I remember years ago when I was pregnant with my daughter and planning her nursery, I came across pictures of beautiful shell chandeliers. I knew I had to have one, but they were super pricy, ranging anywhere from $100-$300!
Thankfully, Pinterest came to the rescue, and I was able to get ideas on how to make my own beautiful chandelier. The best part is that it cost less than $20!! I took pictures along the way so that you can make one, too. Ready to add a gorgeous light fixture to your room? Let’s go!
Keep in mind that this is a very easy, simple project. If you can sew in a straight line, you’re good! The only hard part is that it’s definitely time consuming. But you can also do it while watching a show or listening to music, which helps!
What you’ll need:
A sewing machine
Wax paper (2-3 rolls)
An iron and ironing board
A 1.5″ circle punch
A lampshade of your choice
Hot glue gun and glue sticks
A muffin pan
I ended up purchasing my lampshade at Goodwill for $4! You can pick whatever kind you like, I happened to like the scalloped edge on the one I found, and also that it had 2 “levels” that would make my chandelier look more full. Remember that it will be hanging upside down.
Step 1: Cut any fabric off of the lampshade to get to the bare structure of the shade.
Once you have this done, you’ll need to hang it somewhere to drape the strings of “shells” over it. I used a drum cymbal stand and clamps. Obviously those aren’t common household items, so you can hold off on this until you have all your strings sewed and have someone hold it for you, I found it easier to have it hanging to see my progress, though.
Now let’s start on the “shells”! These are made of wax paper melted together in strips of 3. They look awesome once they’re finished, and it makes for a very lightweight chandelier! First, pull three long strips of wax paper out of the container, and lay them together on your ironing board. (Try to pull out roughly the same amount each time to avoid wasting too much.) Once you have them on top of each other, line them up as best as you can, and iron them together. (I don’t think it matters which sides are facing which.)
I don’t remember what setting I had my iron on, but I’m pretty sure it was the highest.
Once you start ironing, keep the iron moving! Remember that we are working with wax paper, and wax melts fast. Don’t let your iron stick too long in once place. When you notice the paper has all melted together and is holding together well, you’re done with that sheet.
The sheets also cool quickly, so you can start the next part right away. Cut off the ends and any parts that aren’t made up of all 3 sheets melted together.
Here it is once I cut it:
Next, we’re going to punch out our circles! Fold your wax paper into strips, and start punching them out with the 1.5″ circle punch. Once you start doing it, you’ll get a feel for how you like to punch them out, and also how many times you can get away with folding your sheet without making your punch stick.
Once I had one strip cut, I folded the other end and punched out that side.
Then I cut off the ends, and folded what was left of the middle to punch that out.
You can see where I missed some, and where some got a little bit caught – don’t worry about those, just toss them. You’ll learn how to punch them out better and better the more you do it. When you have about 25-30 circles punched out, take them to the sewing machine; we’re going to determine how long your strings need to be.
Make sure the needle is threaded and start slow. All you have to do is feed the wax circles in one by one, and you can leave a little (like 1/4″) space in between if you like. They don’t have to be right on top of each other. Just don’t leave them too spaced apart or you’ll have holes in the chandelier.
When you have about 25 sewn together, take the string up to your lamp and see where it falls. How’s the length? If you need to add more or even double the amount, try that next. (You can also add more to this string, just feed more circles into your sewing machine, starting at the last circle.) Everyone’s lampshade will be different, that’s why I don’t have a set number. You might also like the look of a longer or shorter chandelier, so it’s up to you!
It is important, however, that you lay the string over the lampshade so that it hangs even on both sides. So every time you hang a string, it should be hanging in half with each end now hanging down.
Once you figure out how many circles you need for each string, write that number somewhere. That is the amount of circles you will now put into your muffin pan. It made it so much easier for me to count them out and put them into their own compartment. Then I knew exactly how many to sew and when to stop.
Now comes the time-consuming part; making enough circles and sewing them together to fill up that lampshade! Like I said earlier, put on your favorite show or listen to some music and punch away!
Once you have filled up the lampshade with all your strings, space them apart to where you like them, and add more strings if needed. Once they are perfectly where you want them, it’s time to hot glue them into place.
Here’s how the nursery turned out:
I LOVED how it turned out, it went perfectly with her room! (We hung it using small hooks screwed into the ceiling.)
We ended up moving from that house, and now I have it hanging in my craft room, where I love it just as much!
I hope you liked that tutorial, and I would love to see what you make! Head over to my Facebook page to get more project inspiration and to see featured projects. You can also follow me on Instagram – @littlemscraftypants. See you there!