Friday, March 30, 2012

the fanciest thing in my house

This is the fanciest thing in my house.

Similar projects have been all over Pinterest for awhile, based on a $300 West Elm version (which I've read is based on a $1500 version by designer Vernor Panton). And I really liked them.

Most of all, as usual, I like the idea of making something over with inexpensive materials. In my case, I spent $2 on an old lampshade, $2 on a spool of steel wire, and $1.50 on a roll of wax paper.

I wish I knew who to credit with the innovation of using an upside down lampshade, because I think it's pretty darn smart. I've seen similar versions made with hanging fruit baskets, Ikea picture frames, and wreath forms, but I don't know the evolution of this project (which came first, and who spun off their project from the original?).

Here are a couple of the inspiration pins for this project: this one from Design Sponge (made with a hanging planter basket, ribbon, and hot glue); this one, from Make House a Home (made with a lampshade and stitched strands); and this one, from A Happy Place Called Home (Ikea frame and jump rings).

I did what I usually do; I picked the elements I liked from different versions of the chandelier (the upside down lampshade, the wire instead of stitching) and filtered out the ideas I didn't like, or that I thought made the project too complicated or expensive. And then I added in some of my own spin.

But let's start at the beginning. With an ordinary boob light.

I blogged last summer about my guest room make-over, but though a bunch of things have been changed or modified since that last update, I hadn't touched the light fixture. In fact, I shot around it when I wrote that post. And then, in August, I saw a couple of faux capiz chandeliers on the Young House Love blog's Pinterest Challenge (see numbers 6 & 184). I did a little bit of research and turned up a bunch more versions (as mentioned and pinned above). Then I gathered my materials. In addition to a roll of wax paper and a spool of 20 gauge steel wire, I turned up a tapered lamp shade at the thrift store on a 50% off day (I paid $2 after discount).

Tear off all the fabric and add an extra row of wrapped wire, and you end up with this:

I ironed three layers of wax paper together to make the "shell" material. And to a couple of spots, I added a very, very few crayon shavings between the layers to make a very small amount of tie-in to the room colors. Rather than punch circles out of the waxed paper, I cut mine into varying sizes of rectangles. And rather than stitching the shells together, I punched holes in either end with a teensy hole punch and hooked trains of the pieces together with jump rings made from the steel wire.

(Making jump rings with wire and pliers is way cheaper than buying jump rings ready-made, but is also more time consuming. Plan your own project accordingly.)

As is my pattern, I got only partway through with one tier, and retired the chandelier to the closet for a little while, to get it off the table. And then I got sidetracked working on Halloween costumes, Christmas presents, hallway painting, and birthday party stuff.

Earlier this month, when I finally pulled it out of the closet and went to hang it up (because a partially-finished chandelier is harder to ignore when it's hanging right in your face), it looked like this:

I buckled down, and put in some good, solid blocks of time to getting it finished. It took approximately 72 chains of 5 shells for the top-most tier, 56 chains of 4 for the middle tier, and 48 chains of 3 for the bottom tier.

It took a bit of time. And when it was finished, it looked a little like this in the room (flash on, with Photoshop filters added).

Here's how it hangs from the ceiling, with two cup hooks (the chandelier is super-light, but I may add two additional cup hooks, just in case).

And here it is, done . . .

. . . glowing . . .

. . . and in daylight . . .

I'm pretty happy with how it came out. Have you made one of these yet? Isn't it amazing what you can do with paper?

Hey, you can link to your paper projects in the comments below. Thanks for dropping by!

Edited to add: The original UL-rated fixture is still in place, with low-wattage compact fluorescent bulbs. The wax paper structure sits a little below the ceiling, and a couple of inches away from the glass shade. Plus, it's in the guest room, which means the light's not on very often. We're pretty safe from any fire danger, but I'm definitely on the alert!

(p.s. you can make these photos bigger by clicking on them . . . but you probably knew that!)

Linking up to:

I Am Momma Hear Me Roar blog

Positively Splendid



Anonymous said...

I love the way it brightens up the room with its glow!

Anonymous said...

I can hear the crisp rustle of thick wax paper when a breeze beckons.

iammommahearmeroar said...

Wow! That is an absolutely AMAZING project! Talk about git 'er done! You did a fabulous job and it really looks incredible. I'm so glad you sent me the link. Congrats to you!


Six Sisters said...

What a great idea! Thanks for linking up with Strut Your Stuff Saturday. We're hoping you will join us again next week with more great ideas! - The Sisters

Christa said...

Beautiful. It really changes the look of your whole room.

Amy said...

This is terrific. There are so. many. boob lights in this house, you have no idea. Best we can figure is the owner (we're renting it) found a case of them that fell off the back of a truck because we even have two boob lights mounted on the walls. Those are the ones that are REALLY boob lights. Your idea is great b/c I can do it as a renter without changing anything too permanent! Thanks. said...

Great job & thanks so much for the shout out to my chandy project at A Happy Place Called Home! Your wax paper strands look fantastic! I'm so glad it worked out for you, and that you were able to combine your favorite elements from each of your inspiration pieces!

Excellent DIY!