Chandelier - after

Chandelier - before

My heartfelt apologies to everyone who has been waiting since last summer’s blog post for me to share this chandelier tutorial! A few detours and roadblocks delayed my ability to pass on this information.

First there was girls camp, and then I got a new job, and then I moved. I’m still waiting for Troy to help me hang the chandelier in my bedroom. Yes! I’m moving it from the dining room to the bedroom. Meanwhile, the chandelier sits on the floor in the corner. I gave up waiting for my brother and slung it over the bar in my closet to take some photos.

And then the hooks I used were so old that I could not remember where I purchased them. I searched Michael’s, Jo-Ann Crafting Supplies, and every online bead store that I knew of and came up empty. Nobody seems to sell the exact hook-and-eye that I used. I finally found some that are close enough at Fire Mountain Gems, to which I linked in the supplies list. I sincerely hope they work for you.

Tutorial and photos after the jump!

As I mentioned before, I found this old chandelier years ago for $20 at a salvage yard in Berkeley. I cleaned it up, and my brother rewired it. I’ve never been a fan of brass, so it got a fresh coat of paint. And I added some bling: beads I bought on eBay and crystals I accumulated from Craigslist and Freecycle.

How to make over an ordinary chandelier with paint, beads, and crystals

Supplies (amounts are based on a 6-arm chandelier)

Tools

  • wire cutters
  • needle-nosed pliers
  • crimp pliers (optional)
  • spray paint tent, drop cloth, or newspaper
  • drill and small drill bit

Wrap with painter's tape

1. Clean the chandelier of dust. Cover the cord, chain, and candle covers with blue painters tape. If your canopy is attached, cover it with a paper bag and tape it closed.

Spray paint the chandelier

2. Spray one coat of primer on the entire chandelier, following the directions on the can. Hanging your chandelier inside a spray-painting tent is the easiest way to paint a chandelier. If you don’t have one, use a drop cloth or newspaper. Let the primer dry, then spray two coats of spray paint. Let dry. Remove the tape and paper bag.

Beading supplies

3. Gather your beading supplies. (The hook-and-eyes and crystals are not in this photo. See photos below.)

Three bead strands

4. There are three beaded strand lengths for each arm: one long for connecting the top of the chandelier to the arm, one medium from which to hang crystals, and one short to drape between the arms. Your lengths will vary based on the size of your chandelier. The lengths of mine are: long = 11.5 inches (21 beads), medium = 9.5 inches (17 beads), short = 7 inches (12 beads).

Where to cut the hooks

5. Start by cutting your hooks. (You can set aside the eyes. You don’t need them for this project.) Use wire cutters to cut the tip of the hook off at the point where it starts to curve in the opposite direction. And if your hooks look like B (like mine did), use pliers to twist the loop to be perpendicular to the hook, as A and C already are.

Thread the beads

6. Cut a piece of beading wire several inches longer than the strand you are planning to string. For example, if you are starting with a short strand, cut a piece of wire about a foot long.

7. (Sorry I don’t have photos of these steps, but if you’ve ever made jewelry, you know what to do already.) Feed the wire through a crimp bead, then through the small loop on the hook, then back through the crimp bead. Stop pulling an inch or two past the crimp bead. Hold the wire in place and slide the crimp bead as close as you can to the hook. Use crimp pliers or needle-nosed pliers to crimp the bead tightly in place.

8. Slide your beads onto the wire. Make sure the short end of the wire is tucked inside the beads. When you get to the end, repeat step 7, then trim the wire and tuck it inside the last couple beads. It helps to string the wire back through a couple beads before crimping and trimming.

Three bead strands

9. After you’ve strung all your strands, attach your crystals to the medium length strands. I spaced my prisms between the beads in these increments: 3 – 4 – 3 – 4 – 3.

Hanging the strands

10. String a short and medium strand between each arm by attaching your hooks to the rolled edge of your chandelier’s candle cups.

Hanging the long bead strands

11. Attach one hook on each of your long strands to the top cup and the other hook to one of the candle cups.

Close-up of hooks

Here’s a close-up of all three strands connected to a candle cup.

Attach U-drops to the arms

12. Cut a piece of 22-gauge wire several inches long. Hang a crystal from the piece of wire, then wind both ends of the wire around the arm of the chandelier a few times. Trim if necessary.

Hang the U-drops from the hooks

13. Repeat the same process as step 12 to attach a crystal to the decorative hooks underneath each arm.

Attach the crystal at the base of the chandelier

14. To attach the crystal to the base of the chandelier, unscrew the nipple-looking piece of the chandelier body. Drill a tiny hole through the tip of the nipple. Cut a piece of 22-gauge wire about a foot long. Wrap one end of the wire around a small washer or nut a few times. Place the nut inside the nipple, thread the other end of the wire through the hole in the nipple, then attach the wire to the crystal. Trim the excess wire. And screw the nipple back onto the base of the chandelier.

15. Screw in your LED light bulbs, and hang your chandelier with the help of an electrician. To determine how high to hang your chandelier above a dining table, follow this general rule: The bottom of the chandelier should hang 30 – 34 inches above the tabletop, assuming you have an 8-foot ceiling. For each foot of additional ceiling height, add 3 inches to the suspension height.