DIY faux capiz shell chandeliers made of wax paper are quite popular on Pinterest. I first spotted one on Completely Coastal long before I had a Pinterest account or a place to hang one. When the kitchen lighting in my new home left much to be desired, I was almost excited. I finally had a reason to make one of these lovely pendant lamps. Design Sponge has a no-sew tutorial, but I preferred the sewing machine-required tutorial on Freshly Picked. I pretty much followed Freshly Picked's tutorial for the creation of the shade part of the chandelier, but I was on my own for making it into a functioning pendant light. This project ended up taking about three times as long as I thought it would, but that was due to the actual lighting component of the project. I spent about $30 on this project in total, and the majority of that was on the light kit. You could easily spend much less or a bit more depending on what you have on hand and your wiring situation. Regardless, this pretty pendant lamp has a much prettier price tag.
What you'll need:
Chandelier components: $5 for the materials I didn't have.
Wire frame - Hanging baskets are a popular choice, but I couldn't find one that was both white and cheap. Instead, I used a $3 plant stand from Family Dollar. I cut off the legs and used the table top as my frame.
Wax paper - I used about 1.5 rolls at $1 each, and my chandelier was on the small side compared to those made with hanging baskets.
Circle punch - Mine is 1.5" in diameter. I already had this, and I don't remember how much it cost. I doubt I paid full price, and I've already used it much more than I thought I would.
Lighting components: $24 for the materials I didn't have.
Ceiling lighting fixture - I bought one at Goodwill for $4.
Scrap piece of wood or sheet metal and screws and nuts - This is for mounting the light fixture to your frame. I used sheet metal, because that's what I had. I spent less than $2 on the screws and nuts.
Swag light kit - I needed this, because I didn't have the wiring for a light. This was the most expensive part of the project at $18 (Home Depot).
Paint and painters tape - My light fixture was brass-colored, and I wanted it to be white. I came across this problem after I solved my "I can't find a white hanging basket, and I don't want to paint anything" dilemma. Needless to say, I ended up painting stuff.
Prepare your frame (and light fixture).
Step 1: Make any alterations your frame might need. I cut the legs off the plant stand with a Dremel tool, and then I sanded and painted the cuts.
Step 2: Now would also be a good time to paint any other components, like your light fixture, so it can dry while you make the rest of the chandelier.
Make your faux capiz shells.
Step 3: Layer 6 sheets of wax paper 2-2.5' long between 2 sheets of parchment paper. Iron on a dry, low heat setting until the sheets of wax paper fuse together.
Step 4: Punch lots and lots of circles.
Step 5: Sew the circles together in long chains by feeding them one after another through the sewing machine.
Step 6: You will end up draping your wax paper chains over the frame, so each half will hang down. Divide the long chains into segments twice your desired length by snipping the thread between circles. I chose to make my chains 16 circles or 24" long.
Step 7: Drape your wax paper chains over the frame. I hung them off-centered by one circle to create a tiered look. If you have to mess with installing a swag lighting kit like I did, it might be a good idea to do this step at the end. Mine fell off about halfway through installing it, and it was much easier to have them off of the frame and drape them on at the end.
Step 8: Repeat until you have enough chains to cover your frame.
Install your lighting components.
Step 9: Mount your light fixture to the frame. Hopefully my pictures can help you figure out how to do this for your specific situation. I ended up not using the globe that came with my light fixture. The globe blocked too much of the light, and the wax paper shade diffuses the light a satisfactory amount.
Step 10: Install your swag light kit per the manufacturer's instructions. Now is a great time to find an extra set of hands. My husband happily took over the project at this point, and I happily let him. I was ready to sit back, put my feet up, and have a snack.
Finish your chandelier.
Step 11: If you haven't already, drape your wax paper chains over the frame.
Step 12: Admire your work! This step took me a long time to complete, as installing the light kit ended up being the most tedious part of the whole project.
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