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DIY Chandelier Update {From Italy to France on a Budget}

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We have a large chandelier in our dining room that I love, but decided that it wasn’t exactly my style.  Since I still like the chandelier and it works just fine, I didn’t want the expense of buying and installing something new, especially when a small project was all that was needed!  Here’s everything you need to know to create a DIY crystal chandelier.

TIDBITS-&-TWINE-How-to-Add-Crystal-to-a-Chandelier

 

We purchased the Rodeo Collection Round Twelve Light Chandelier from Lamps Plus almost 10 years ago.  I have always loved the size and the details of this light fixture, particularly the faux drip candles.  When I bought this, I was in my Italian phase and it went perfectly with my large trestle table and hand-carved Mexican leather chairs.  But in recent years, I’ve started adding more delicate touches to my home and suddenly, this fixture seemed a bit out-of-place in my dining room.

Rodeo Chandelier
{Rodeo Collection Round Twelve Light Chandelier via Lamps Plus}

 

 

Quite some time ago I was browsing the Ballard Designs catalog and noticed these magnetic crystal chains that could be used to embellish an existing light fixture.  I loved the idea, but not the price!  {Sorry, Ballard Designs, I love your store but $45 for 3 ft. of chain was out of my budget!} 

Ballard Magnetic Chain
{Set of 3 Magnetic Chains via Ballard Designs}

 

I have also seen boxes of loose crystals from old chandeliers at the antique fair and have thought about how I might be able to use those, but I’ve never found enough matching crystals and never any that could be used for the base chains. Then while browsing Michaels, I figured out a way to move my chandelier from Italy to France on a budget!

Basic Supplies

  • 6 ft. acrylic crystal garland $12.99  {Similar chains can be purchased on Amazon and Save-on-Crafts, so check around for the best price in your area. The total length you’ll need will depend on the size of your chandelier and the amount of drape you create.}
  • Wire {16- or 18-gauge in a color that matches your existing fixture}
  • Wire cutters
  • Mandrel {I used a thick ballpoint pen as a mandrel, but you could also use a wooden spoon or anything round}

TIDBITS-&-TWINE-Chandelier-Makeover-Supplies

 

Step 1: Make Jump Rings

Note: Since my chandelier has open, curved ends, I was able to make jump rings and just slide them onto the chandelier.  If your chandelier doesn’t have an area where you can slide them on, you will have to make the jump rings directly onto your chandelier.

  • Find an item to use as a mandrel that has a diameter large enough to slide over your chandelier.  The ends of my chandelier are large and flat, so my jump rings are extra large so that they could fit over the end of the chandelier.
  • Use tape to mark a spot around which you will bend the wire.  This will help ensure that all of your jump rings are a consistent size.
  • Hold the wire with your thumb and wrap tightly around the mandrel, overlapping slightly.
  • Cut the excess making sure that you use the flat side of the wire cutters, not the pointed, so that you don’t end up with a pointed end that could scratch your chandelier.
  • If you use pliers that have ridges on them, be sure to wrap them in tape so that they don’t scratch the coating off of your wire.

TIDBITS-&-TWINE-Chandelier-Makeover-Jump-Ring-Step-1

 

Step 2: Determine Length of Crystal Chain

Decide how much drape you want each of the strands to have and count the number of crystals so that you can ensure each strand has the same number.  Be sure to leave the original silver jump rings attached to each end of your strand, as these are what you’ll use to attach to the jump rings you made.

TIDBITS & TWINE Chandelier Makeover

 

Step 3: Attach

Slide the crystal chain’s jump ring onto the one you made and attach your jump ring to the chandelier along each arm.

TIDBITS-&-TWINE-Chandelier-Makeover-Jump-Ring

 

Step 4: Additional Crystals

Once I was finished, I decided to add two additional types of crystals for a little extra bling!  Around the circumference, I added these prism pendants purchased from Amazon for $14.00.

TIDBITS & TWINE Chandelier Makeover Jump Ring

 

 

I also stopped by my local antique store and found a large crystal that I could hand from the bottom of my chandelier.

TIDBITS-&-TWINE-Chandelier-Makeover-Center-Crystal

 

And that’s how I managed to move my chandelier from Italy to France on a budget!

 

I like that it now fits better with my other decor, but should I ever decide to change my style, I can just remove the crystals.  It also solves another issue that I’ve had with my chandelier in that the crystals sit lower and thus make the chandelier feel closer to the table.  The chandelier was not installed at the right height and was just a bit too high off the table, which made it feel disconnected.  With the crystals attached, the bottom of the chandelier is now 34″ off the table and feels much better.  {As a side note, a good height distance for a chandelier is 30″-36″ above the table surface.  I wish I had known that 10 years ago!}

TIDBITS & TWINE Dining Room 3

 

I have a few extra crystals left over, one of which I’ve already turned into a bookmark.

TIDBITS & TWINE Master Bedroom 9 2014

 

And now I have my eye on a candelabra and I’m trying to figure out how I could add a few crystals to it, too!!

 

Enjoy the weekend!

 

Tidbits&Twine - Signature

 

 

 

P.S. A big thank you to my neighbor, an amazing jewelry designer, who re-wire wrapped the individual vintage crystals for me and also taught me the word mandrel.  :)

 

 

 

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