How To Make a Paper Shell Chandelier

14 Feb

fauz capiz shell chandelier

If you have been following me, you know that on my 2012 list of things to make I have several light fittings, since we don’t have any at all in our house. I have started a couple out of paper mache, and have left them for a bit to think about how I want to proceed. I have a few other ideas running around in my head, one of them Is this faux capiz shell chandelier, and chances are the first blog to feature them was Design sponge. These seem remarkable simple to make, so simple its nearly silly, and I marked it in my head as something that would look great in our bedroom.

For the base you can use an old lamp shade or planter basket (which is what I did) and the shells are made of several layers of wax paper, ironed together.

 

I used ovals instead of circles, and initially tried adding some glitter in between the layers of wax paper, but decided to pass on that since it prevented the wax paper from adhering properly.

 Although, as I said before, this is so simple it’s nearly silly, I still managed to get myself into all sorts of trouble, mainly by neglecting to see how far the end of bulb was from the ceiling, only to discover that “not far enough” was a pretty accurate description…. I only found this out while single handedly attempting to hang it from my ceiling. I ended up having to cut out the center of the basket, to allow the bulb to hang through, but now might just have a fire hazard on my hands since it is really close to the paper. I will probably shop for some kind of hardware that will allow the light to sit right on the ceiling, thus avoid burning my house down.

 Other than that, I am quite pleased with it. It softens my bedroom up nicely, and is much nicer to wake up to in the morning than a bare bulb.

 

There are several ways these can be made, and it worth while searching a bit and choosing the way that suits you best.

 This is what I did:

  •  I started of by ironing 4 layers of wax paper together. I sandwiched them in between parchment paper, to keep the iron clean.   (I did this many times, maybe 50)

  • Using a stencil oval cutter, I cut out 1000 ovals (yeah, I know….) out of which I ended up using probably about 950.  To minimize the work, try and see how many pages you can cut through at once. I found that 3 was fine, four was pushing it, so for most of the time I cut in piles of 3 (after it occurred to me that it’s insane to cut each oval on its own).

 

  • A lot of people use hot glue to make the strips of circles/ovals. I am not a glue fan so chose to sew the strips. I made sure to overlap the ovals a bit, except between the two first ovals, where I left a tiny space. When attaching the strip to the basket, I just folded that little space over the basket wire, so that I have one oval on the inner side of the basket. I attaché the thread to the basket wire with a bead of hot glue.

 

  • When you sew or glue your strips together, start by counting out your ovals/circles into groups. I used a muffin tin (two, in fact). It streamlines the work.

 

  • Use the longest stitch on the sewing machine. To avoid tearing the paper.

 

  • Work from the inside out. It’s a good Idea to sew or connect your strips for the first tier, and figure out how long you want the next row to be. My inner circle has 11 ovals on each strip (one folded over), then 2 rows of 8 and one row of 6.
  •  While working on it, I had it suspended between the backs of two chairs.
  •  I attached mine to the ceiling with two small hooks.

Now, other than the chandelier, I have a pile of thick wax paper sandwiches with oval cutouts. I wonder what I can do with them? Any Ideas?

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3 Responses to “How To Make a Paper Shell Chandelier”

  1. graces goodies February 16, 2012 at 11:03 pm #

    Ruth,

    This is amazing. I don’t know how you had the patience to cut out all of those circles and then sew them all without ripping them to shreds!! There is no way I’d be able to do that:)

    Bianca

  2. Ruth February 17, 2012 at 8:28 am #

    Its a result of an obsessive personality….;-) actually, I this kind of work. Its meditative.

  3. Carol February 21, 2012 at 10:00 am #

    Too amaze Too incredible stuff i love it , Thanks sharing .

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