How to Make Your Own Recessed Can Light

What You'll Need
Stud finder
Recessed light fixture housing
Drywall saw
Cable clamp
Drywall circle cutter
Twist-on wire connectors
Adjustable wire stripper
Needle-nose pliers

If you are seeking good lighting and an uncluttered look for a room in your house, installing a recessed can light is always a good option. Unlike track lights, recessed can lights are inconspicuous until you turn them on, giving any space in your house a more polished and professional appearance.

Step 1: Assess the Lighting Needs of Your Room

If the recessed lights being installed will be the only source of built-in light in the room you are renovating, a good rule of thumb is to allow one fixture for every 25 square feet of floor space. A good practice for providing good ambient lighting is to use floodlight reflector bulbs. Spotlight reflector bulbs are a good choice for precise accent lighting.

Step 2: Cut an Opening and Wire the Light

As always, when working with and around electricity, the first step that must be taken is to turn off the power. After turning off your electricity, use your electronic stud finder to locate ceiling joists. If you do not have an electronic stud finder on hand, simply knock on the ceiling with your knuckles to locate joists.

Once the location of your ceiling joists has been determined, trace the outline of the fixture onto the ceiling. After positioning a tarp beneath your project space, use a drywall saw to cut an opening for the recessed light between the joists. A jigsaw with a blade designed for cutting plaster will make the job easier. When cutting, be careful not to cut through existing cables hidden in your garage ceiling. Another tool that is handy, though not essential, is a drywall circle cutter. This will provide precise circular cuts and easy to use.

Insert the electrical cable into the fixture's junction box and fasten it with a cable clamp. As needed, strip each wire, then splice them to the fixture wires with twist-on wire connectors. Connect the fixture's black wire to the black house wire, then white to white and ground to ground (green or bare wire). Finally, stuff the wires into the box and fasten its cover. If you are unfamiliar with proper electrical procedures, or hesitant about completing this part of the job yourself, consider hiring an electrician who will be more comfortable working with electrical connections.

Step 3: Install the Fixture Housing

After connecting the electrical wiring of the unit, rotate the light’s housing into place in the ceiling until the mounting tabs lock into the garage ceiling and the fixture is secure. The housing and junction box of recessed lights are designed to be lightweight, so there should be no need to secure the junction box directly to a joist.

Step 4: Install Inner Baffle and Trim

Once the housing clips are attached to the garage ceiling, attach the inner baffle and any other trim to the fixture housing, following the manufacturer's instructions. Most typical baffles will attach with simple springs or a similar device. Finally, Install the bulb, turn on power to the project area and enjoy your new light.