Saturday, November 16, 2013

DIY Cover-that-lamp-up Chandelier

Now, I mentioned a while ago that something was afoot and I'm not going to lie, since then I've been pretty busy what with conferences and such, so I only just now got it together.

Basically, ALL of the light fixtures in my apartment look like this:
And I hate them.

However, since I'm renting I'm a little limited in what I can do to about it. Once I had pimped my hallway with the new paintings  (which have gotten almost 900 pins on Pinterest!), I thought it could also use a new light. The side benefit of this is that if it looked really awful, it would be in the hall not the living room. I looked at a lot of options, and was particularly taken with these faux capiz shell chandeliers that you make with wax paper ( My only concern was, you know, burning down my apartment by essentially attaching a giant wick to one of my light fixtures. So, I continued to look for something less flammable.

I ended up deciding to go with a cluster of glass balls- sort of industrial but also sort of fun. Here are my supplies (except, twice as many ornaments).
Here is what I used (I'm pretty proud of hacking this together)
-- a metal plant hanger, from Home Depot (sometimes these have removable moss in them).
-- clear ornaments from Michaels. Now, I used plastic ones, which were on 30% off, and which were cheaper than the glass ones. I have one of those super eco friendly spiral lightbulbs so I don't believe heat will be an issue, plus the plant hanger prevents them from being too close to the bulb
-- monofilmament line, which I found in the beading area (again at Michaels) 
-- a glue gun
-- small white metal screw hooks

First, take off the chain the plant hanger hangs from, make a necklace, hang something else, do whatever- you won't use it here. Then, what you're going to do is tie the monofilament in double or triple knots (that stuff is slippery!) around parts of the plant hanger wire. Glue each knot onto the wire with a little blob of glue- this prevents all the balls from sliding to the middle, and lets you have ones that are hanging from the center of some of the wires. In order to attach the ball to the monofilament line, first pop off the little metal hanger on the bulb (it will look less clean with those on- you want all glass). Then, squirt a small blob of glue on the inside of the curve of the little neck sticking out of the ball. You'll have to take the end of the line you're dealing with (trimmed to the length you want), and stick it in the glue blob. This part takes patience, you will have to hold it still there, until the glue is hard. Sometimes you might have to add another little bit of glue if the line pops out.
Use variable length lines, then repeat, and repeat, and repeat.

Here are the first few:

And here is a much later stage:

You're going to want to periodically turn it over and hold it up so you can see where the balls fall, and where the gaps are. Be sure also that they don't only hang low, but that they go all the way up to the top edge or else you'll be able to see the lightbulb through the top. I fell into this trap and then had to hang the whole thing up while I took a break because I was sick of gluing. (I feel like with all this balls hanging low talk I'm just setting myself up for joke after joke, but I'm really trying to just breeze right on past it - could you tell?)

For the light fixture itself, you'll need to unscrew the brass knob and then take that and the glass off. To hang it, I came up with something I'm pretty convinced was a very clever solution. Basically, I held the plant hanger up, centered it, and marked with a pencil 4 spots on the perimeter. Then I screwed little hooks in at each spot:
You might have to twist them a bit in order to get the thing hung up, but once you do that, it's very stable and you really don't notice the hooks at all.

Now, the tough part is that this is REALLY HARD to take pictures of. In real life the hall is very bright, but the light is nicely refracted (more like the picture below, but in the picture below it's hard to see the light). You can definitely see where the lightbulb is, and some of the black wires, but I kind of like the sort of industrial-ish vibe that it creates. I wish you couldn't see the brass edge of the lamp, but since it is so close to the rim of the plant hanger, it might look like it belonged, if I didn't know that it had been there already.

Here you can see it in context:

So, I think if you have something you want to cover up, this is a good way to go- it definitely changed the whole look of the hall to have something more exciting up but when I move out I can just unscrew it and replace the old light like nothing happened. Magic!


Pam said...

You are a crafty girl! What a fun and beautiful idea.

yellowfish said...

Thanks! It was a bit of a pain but I'm happy with how it turned out!


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