Friday, August 26, 2011

Twig Chandelier Tutorial

As promised, I've got a tutorial for you today. Wha-hoo! I've never had so much interest in how to make something before:) I could have posted it on Monday...sans pictures. But, if you're like me, you NEED the pictures. I got so tempted during the week to just go ahead and post it due to constant requests, but I made myself not jump the gun because I didn't want to put it out there until it was finished. I still haven't finished the new painted version that I'm making, so I'll post pictures of that once it's complete and fill in a few more pictures on the tutorial. It's been a busy week and this is a time consuming, although simple project. I hope this is as easy for you as I think it will be.

****BIG DISCLAIMER!!!!!****
"While I would assume common sense would tell you this is potentially a fire risk, I have come to the conclusion that there isn't an abundance of that anymore. So, let me spell it out for you....I CAN NOT be held liable for ANYTHING resulting from YOUR decision to make one of these twig chandeliers! Please realize that putting dried sticks on a chandelier near heated bulbs and electricity is a potential fire hazard. Be careful not to let any touch the bulbs! Again, you assume all risk doing this as a DIY project. These directions are based on achieving a look, not safety. Please use any and all safety precautions when following to create your own."

 
Twig Chandelier Tutorial
"Twig Chandelier"
by
B.E. Interiors


Are you ready to get “twiggy with it”? Betcha are. Let’s get to it!

Materials:
  LOTS and LOTS of crape myrtle twigs!
  • These are naturally curled and the perfect length.
  • Just go look under a tree and they are all over the ground. You don’t even have to cut anything! I collected all of mine from under our three trees. I can assure you, if don’t have one yourself, you can find one anywhere here in the south and no one will mind you taking them as it cleans up the bed….just ask to make sureJ. Take you a bucket and fill ‘er up. Can’t beat free!
Inexpensive grapevine wreaths
  • Two should do it for a medium – large size chandelier. Just cut the wreath in half. Now you have your large, textural curved twigs!
    Straight sticks
    • medium thickness – enough to surround the center and/or thicken the exposed rod at the bottom (if using a chandelier like pictured)

    Bronze or black small gage wire.
    • Look in the wood working section or a craft store or the floral department. Need a good bit of this.

    Wire Cutting needle nose pliers.

    An old or cheap chandelier.

    Glass/crystal garland (NOT PLASTIC).
    • This is the only part you really spend any money on and is totally optional. I paid only $8 +/- for mine with %40 off coupons at Michaels (or Hobby Lobby). It took two 6 foot strands for my chandelier.

    Drop cloth or old sheet
    • Use it to catch all the twigs and stuff that fall while working. Clean up is a ton easier this way!

    Candelabra bulbs to fit your existing base.

    Spray Paint in your color of choice if you choose to paint when done.





    Ready to get started? Let’s go!

    Let's take this:



    to this (or similar anyway)!

    Study Chandelier
    via Deenna Wish Design
    Step 1:

    Collect your sticks and twigs. You’ll need a bunch of the curved ones from the crape myrtles AND grapevine wreaths. You’ll also need just enough straight ones to go around the center of the chandelier. If you want to make them soft and more pliable, soak overnight in a tub of water – same goes for the wreath.

    Step 2:
    Spread your sheet/drop cloth out under the chandelier to catch your mess. You’ll definitely have one if your sticks are the least bit dry.

    Step 3:

    I hung my second version from a board straddling a ladder to work on.
    
    Turn off the breaker to your chandelier if working in place or hang the chandelier somehow so you can
    work on it while hanging. Don’t try to do this with it lying down as the sticks will break off. If you can
    work outside, do!

    (Optional Step 4)


    If spray painting, take the socket covers off, tape up sockets to prevent spray paint from getting in them, and paint the chandelier PRIOR to applying sticks. This keeps an parts from "peeking" out through the twigs when finished.
    Step 4:


    View of the top center above the arms with straight sticks applied.

    This is an example of gluing to a ribbon. Use larger sticks for center and small like this for outer layers.
    Depending on the shape of the chandelier and if you don’t want to potentially ruin it, you can hot glue or Liquid Nail the straight sticks around the center base (most secure method) or you can glue them to a piece of ribbon to wrap around the center. Hot glue the ends of the ribbon together in place.

    Step 5:



    Start gluing small, slightly straighter crepe myrtle branches around the straight sticks to fill it in until you have the center nice, thick, and uniform in width from top to bottom. Using the slightly curled ones on the bottom will give a full base (remember, you look up at a chandelier!)

    Step 6:

    Gather your curved twigs into small bunches and wrap with wire tightly. You’ll need many of these. The more small bunches you use, the tighter you can pack them on and it’ll have a denser appearance. Bigger bundles create a slightly looser appearance. Play with each to see which gives the look you want.

    Step 7:
    Start attaching the bunches with wire or glue (if permanent) to the center base. Work around spacing evenly, filling in between those spaces as needed. Curve the sticks out. Work around in layers, not all in one spot. Keep going until you’re happy with the fullness. You’ll want to cover the center fairly well so that you don’t see through it.

    The great thing about this project is that it is totally subjective. There’s not a “right” look. Each one will be different because all sticks are shaped different. The main goal it to make it full and curve the sticks out and up.


    Step 8:

    Hot glue individual sticks onto bunches to fill in any sparse areas.

    Step 9:

    Take the grape vine and make bunches of the halves. These are your last layer. They will create the main upward curving branches at each arm of the chandelier. Again, this is subjective how many of these you use. I split one medium size vine in half then used all of it. No more. These will also give you some extra texture on the deeply curled pieces that extend up at the arms.

    Step 10:
    If desired, take some textural branches collected from the woods (green is better…more pliable) and insert sporadically to add more interest. See the study picture above.

    Step 11:
    Once all branches all the above steps are done, take the pruning snips and level off the bottom to create a flat plane when looked at from the side. See study picture above.

    Step 12:
    Remove any globes, and replace bulbs with candelabra bulbs with the correct base size for your chandelier. This was my one sticking point. When you remove a globe, you have these ugly porcelain medium size bases exposed. IF your chandelier is not hanging, it’s easy to take those bases out and attach candelabra sockets. When it’s hanging, the wires are tight and it’s nearly impossible. I decided to use candelabra bulbs with medium bases and then make a sleeve to cover the base. Here is the template I used. You can cut it down to fit if need be. I made it in Word, cut it out and then painted it to match the chandelier color (ignore the detail lines. I just used the outline of the leaves for shape). Don’t worry about a heavy coat of paint. Mottled is what you want to mimic the wood tones if going natural. Just copy and paste into word to make multiples. Cut out, wrap, and hot glue or tape, then paint. Just drop over bulbs to cover sockets.
    
    This is the best I can give until
    I figure out how to attach a document to a post!
                         
    Another option might be to order wax sleeves. The issue might be the width of a globe base versus a regular wax sleeve width. One of my favorite blogs has a post on this, a retailer link and coupon.


    Step 13:
    Spray paint if desired. How heavy is totally up to you!

    Step 14:
    Take garland and make a double wrap around the candelabra base. Cut with wire cutters and crimp double pieces together. Just drop down into base and adjust little “sprigs” as desired.


    Step 15:
    Hang and step back to admire! This chandelier looks best on a dimmer switch. I just love the way the light plays off it. Enjoy!

    Extra Tips:
    Tips 1:
    Remember, the twigs don’t have to be super secure. Once hanging, it won’t receive much movement or touching, so it can be a little fragile. This would be the case if you don’t want it to be permanent… like my dining room version. I could reach up any time and simply take it all off if I got tired of the look! It’s just all wired on there. The second white version is glued, so it’s permanent and really secure.

    Tip 2:
    If using a chandelier like shown, take off the bottom parts to expose just the threaded rod (they’re just screwed on). This is what you’ll attach your bottom branches to. Run a bead of hot glue around the
    section that transitions from the arms to the rod to hold it in place (taking the finial and ball off leaves
    nothing to hold it in place).
    Use large sticks to surround it immediately and thicken up the rod. Then switch to small to keep the texture uniform when looking up at the bottom. Keep going until it’s as thick as the top section above the arms.




    *I am researching solutions to soak the wood in to make it less flamable as a safety precaution and will post any updates as I find them.*
    Good luck! If you have any questions, send them as a comment and I'll post answers. If one person has a question, I'm sure more will and that way we can all see the answers:)
    Send pictures of your versions. I'd love to see your version!

18 comments:

  1. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!a!! BEST do it yourself ever! I can't wit to try!
    Stacy

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yay!!! I am so glad you did the tutorial for this. Can't wait to get started on mine!

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  3. You can use LED lights for the fixture. They don't get hot. They cost a lot, but last a very long time.

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  4. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge! I am hoping to make my own chandelier and have found your site to be better than any tutorial I have seen! Thanks again! Sally

    ReplyDelete
  5. Just wanted to let you know that I made an amazing twig chandelier because of your tutorial!. I had already started one and it turned out terrible, so after reading your tutorial, I tore it down, followed your suggestions, and made a masterpiece. Thanks! I love your blog! You can check it out at Maeveshaven.com.

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  18. I am so anxious to make this...however the minus zero temperatures here in Connecticut right now are curbing my enthusiasm! I am planning the nautral color.....and wonder if there are any suggestions from anyone from this area on the best twigs to use. Also concerned about fire! Is there such a thing as a spray that will help make it fire-retardant?
    Thanks again! Only complaint is that this is not in video form! Oh! Approximately how long did it take to make?

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