6.22.2012

The chandelier.

John and Sherry at Young House Love are hosting another Pinterest Challenge.  And since the inspiration for this project came largely from Pinterest, I'm linking up.  Here goes:

If you've been around for a while, you know by now that playing around with lighting is one of my hobbies.  (You can check out my earlier attempts here.)
Well, last year, I came across this amazing fixture that one reader made (actually by using my old beaded chandelier tutorial!):
....and I've been thinking about it ever since.  The chandelier that I made originally was a fun project and ended up being a good temporary solution for our guest bedroom, but this photo inspired me to make a serious chandelier for our dining room.  Using experience gained from the original project, and leaning heavily on this amazing tutorial*, here's what I came up with:


And the process:

(Note: There are many different ways you could go about doing this, but I know lots of people like exact instructions, so I'll be as specific as I can.  Don't be afraid to change things up a bit, though!)

What you'll need (with sources):
*3 washer tops with 1/2" recess fitters.  I used a 5", 16", and 6".
*Phenolic medium base socket 4-light.  (Via this ebay seller)
*Beads.  I ordered 3000 wooden beads (5 packages of 600 ea.) from here.  After looking everywhere, and even taking into consideration the ridiculous shipping, this was the best deal I could find.  If anyone knows a better source, feel free to share.  
*Splices.  (Purchased locally at Radio Shack.)  My husband used these to connect the electrical cord to the wiring built into the socket.  If you don't know what you're doing here, please don't try to do this part on your own.  I don't want to start any electrical fires!  You could also solder the wires together if you really know what you're doing.
*Fishing line for stringing beads
*Quick Grip glue - purchased at a craft store

(Note - all items listed below were purchased at a local hardware store.  Check the lighting department for most of these.) 
*4 threaded couplers.
*Washers (These are to keep everything tight.  I just used a few wherever I joined two rods together.)  
* Threaded steel pipes - one 12" and one 3".  (Like this one.  These are sold in various lengths and can easily be cut to size with a hack saw or joined together with couplings to get the lengths you need.)  
*Electrical cord (make sure it's long enough to hang your fixture at the desired height.) 
*Screw collar loop (like this).
*Spray paint - color of your choice

I know it seems like a lot of different pieces, but it really all goes together very easily.  Here's the configuration: 

Everything just screws together.  Add in some washers above and below couplers for extra security.  See my note above about connecting the socket to the cord.  No electrical fires, please!    

Now spray paint the whole thing.  I strung mine up on a ladder so it was free on all sides.  Don't forget to cover anything you don't want painted (i.e. possibly the cord and definitely the sockets!).  The frame should now look something like this: 


*Now's the fun part.  Start stringing those beads.  I did some very unscientific calculations to figure out how many beads I would need per strand to get just the right swag, but I made sure to test it out before I strung all 3000 beads.  (For those of you who are into specifics, 37 for the top, 27 for the bottom.)   
*String some more.
My beading method: A needle, fishing line, and masking tape to hold the beads on.
*String until your fingers hurt. 
*Feel free to watch London Hospital while you work.  
*String some more.  I used 24 of the longer strands for the top, and  76 of the shorter strands for the bottom.  (I wanted the beads to be thicker around the bottom section to hide the lighting element.) 

*Once you have all your strings ready to go, start adding them onto the frame.  
*Take the masking tape off one end of your strand, wrap the fishing line around the bottom ring a few times, and double knot it.  Add a dab of glue over the knot.  
*Repeat on the top ring. 
*Work your way around, keeping the sides even as you add beads to the frame.  
*Watch some more London Hospital.  You're going to be here for a while. 

*You should now have something like this.
*Rejoice.  The tedious part is over.

*Spray paint the veneer, ceiling canopy, loop, chain, and any other hardware that will be visible the same color as the frame.  Let it all dry.

*Using your Quick Grip, glue the veneer around each of the washer tops, making sure to keep it level.  It will go on the outside of the top 2 (the 5" and 16") and around the inside of the bottom one.  Hold the veneer in place until it dries (with clothespins, binder clips, fingers, whatever strikes your fancy).  
*Attach your chain, and hang the fixture.
  
*Pop in some clear incandescent bulbs and marvel at how old-fashioned (and thus retro-cool) they look.  Realize that your kids won't recognize these as light bulbs.  Feel old.  Very old.  

After all supplies came in, I was able to finish the entire project over a weekend (mostly during naps and at night).  So while it may seem tedious, and maybe a little scary, the whole project really was fairly quick and straightforward.  

I know I left something out, so go ahead -- ask away!  (Responses might be a little slow - give me a while to get back to you!)
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* I just have to insert here that Lindsey over at Simply Salvage is amazing.  If you haven't checked out all her lighting projects, go now.  She puts my best attempts to shame :)