Tuesday, September 13, 2011

New House TLC: How to make a capiz shell chandelier.

My office!

Between people questioning their humanity in Fredericksburg and homes being incinerated in Bastrop, things have been feeling rather ... heavy?  Here on Austin Eavesdropper.  

Now we need to think about humanity and homes - don't get me wrong.  But!  Today I'm in the mood to show you something ever so lighter, and it is purely happy.  It has to do with the little house Ross and I bought ourselves here in Austin last April, and how I am decorating it.

Our home reminds me of a tiny beach bungalow: It has stained concrete floors, open, airy windows, and a growing population of houseplants that I am trying not to kill.  I wanted my home office to also have that warm, beachy feel, and at the same time, I was searching desperately for a girly chandelier to go inside of it.  (And I do mean desperate.  I even wrote a SheKnows article about it.)

My sights were set on a capiz shell chandelier, but at $400+, that wasn't exactly happening ... until I found a DIY capiz shell chandelier project on Design*Sponge!


The original instructions are fairly straightforward, but I made a few adjustments and discoveries.  Below, I recreate it for you.

* How to Make a Capiz Shell Chandelier *

You need:

-Scissors
-Hanging planter basket (I found mine at Lowe's)
-White spray paint
-1 roll parchment paper
-1 roll wax paper
-Iron
-Towel or ironing board
-Circle cutter (I found mine at Michael's, and got the 2" diameter kind)
-Hot glue + glue gun
-Very thin white ribbon

Step One

Spray paint your basket white, and let it dry.  I had to do several coats, and after spraying the majority of it on newspaper, I hung it up in a tree and sprayed the rest - the parts that had been touching the newspaper.


Step Two

While it's drying, cut out your strips of ribbon.  I cut mine to be 4" long, and I snipped 50 pieces of them.  This will vary depending on how many strings of "shells" you want hanging.

Step Three

Make your shells!  I don't have an ironing board, so I laid out a towel on the floor to act as one.  You're going to create a "sandwich" of paper, with a long strip of parchment paper on bottom (mine was about 3 ft. long), four strips of wax paper on top (same length), and another long strip of parchment paper on the very top (same length).  Set your iron to medium high, and iron your sandwich.


This melts the wax paper together into one hard strip.  The parchment paper, magically, does not stick.

To get the number of shells I wanted, I had to make about three paper "sandwiches."  

Step Four

Cut out your shells using your circle cutter.  You can get adjustable circumference circle cutters, but mine was not: It was a 2" one.  At any rate, a 2" - 2 and 1/2" circumference will give you good size shells.

I cut about out 200 shells.  Again, this depends on the number of shell strings you want on your chandelier, so you can adjust that number based on the amount of ribbon strips you cut. 

Step Five

Glue your ribbons to the basket, placing one dot of glue on the very end to attach it to the wire.  You can glue ribbon pieces closer together or further apart, based on how "thick" you want your rows of shells to look.  (The one on Design*Sponge is very thick, mine is slightly less so.)  Start at the very bottom tier on your basket (I had four tiers), and once you're finished gluing a tier, move up to the next.


Step Six

Last step!  Glue on your shells to each string, placing a tiny dot of glue near the top of the shell.  Overlap each one one just a bit, 1/4" or less.  Start at the bottom tier, and move up to the next one when you're finished.  For most of the strings, I glued on four shells per string, but at the very bottom and very top tiers, I alternated four and five-shell strings to make it look more interesting.  


        Et voilĂ !


As soon as it gets wired electrically, this little creation is going in my office.

Thanks Design*Sponge!

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