February: Wood-Veneer Pendant Light
A plain shade goes from humdrum to handsome when wrapped in lightweight wood grain. Veneer sheets, like the rotary-cut ash here, are sold at woodworker supply stores for finishing furniture (about $35 for a 2-by-8-foot piece). You'll also need a socket cord and an inexpensive 12-inch drum shade to fashion the fixture. With a utility knife or very sharp scissors, cut the sheet veneer to fit the shade's height and circumference, adding an extra inch to the latter for overlap. Use a handheld steamer or steam iron to soften the stiff wood before molding it to the cylindrical shade, then hot-glue and clamp in place. Finish it off with a contrasting trim of adhesive-backed veneer edging (we used walnut), assemble the fixture, and wire it up above a table or in a hallway.