Wood veneer are thin pieces of full woodgrain, which are sold in flexible roles, so you can glue them onto core panels for the look and finish of hardwood grain pattersn without the expense of solid wood.
Because veneer is so thin (around 3mm), it's quite flexible and easy to work, which means you can create complete projects from it as well, like this wooden lamp shades for pendant lights.
This project comes from the bright minds at Lowe's Creative Ideas, who show you how to shape the veneer around empty paint cans and use an iron to seal it together. They've stained theirs with translucent colors, but my vote is just to leave the wood grain natural, rubbed with an oil finish and a bit of paste wax. Using CFL bulbs guarantees that you'll keep the heat down.
Get the full how-to from Lowe's: Wood Veneer Pendant Lights
For another take on a DIY wooden pendant, check out this woven project from Bookhou: