First post ever! So I’ve never had a blog before, and I really wasn’t interested in getting one. Then, I pinned a couple of pictures of a DIY Capiz Shell Chandelier I made. You can check them out here, on my DIY board on Pinterest. After I pinned them, I started getting requests that I post instructions on how to make it. Instead of posting instructions in some giant, awkward comment on Pinterest, I decided to start a blog. My new blog will chronicle my DIY adventures and my progress in decorating the apartment I share with my husband and our dog, Bones. So, since the chandelier is what got me to start blogging, I thought it fitting to have my first post be a how-to on making a DIY capiz shell chandelier!
I kept seeing wax paper capiz shell chandeliers online, and they seemed simple enough to make. I mentioned the idea to my friend, Roslyn, and we decided to make some together. Neither of us wanted to make ours quite how they showed online, so we made our own little tweaks to the project. Roslyn made her wax paper shells in heart shapes, and it looks wonderful in her new nursery! Maybe I can convince her to let me post some pictures of hers later. For now, I’ll focus on mine. The first thing I did, and the first thing I think you should do, is find inspiration online. I searched google for real capiz shell chandeliers, and found one I absolutely loved. You can see my inspiration chandelier here, on my Pinterest. It’s an amazing West Elm Chandelier that isn’t even sold anymore, but when it was it cost a whopping $259. Not exactly in my budget. And if you’re reading this, it’s probably not in your budget either.
After finding my inspiration, I set out to gather supplies. So, here’s what you need:
2 Rolls of Wax Paper
An Iron and Ironing board
Glue gun and glue sticks for it
A hanging plant basket (Looks something like this. I found mine at Wal-Mart for $3- It should have three horizontal wires, one for each tier of the chandelier. Some people used old lamp shade bases)
Spray Paint (optional- I used gold, you can use any color or leave it as is)
Circle-cutter (optional- You can cut by hand or choose a different shaped cutter)
Hanging light cord set ($3.99 for IKEA’s Hemma Cord set- only needed if you don’t already have a light where you can hang your chandelier)
Light bulb (try to get one that doesn’t give off much heat)
Parchment Paper- I already had a roll of parchment paper, and you only need two sheets of it. The sheets should be 2-3 feet in length.
A ceiling hook to hang the chandelier
Total cost is between $10 and $20 depending on what supplies you already have on-hand. Now that’s MUCH better than $259! Once you gather everything, it’s off to work!
Step One: (Optional) Spray-paint your hanging basket if you want to. I decided not to since my inspiration chandelier had a black base just like my hanging basket. Before you spray-paint your basket, remove the liner. If you spray-paint it, be sure to do it in a well-ventilated area. Hang it somewhere outside and make sure you spray it from all angles. Give it a second coat, then let it dry for at least an hour. Follow the directions on your can of spray paint.
Step Two: (Also Optional) Spray paint some of your wax paper. I chose to have some gold “shells” and some plain (white-ish) “shells.” Roll out a long strip of wax paper, and spray it in a somewhat random pattern to give your shells some dimension and character. I did two coats on my roughly 25 feet of wax paper. If you’re doing this step outside, which you should, you may find it necessary to weigh the paper down every few feet so the wind doesn’t blow it away. Let it dry! Once it’s fully dried, you can roll it back up.
Step 3: Cut three sheets of wax paper. Make them as close to the same size as you can. They should be 2 to 3 feet, or whatever you’re comfortable with. Stack the sheets on top of each other. If you spray painted some wax paper, cut only one sheet of the painted wax paper. Sandwich that sheet between two normal sheets of wax paper. Once you have your three sheets stacked, sandwich those between two sheets of parchment paper. The wax paper should NOT stick out of the parchment paper. This is very important because you will be ironing the sheets, and the parchment paper is there so the wax paper doesn’t melt and get stuck to the iron or the ironing board.
Step 4: Iron! Again, be sure that you are only letting the iron directly touch the parchment paper, and not the wax paper. Don’t let the wax paper touch the ironing board either. You may need to go over the sheets with the iron a few times until the three sheets of wax paper are completely stuck together. Don’t worry about little air bubbles. Those give the “shells” character and help them look more like real capiz shells. Once the wax paper becomes one sheet, remove it from between the two sheets of parchment paper. Repeat steps 3 and 4 several times until you have many sheets of prepared wax paper. Since I wanted to have some shells be gold and some be plain, I did not include painted wax paper in some of my sheets. This step and the next step get pretty boring, so feel free to switch between ironing and cutting circles every once in a while. Do not use the steam setting on your iron. If your iron has a tendency to leak a bit of water, fully empty it before starting.
Step 5: Time to cut some circles! If you have a circle cutter, this will be much easier. Accordion-fold your wax paper according to the size of your circles. If you are using a circle cutter, put it in place and punch it. I found that having 5 layers at a time worked the best with my circle cutter. If you don’t have a circle cutter, find something the right size and shape and trace it over and over in a line on the wax paper. Accordion-fold your wax paper and start cutting with the scissors. Again, 5 layers worked for me, but it can vary based on how sharp your scissors are. It works a lot better if your scissors are new and sharp. Trust me. I tried it with my crappy old scissors. Not good. Don’t worry if when you punch or cut circles they aren’t perfect. The crappier circles can go in the back. Repeat this step until all your circles are cut out! (You might continue to the later steps, then come back to this one when you find you need more) I used three different sizes for my circles. For the large circles, I used my 2″ circle cutter. For the medium circles, I traced a thing we have that measures shots. It is about 1 1/2″ in diameter. For the small circles, I traced the lid of a soy sauce bottle. It is about 1″ in diameter.
Step 6: If you’re using different colors and/or sizes for your circles, this is an important step. Lay out your circles in a few lines, arranging the circles in whatever way you like. I wanted mine to seem random, but I also didn’t want to have too many of the same shape or color next to each other. I’m including a picture so you can see an example of how I arranged my circles.
Step 7: With your circles arranged in a line, put a small dot of hot glue at the top of each circle, and glue fishing line to them. You should end up with a long string of circles. Make each string of circles whatever length you want them to be on your chandelier. Since this is a three-tiered chandelier, you may need to make three different lengths. The strings for each tier don’t need to be exactly the same length, but you should try to have them not vary by more than two inches in the same tier. The following picture shows the dots of hot glue and the fishing line. I don’t have a picture showing me gluing the circles, but hopefully you get the idea from this.
Step 8: String them up! You can tie the fishing line to the hanging basket or you can hot glue them. I found it easier to hot glue them. Try to cover the basket as much as you can, not leaving any space between the circles glued to the frame. Start from the inmost, lowest tier. It’s easier that way. On one little section of mine, I did all three sections first just so I could see what the lengths would look like together. Then, I completed the bottom tier, then the middle, then the top. It is a lot easier if you have your chandelier hanging from something as you do this step. I hung mine from the back of a barstool. Once I finished hanging all my strings, I hot glued individual circles to the exposed wires from the basket. By this, I mean the metal running vertically rather than horizontally. You don’t have to do that, I just think it looks better if you do. It isn’t as important if you spray painted your hanging basket.
The following image shows the chandelier from the top. You can see the circles I glued to the basket’s wiring in order to better hide the frame of the chandelier.
Step 9: Screw your hook into the ceiling and hang your chandelier. If you bought a hanging light for it, hang that as well, being sure the light bulb does not touch the wax paper. Keep it a safe distance from the wax paper to avoid any fire risk. It looks great in the center of a room. It can also go in the corner of a room, or wherever you want! If you have an existing overhead light, just hang your chandelier right there.
Step 10: Enjoy!
*Additional options: Use ribbon instead of fishing line, sew circles instead of gluing them, make a sconce or lamp instead of a chandelier, use a basket or the base of an old lamp shade instead of a hanging basket, vary the length- I wanted mine to be quite long, so from the top of the basket to the bottommost tier, mine is a bit longer than 3 feet, try shapes like stars or hearts instead of circles, or replace the hanging basket chain with ribbon, yarn, or twine. Try out some other colors- you can use spray paint like I did or you can try filling the wax paper with crayon shavings of a particular color. Or multiple colors. Ros and I tried that, but we decided it was just too much. I think spray paint is much easier. You can also vary the amount of wax paper in each completed sheet. I used three, but feel free to experiment with more or fewer.