Sunday, June 26

Craft Hack: DIY Rustic Chandelier

I know I'm prone to saying this, but I'm saying it again today: This is probably the coolest project I've ever done. It was really fun and surprisingly simple, and the end result is exactly as I'd hoped it would be.

I give you the Rustic Chandelier Knock-Off.
I saw a picture of something similar a few weeks ago and I thought that, while it was really cool and I totally wanted one, the price tag was just a teeeensy bit steep. I mean, it IS really interesting and unique, but dang. This chandelier from Rustic Designs costs $2,800. Yes, that's the correct number of zeros there. Two thousand, eight hundred dollars. That's almost three large for a chandelier made of branches.

Not bloody likely.

I knew I could make something similar, if not exactly the same, for a couple thousand dollars less.

See how I did it after the jump.

The first thing I needed was some dry branches. Luckily, my husband had just recently removed some big ugly shrubs from the backyard. They hadn't been hauled away yet, so I moseyed on over to the side of the house and poked around until I found a few branches that were the right size, and also interestingly shaped.
This was three branches. I lashed them together at the top with thick(ish) hemp twine and hung them from the rafters in the garage at a comfortable working height. I brushed them off carefully to get rid of the spiders and dust and then varnished them lightly with my trusty Minwax Woodsheen in Colonial Pine to make them a little darker, a little healthier looking and a little shinier. If you intend to paint your branches, do it now, at this point, before you start wiring anything.

Then came the tricky bit. See, I have NO IDEA how to build a chandelier. Aside from changing the occasional light bulb, I have never done any electrical work. But like any good blogger knows, when in doubt, ask Google.

After a few minutes of research, I ran across a chandelier building tutorial. I had to modify it a lot to accomodate my project, but fortunately the rules of electricity are pretty static. Then I set about ordering the parts I needed. This took longer than any other part of the project. I'm totally serious. I spent hours trying to find exactly what I needed, to the point I nearly gave up and wrapped the dang thing with twinkle lights.

But I perservered, and here are the parts you'll need if you want to make your own Rustic Chandelier:









I used 10 bulb sockets on mine, but the original used 8. It's up to you how many to have, of course. You'll also need to go to this website and order 25 ft. EACH of parts number 7587K126 and 7587K121. (This is black and white electrical wire; it's what you hook your sockets up to and then hook to the lamp cord.) Don't worry, this will all cost less than $20. I'm not even kidding. If you choose the free shipping option with Amazon, it'll be less than that. The black and white electrical wire is like $5 total, and you're ordering a lot of it.

PLEASE BE ADVISED: You do NOT have to buy these parts from the sellers I'm recommending. You may be able to find what you need elsewhere for less money. All I'm saying is that I looked and looked and these are the best deals I found for this project. One thing I learned from all of this is that branch chandeliers are cheap to build, but the parts are a pain in the keister to get hold of.

Alright, so when my orders came in, I spent a little time getting to know all of it. These are your candelabra sockets.
They have a removable cardboard slipcover that's paintable. I suggest you paint them to match your branches BEFORE you start assembling anything. I almost did this whole thing in antique white, but since I'm trying to hack an existing project, I decided to keep it as close to the original as I could.

The candelabra sockets are what you'll be screwing your bulbs into, so you'll want to position them on your branches in a temporary fashion while you decide on the placement you like best. I used twisty ties to hold them in place while I made my decisions.
Once you've decided on your socket placement, use a measuring tape to figure out how long your white and black electrical wire needs to be. Measure from the tippy top of your branches out to where your sockets are positioned.
 Add an extra inch to that number, just to be on the safe side, and then clip a length of black and white wire with wire clippers.
 At both ends of your black and white wires, you'll need to strip off the plastic covering. Expose about a half-inch or so of the wires.
 Then twist them between your finger and thumb so the wires stay together, and then fold them over like a candy cane.
With me so far? Cool. On your sockets, there is a silver screw and a gold screw. Loosen the screws, and then hook the white candy cane around the silver screw. Tighten the screw down and then hook the black wire to the gold screw. Tighten that down, too.
Let these wires dangle for now. Repeat this process on your remaining sockets. Then put your (painted) cardboard slipcovers back on.
When all your sockets are wired and your slipcovers back on, it's time to begin fixing the sockets and wires to your chandelier. I used a regular old glue gun.

Glue your sockets to where you've decided they should go. Once the glue sets a bit, you can start running the wires up the branch, gluing every few inches as you go. I glued the wires to the top sides of the branches, so that when people are standing below it, they won't show.

Leave several inches of free wire at the top so that you can wire them all together and then to the plug-in cord.

This next part is very important. Gather all the white wires together at the top of your branch bundle and twist the ends together so they stay in place. The end of your brown plug-in cord (I don't know the technical term) is split into two. One part of the cord is smooth, the other has a line of ridges along it. Twist the white wires together with the SMOOTH cord, and then screw on a wire nut to hold the hold thing together.

Repeat this with the black wires. Twist the ends together, then twist them with the RIDGED part of the plug-in cord. Twist a wire nut tightly onto all the wires to hold them together. When you're done, you'll have something that looks like this:
Notice that the white wires are all together with the smooth half of the cord (on the left side of the picture), and the black wires are together with the ridged half (on the right). Run your plug up through the top of your gathered branches and tuck your wire nut bundles in there carefully, so the wires don't pull out. I wrapped a little more twine down around the top of the branches to hide the wiring. You really can't see the wiring at all if you've tucked and wrapped well enough.

At this point, it behooves you to screw some bulbs in there and try plugging it in. If one or more of your bulbs doesn't work, check your wiring again to make sure everything is connected where it belongs, and check your socket screws, too. Make sure the white wires are screwed to silver, and black wires to gold.

When my chandelier lit up for the first time, I may have done a dance in the garage and texted my husband at work to brag.

The final step is to paint over your wires to camoflage them.


And that's all there is to it!!
After all's said and done, I probably spent two total hours on this project, and that includes all the mistakes I made. This is a really deceptively easy project.
And if I do say so myself, I think it's not too shabby! I've hung it out on my covered back patio for now. It's not meant to handle rain, and obviously wind will blow it around like Dorothy's house. So it'll have to come in this winter, but I'll definitely enjoy it through autumn! It is really pretty at night, sitting at my little patio table. I love!!
It's very neutral, so I'll be able to hang stars on it for the 4th of July, and when I bring it in later in the year, I'll hang little bats on it for Halloween, ornaments or tinsel for Christmas, and whatever other seasonal decorations occur to me! It would also be beautiful done with driftwood, for any of you seaside readers out there...
OBLIGATORY DISCLAIMER: I am not an electrician. I don't know what I'm doing half the time, so if you're going to make a chandelier using my tutorial, please bear that in mind. Please use all the precautions you can think of to prevent zapping yourself stupid.

49 comments:

  1. Holy cow, you are one determined crafter! I'd have gone with the twinkly lights for sure, but this came out great - congrats!

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    1. Holy guacamole!! You did a GREAT job. I think I would have just used those patio lights that you can string on your deck! It's GREAT though!

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  2. Thanks! I have to give credit to my husband though; he's the one who conviced me I should try it. It was really tempting to use the twinkle lights, especially since I've got a string of twinkles with a brown cord...

    Melody
    Crafty Butt

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  3. Wowza! You did good, and I like yours better. OK, now I won't be throwing out branches either. Thanks for the tutorial.

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  4. It's gorgeous and as far as the price of the other one goes, SERIOUSLY?????????????

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  5. I can't believe it! Wow - what a great fixture! You saved enough to go buy a new sofa....and some chairs! Linda

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  6. What a great fixture! I've seen them at market and they are pricey... you did a "GREAT" job.
    hugs ~lynne~

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  7. This is sooooo cool. I absolutely have to make one!!

    http://ashtonscraftycreations.blogspot.com

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  8. Thanks everyone! I'm really excited about the way this turned out... I wasn't sure I could pull it off!!

    Melody
    Crafty Butt

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  9. so awesome! you outdid yourself, and it's stunning.

    michele

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  10. This is a cool chandelier! I'll bet that the photos don't do it justice either.....my favorite partt, though, is your disclaimer at the end.

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  11. What a great copy!!! You did a fantastic job!! And saved thousands of dollars (which is just crazy in my book for TREE BRANCHES!) :)

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  12. wow, i so impressed! amazing

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  13. That is an awesome light! Congrats on the final product!

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  14. This is so great!!! I love it!!! I thought it was going to be a little rustic for my taste but outdoors....great idea!!!! I think I need to go find some branches!!!

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  15. Wow. That is fantastic. I can't believe how expensive the original one is. I would be thrilled if you shared this project at my link party.
    http://carolynshomework.blogspot.com/2011/06/inspiration-board-link-party_28.html

    Thanks for the creative inspiration.
    carolyn | homework

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  16. Amazing! Looks great!
    http://sweetteaserendipity.blogspot.com

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  17. AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!~!~! So Proud of ya kiddo.... and uhm what about the deck at the cabin...how rustic that can be huh huh LOL bet Ya Momma beat me to that ideal,,, Loves ya

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  18. I am soooo impressed with this chandelier, I absolutely love it! I don't know anything about electricity and I am lazy, but will definitely try to follow your tutorial and come up with a chandy for my bedroom. I admire your guts!
    Have a wonderful 4th of July!
    XXX Ido

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  19. I couldn't find your "following" button but I subscribed by e-mail.
    XXX Ido

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  20. @Ido,

    I hope you do try it; I wasn't kidding when I said this is reeeeeeeally easy. Don't forget to send me a picture if you do!!

    And thanks for letting me know about my AWOL "Follow" button!! I *think* I've got it fixed...

    Melody
    Crafty Butt

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    1. Thank you for sharing. I love love this. I am all about Rustic in my house. I found this on Pinterest. I usually dont comment to folks but this was to great a find for me not to say Thank You.....May I also mention I've never been crafty but am discovering a new me. Lol....

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    2. Sorry i cant figure how to do this without it saying anonymous. Im Melissa Ferrell. Ordinary woman lol....

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  21. Hi, friend! Happy 4th of July :) Btw, I'm admiring all your creative posts here. Can you please share them at the Creative Bloggers' Party & Hop? Hope to see you there at the party :)

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  22. I never pass up a party invite:)

    Melody
    Crafty Butt

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  23. Girl...you are amazing! Hope you can hear the applause!!! Thanks for posting!

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  24. Knock off Decor featured you today and I am so glad she did. This is an amazing chandelier. I can see it on a porch or covered patio and hearing all the oooh's and aaah's now. Thanks for the tutorial. I can also see the one done in driftwood for my daughters beach themed living room.

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  25. Great project. Love your blog name, too, btw.

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  26. Whoah! This is pretty darn awesome!
    Love the look so much

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  27. I have had a photo of this "original" in my desire-to-have files for several years- no way I would pay such a price, either, as I am a total do-it-myselfer(who happens to live in the woods!) Thanks so much for taking the time to figure out all of the steps for me!! You rock!

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  28. You know, I like the way your chandelier turned out better than the pricey one! I mean, holy crap! Awesome, inspiring project - thanks!

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  29. Love it!!! Love the comment "zapping your self stupid" the best though! That would be me!

    ~~Wendy

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  30. I have been looking and looking for a way to make a chandelier, but i kept just finding tutorials for single pendants. Thanks so much! God's blessings to you and your family.

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  31. Thank you for this tutorial. I've had an idea for a light fixture for the longest but couldn't find the right article to teach me how to do the wiring. This is exactly the way i need to wire the one I have in my mind. Thanks!

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  32. There is evidently a lot to know about this. I assume you made some nice points in features also.
    Caterpillar Women's Carlie Steel Toe Boot

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  33. Wow! You are a brave, talented soul! I love twinkly lights outdoors and I'm tempted to tackle this but kind of scared I would burn down the house!

    Thanks for the detailed tute. Otherwise, I wouldn't dream of heading out to look for branches to electrify! :-)

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  34. I know you've been told a million times but what a clever hack, I am so impressed! Experimenting with electrical wiring involved is pretty daunting, I would only have the audacity to do so with a guide, so thank you this is great! :)

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  35. Great job and fabulous inspiration. I found a lot of
    faux coral branches at a garage sale, so I did mine
    with the white coral and white wire rice lights. I
    glued the coral on to a ceiling light canopy first and
    then ran the lights along the branches and in through
    the hole in the canopy, placed another canopy on top of the first with a white chain to be able to hang on
    my porch and just swagged it so I could move. I did
    add a few small seashells and some pearls when I moved it to a guest bathroom.

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  36. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  37. this item has i saw on bathkitchendecor.com is amazing, i love it!!

    MINKA LAVERY ILLUMINATI 1356-177 BRONZE CHANDELIER

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  38. Grrr...I looked and looked for a tutorial such as yours....and didn't find it until now! yay! However...I did purchase a chandelier from Wish designs....yup...I did. It's beautiful...but now that I know exactly how to make it....I am going to make and sell them to pay for he one I bought!!! Mine will sit below a large open cupola and I'm going to use branches on the ceiling and do the lighting using your directions. Thanks for a great job and wonderfully detailed and simple directions!

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  39. Love it! I also looked and looked as Kelly Q did and FINALLY found yours. Very nice way you put this together, short and to the point, easy to understand and pictures to boot! Thankyou.

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  40. Perfect! I've been saving three beautifully shaped branches from holly bushes removed several years ago. NOW they will have a new life. Thank you so much for the inspiration.

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  41. I am SO EXCITED to TRY THIS!! I am on the ETERNAL Search to find Quirky-Utilitarian Materials to RE-PURPOSE---Thank YOU---!!!

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  42. I love this idea! You are a treasure and a woman after my own heart. Thank you for sharing this. A tree fell on top of my cabin a couple of months ago...now I know what to do with all the limbs! I'm thinking...Christmas gifts for 2013 are all done! Everyone I know will want one of these!!!

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  43. Chandi crystal is Made In USA Lighting and polished in the Czech Republic, Austria, Turkey, Egypt, Germany and Italy. Whenever possible, we support businesses that have been respected for decades for the integrity with which they approach both their process and their relationships.

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Thanks for commenting!! I really do read them all and I greatly appreciate the feedback.