases until they fit nice and snug. Then we filled in any gaps with epoxy to keep them stable.
|The eyes are super cool in person.|
After looking all over the place for just the right light bulbs, would you believe I found them at Kroger? Yeah, shopping for cheese, found the perfect lights! Dimmable LEDs with clear globes. They suited the octopus so well, with its big glass domed eyes.
Rob helped me wire all three sockets together to be suitable for the existing wall location, and they were nearly completed. The last thing I hadn't really figured out was how they were going to mount to the wall itself. Because these were just meant to hang, there was a fabric cord moulded into the back to hang on a nail. Obviously, that wasn't going to work. I thought we might have to install some sort of keyhole hanger, but after looking at how my previous lights were mounted, we figured it out. It was going to involve drilling right between the eyes.
|That acorn nut right in the middle there.|
Now came showing the contractor.
I told him this room really depended on these lights. All the colors in the room were based on the lights. This whole project was planned around them! (That's not entirely true — the foundation of the room was actually the big-as-possible Jacuzzi tub, but still.) He was pretty tickled by them, which made me happy. I was concerned there might be a moment of "what kind of hack job lights are these, you can't expect me to put something like this up!" But no, he was all for it, even though it was going to mean moving everything on that wall over a few inches to keep the much wider new lights out of the shower.
At least, he was all for it until 3 weeks into the 2 week project, when he messaged me at work to say, "The lights aren't going to fit." I got up out of a meeting and said, "I'm on my way." No way had we made it this far to quit. There was no Plan B.
He was just reluctant to move the sink and the wiring over further than he thought he was going to have to, because it turned out the new tub was a couple inches wider than the previous one, which meant the whole room already shifted. (And I now have an entry door that's a couple inches narrower than normal. You'd never know.) I talked him in off the ledge, and he did an excellent job moving and centering all the necessary elements.
Everyone who has seen pictures asks the same thing: "Where did you get those??" Which is my cue to say my favorite thing in the world: "I made them myself."