Tuesday, June 12, 2012

JAXtutorial: DIY chapiz chandelier

Originally posted at DTTD imagine.design.create
Have you seen the awesome DIY capiz chandeliers out there in the blogosphere? Here are just a few that inspired me to make my own – and yes, believe it or not, they’re all FAUX capiz. {Click the images to read about how each one was made.}

Lisa Roy Muskoka |A Happy Place Called Home |SZInteriors
I’ve already hung chandeliers pretty much everywhere in the house that a chandelier can go. Ahhhh, but wait! What about this spot in the hallway outside the bedrooms…
I have a couple of old brass chandeliers that I tried to give to Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore, but they didn’t want them. Can you believe it?! Who wouldn’t be all over this brass & plastic beauty ;-)
old chandy 1[12]
I can’t find a before picture of the chandelier I used, but it’s the same as this one except tiered as opposed to spiraled. But the the tiers were opposite from the direction I needed them to go, plus it was too big. So hubby worked a little magic on it and changed it from too big and upside down to just right.
before 1
Now the fun part – making the faux capiz shells. The first thing you need to do is Iron three sheets of wax paper together. Over and over and over. You’ll need a LOT of wax paper! Put parchment paper on top of the wax paper before you iron so the iron doesn’t stick to it.
wax paper pile
I crumpled and then flattened out some sheets of wax paper to add texture to my “shells”. I randomly combined crumpled and uncrumpled sheets in each set of three.
crumpled texture
Use a circle cutter to cut out your circles. I bought a 1-1/2” Fiskars punch at Michaels. Fold your wax paper like an accordion and punch out the circles in double-thicknesses. This will make things twice as fast, plus the cutter doesn’t cut very well through just one layer. I recommend doing this step front of the TV while watching March Madness :-)
watching bball
You need a LOT of wax circles…
circles 1
Once your circles are cut, it’s time to attach them together. My original plan was to use jumper rings, but after linking one batch with rings, I realized this method would take me about seven years. Plus my thumb & finger were really not happy with me opening and closing all those rings. {Check out A Happy Place Called Home to see the jumper ring method done right.}
jumper rings on circles
So I switched over to the sewing method – WAAAAYYY faster and easier. {Check out Lisa Roy Muskoka for an easy-to-follow tutorial with lots of pics.} Sew long chains of circles together, and then cut them to the lengths that you want.

Image via Lisa Roy Muskoka
Mine ranged from 7 circles per chain for the outer top tier, 10 circles per chain for the lowest tier, and 20-22 circles per chain everywhere else. In the end, the circles on the lowest tier don’t actually show, but they help give the chandelier a fuller look.
Hubby installed the chandelier – remember to put in the bulbs before you put on the chains!
naked chandelier 2{Note: funcolors asked about the potential fire hazard of the wax paper with the light bulbs. We’re using 40W bulbs, and even after having the light on for quite a few hours straight, there was no issue with the wax getting hot. Although that being said, I wouldn’t leave the light on for a prolonged amount of time with nobody home, just to be safe.}
And then I hung the chains on it. I don’t have pictures of this part, because, well, I forgot to take pictures. Plus I didn’t hang them in the most logical order, so you don’t want to hang yours the way I hung mine. You want to start with the lowest tier and then move up. Also, after I hung all the chains, I took them all down when I realized that it would be better to wrap wire around each tier and hang the chains over the wire instead of over the brass arms. This way, the flat side would be pointing out instead of sideways.
And this is how it turned out…
against gallery wall
My top outer tier is all the same length, and the rest of the chains are hung at slightly different lengths because I didn’t want the bottom to be perfectly straight.
close on
from bedroom
towards kitchen
with staircase on
Even close up, the wax paper really does look like capiz shells.
close on 2
I still may do a little bit of tweaking to the top tier to make it fuller around the top. Just have to figure out how…
Here’s a breakdown of the supplies and costs:
  • Chandelier base – already had it, $0.00
  • Wax paper – already had a mega roll, bought 1 roll at the Dollar Store, $1.00
  • Jumper rings – 1 pack at Michaels, ~$3.00 with coupon {better to sew circles together}
  • 1-1/2” circle cutter – $21.99 + 40% off coupon at Michaels, ~$14.00
  • Spool of wire – $2.00
  • Thread & sewing machine
TOTAL COST: $20.00
Yep, that’s right – just 20 smackers for what’s essentially a brand new chandelier. Not too shabby, eh? :-) So what do you think – will you be making your own capiz chandelier?
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  1. Kelly, this is amazing it looks really beautiful. Great work! Did some of the wax paper circles rip as you were sewing them? and do you suggest gluing them together instead of sewing?

    1. Thanks! None of the wax circles ripped during the sewing process. I'd definitely recommend sewing them together over gluing. You can whip through a whole whack of the circles in no time at all on the sewing machine. Gluing would take way longer. The one problem I had with the circles ripping was when I was cutting them out with the circle cutter. I don't know if it was because of the cutter or my technique, but quite often the punch didn't cut cleanly and I ended up tearing a lot of circles when I pulled them out of the cutter. Very frustrating, but worth the aggravation in the end :-)

  2. What an awesome chandelier..Love it..thanks for the detailed tutorial..

  3. I'm in love - it looks AMAZING!!!! I recently finished making a 20" round pendant lamp from coffee filters, and now I am eyeing this wax capiz-like diy. Hmmm though I don't get along with my sewing machine.

    Funny how Habitat didn't want the lamp :)

    Ada | www.adasinteriordesign.com/blog