Inexpensive Industrial Lighting and Artwork Display

Inexpensive Industrial Lighting and Artwork Display

Sarah Rae Smith
Oct 23, 2008

Painting by muralist and illustrator Scribe.

Hanging artwork can be expensive. Frames, glass, matting.... the whole thing can turn into a great investment. But what happens when you have a small space and need a way to rotate artwork in and out frequently to display all of the wonderful pieces you just keep acquiring? Click through the jump to see our quick and inexpensive solution!


Recently we had the opportunity to take a raw industrial space and set it up for an art opening. We needed to hang the work to be shown and light it properly.
The problem with the space was that the lighting was slim to non-existent (and that's being positive). There were no previous installments in the space and the budget for the project was as small as we could possibly make it. Here's how we did it on a working man's salary...

This is the set up that we came up with. Nothing original by far, but easier than you think to assemble.

Materials Used:

  • 10' section of 1" pipe
  • 2 1" Flanges
  • 3 Clip on Industrial Lights
  • 3 Lightbulbs
  • 1 Extension Cord (w/ 3 plugs)
  • 2 Elbow Brackets

    Tools Needed:

  • Hammer Drill
  • Masonry Screws
  • Masonry Drill Bit
  • Ear Plugs (trust us!)

    Construction Note: When installing our set up we were attaching our hanging system to a brick wall. If you would like to repeat this process in say drywall, we highly suggest making sure you are screwing things into studs or reinforcement of some type. Having been the ones who have tried to hang things without proper support, trust us when we say this won't end well.

    This photo was taken before we hid the extension cord, which was easily wrapped along the bar and then down the corner of the wall.

    Let's Get Started: We first started by screwing the elbows onto the length of pipe. We then screwed the flanges onto the elbows and made sure that each end can rest flush against the wall. Using the hammer drill we screwed the flanges to the wall. We screwed the lightbulbs into the fixtures and clamped them onto the bar. Each one ran into an extension cord which plugged into the wall.

    We hung our art on the wall itself using masonry nails, although we try them being hung from the bar. We attached eye hooks to the backside of the canvas and ran framing wire through and over the bar. It was easy and looked great, but the artists decided to hang them straight on the wall.

    This painting was done by Toy Designer Jeremy Madl.

    The installation costs less than $40 and it was the highlight of the night. We chose to use directional spots although a greener option would have worked just fine. Having a bar that we can rotate the artwork on works great for a gallery space, but would be fantastic in a home situation as well.

    This piece is by Kansas City artist and illustrator Nathan Fox.
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