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How to Replace a Light Fixture (Sponsored by Leatherman Canada)

This tutorial for how to replace a light fixture is sponsored by Leatherman Canada, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Leatherman Signal ReviewAqua Leatherman Signal Multi-Tool

This is the perfect time to tackle some small home improvement projects around the house – the kind of tasks you already have the supplies for, but have been avoiding for no good reason.  I can’t be the only one, right?  Surely other people move some jobs from list to list each month (or year, haha).  I have a lot of these kinds of jobs, so I’ve been trying to cross them off the list, once and for all.  I don’t know why it took my so long to finally replace the bunkie exterior light, but this weekend Hubby and I finally did it – with the help of Leatherman Canada and my new Signal multi-tool (in aqua!).  Keep reading if you’ve ever wanted to learn how to replace a light fixture, or if you just want to see the modern new bunkie light and get the scoop on my new aqua multi-tool.

Learn how to replace a light fixture

How to Replace a Light Fixture:

Here is the old bunkie light, which was perfectly functional but I didn’t love the brass.  The bunkie has a rustic exterior but, little by little, I’ve been adding some mid-century modern touches, like my black tulip table, DIY welded bench, and vintage Eames chairs.  I hope to replace the roof and soffit this year with updated black, but the bunkie isn’t a priority, budget-wise, so we’ve been tackling little projects here and there.  Luckily someone actually gave me a new modern black exterior light because they bought it but couldn’t use it, so I was happy to update the brass light.

How to Replace a Lightbulb How to Replace a Light Fixture

You might think you need a huge toolbox to accomplish projects like this around the house, but we were able to change a light using my new Signal multi-tool. 

How to Replace a Light Fixture

First, make sure the power is OFF.  Not just the switch; turn off the breaker in your electrical panel.  It should be labeled but if it isn’t, or just to be sure, turn on the light and then switch the breaker off and see if the light turns off.  Then turn the switch off just in case – you can never be too careful when doing wiring.

How to Replace a Light Fixture

First the old light has to be removed.  Use pliers to loosen the two nuts that hold the fixture to the wall – for an outdoor light like this, they might be rusted.

How to Replace a Light Fixture

Then loosen the finger bolts holding the glass globe on and remove the globe (this will vary from fixture design to fixture design).  While this was not completely necessary, this does make sure that if the fixture is dropped, there wouldn’t be broken glass everywhere.

How to Replace a Light Fixture

Flip open the bit driver and, using the Philips bit, remove the mounting plate from the electrical box.  There are typically two screws holding it on.

How to Replace a Light Fixture

Once the mounting plate is out of the way, undo the Marette wire connectors from the white and black wires and remove the light fixture.  This is what was left before installing the new light:

How to Replace a Light Fixture

The new fixture has a square base, not round like the old one.  Whoever built this structure inset the light fixture in the siding.  It is not simply surface mounted like most fixtures are.  So this is an extra step you likely won’t encounter, but we had to retrofit the inset hole to make room for the square fixture base.

How to Replace a Light Fixture

We used the knife to mark off where the whole had to be enlarged and squared off.

How to Replace a Light FixtureWays to Use a Multi Tool Around the House

For really rough surfaces like this, scoring or scratching the surface shows up better than a pencil line.  If you need to do this as well, us an oscillating tool to cut out the shape for the new light fixture in the siding board.

How to Replace a Light Fixture

The new fixture has its own mounting plate.  Run the wires from the light through the middle of the mounting plate and attach them to the existing wires with Marette connectors.  The new light also has a green ground wire.  This is attached directly to the back of the junction box with one of the screws that are already there. 

How to Replace a Light Fixture

Once the wires were connected, screw the mounting plate to the junction box and then attached the fixture to the mounting plate.  These are simply screwed in place with the included screws.  Then turn on the power and admire your new light.

Can You Use a Multi Tool for Home Repairs - YES!

Voila!  The new exterior light for the bunkie is installed!  I am so excited to check that off the spring to-do list and, because it was so easy, I’m motivated to tackle more – like install an exterior motion light that has been in a box since we got the new siding!

Modern Black Exterior LightHow to Replace a Light FixtureHow to Replace a Light Fixture

I think the light is designed to be installed vertically but we couldn’t fit it that way, so we improvised and mounted it sideways.  If I had bought a light fixture, I would have measured this space before committing, but this freebie was as-is – and I like the way it looks mounted either way. 

How to Replace a Light FixtureHow to Replace a Light FixtureHow to Replace a Light FixtureHow to Replace a Light Fixture

My Leatherman Signal Review:

The Leatherman Signal was the perfect tool for this job because it was small and, like any good multi-tool, quickly flipped from tool to tool, making quick work of this job.  Of course I love the aqua, but I also appreciate the functionality.  This compact multi-tool boasts a really good size pair of pliers and needle nose pliers, bit driver, 1/4″ hex bit drive, wire cutters and wire strippers, hammer, awl, 1/4″ box wrench and 3/16″ box wrench, knife (plus sharpener), and, for outdoor adventures, a fire starter, can opener, bottle opener, and emergency whistle.  I can’t wait to take this multi-tool boating and hiking, but it’s also so convenient to have around the house.  I don’t always want to trudge to the garage for a tool (or series of tools), so it’s handy to keep this in a drawer.

Using a Leatherman Multi Tool Around the HouseMulti-Tool for OutdoorsMulti Tool with SawMulti Tool with DriverMulti-Tool with Pliers

Leatherman Canada makes a lot of multi-tools with a lot of attachments.  I really like the Signal because I think it has the right combination of tools for me.  Plus each tool is really easy to access and put away.  I have only been using it for a little while but I really like the heft of it.  It feels very durable.  And did I mention it’s aqua? 

Turquoise Multi Tool

I’m excited to work on house projects now the snow is melting more and more each day!  Leatherman Canada also sent me the Raptor shears, which will be so handy in my role as a volunteer first responder and fire fighter in my community – but they’re also perfect for vehicle safety, so stay tuned for some more ideas.          

How to Replace a Light Fixture 


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