Have you ever thought about making your own chandelier? Yeah, I hadn’t either.
I had always wanted one of those pretty wood beaded chandeliers. You know the ones I’m talking about. The ones that cost anywhere from $400 – $3,000 depending on where you’re searching. The Pottery Barn chandelier I had my eye on cost $759… and I just wasn’t going to shell out for that.
In our last home, knowing we would only be here a few years, I wasn’t willing to change out light fixtures, let alone spend that much on something that wouldn’t ultimately come with us!
But since we should be in our new home for a while, I am all in for changing light fixtures, and one of the first things I wanted to find was a beaded chandelier.
But I still didn’t want to pay that price.
So I did a little digging and came across Shannon from @livingwithlady’s Instagram page. She had this gorgeous chandelier in her bedroom, and when I looked a little closer, I realized it was a DIY!
So I checked out her awesome tutorial on her blog to help me get started on my own! I’m making a few tweaks for mine along with way, so I’ll share my process with you here!
HOW I MADE MY OWN FARMHOUSE BEADED CHANDELIER & SAVED HUNDREDS IN THE PROCESS
First things first, this process is a little tough to explain, but once you get rolling with it, I promise it gets easier! I’ll try to be as detailed as possible and will be updating this blog post as I go (as I’m starting this while my chandelier is in progress).
STEP 1: PURCHASE YOUR SUPPLIES
You obviously need beads and lots of them. The kicker is they’re not so cheap a lot of places you might look.
Here’s the breakdown of what you need…
- 12 packs of 300 10mm wooden beads
- 11 packs of 100 14mm wooden beads
- 8 packs of 100 16mm wooden beads
- 10 packs of 50 20mm wooden beads
- 11 packs of 30 25mm wooden beads
My total bead cost was $117. I did end up 4 25mm beads short, but the 11 packs above SHOULD have covered the total number of beads. I think my daughter had something to do with it.
Lucky for me, a quick $2 Michael’s pick-up saved the day!
- Sewing needle with a large eye
- 2 18″ embroidery hoops
- 2 23″ embroidery hoops
- Cotton twine
- Wood glue
- Pendant lighting kit with a ceiling plate & chain
- 2 metal rods (1/4″, about 2 feet long) Note: you’ll need to cut these down a little, so make sure you have something on hand that can cut metal such as some bolt cutters.
- Heavy-duty zip ties
Once I had all my materials, it was time to get started! These materials cost me about $72 in total, bringing the grand total of this project to $191!
Compared to the hundreds or thousands of dollar price tags I’ve seen on these, I’d say it was totally worth it!
STEP 2: SORT & STRING YOUR BEADS
I knew if I didn’t get organized right off the bat, I would be in all sorts of trouble. So I sorted all my beads into bowls by size and labeled some hangers with exactly what strand and for what size hoop they were for.
I then printed off these handy diagrams I got from Shannons tutorial.
For the 18″ hoop tutorial, I am only using 23 of the 10mm beads on each side instead of 25. I highly suggest printing off these images to have nearby so you can easily follow the patterns!
I started with the 18″ hoop pattern, making 10 of the first strand, then 10 of the second, and so on. That way, I would easily be able to categorize them and keep track.
I started by attaching my twine to my sewing needle with one single knot so it would be easy to untie, and I left my twine attached to the roll. I strung up the beads for one strand, cut the twine making sure to leave 6-8 inches on either side (the more room you have, the easier it will be to tie them on the hoops), then tied each finished strand to its corresponding hanger.
Each set of 10 strands was taking me about 40-60 minutes depending on the level of distractions I had (aka how many of my children were helping me at the time!). This part is slow moving, so if you can string while you zone out watching a show or something, I highly recommend it!
Back to the diagrams — I labeled my strands 1-5 starting at the top of the diagram with the shortest and moving down to the longest. One of each of those five will make up one swoop on the chandelier.
STEP 4: START TYING YOUR SWOOPS ON YOUR 18″ HOOP
I started by stringing all the beads for the 18″ hoop first, then I went ahead and tied them all up on the hoop. I chose to do it this way rather than to string all the beads for the 23″ hoop to break it up a little bit!
One swoop is made up of one of each of your five sizes of strands… clear as mud, right?
You’ll basically want to take your strand number 1 (the shortest) and tie it up in a swoop fashion on your hoop. Then on the outside of that strand, you’ll tie up number 2, and so on until you have all 5 sizes together to make up one swoop.
To tie, I looped the twine up and over the top of the hoop and double knotted it at the bottom where the beads start.
Once you have your first swoop tied, you’ll move to the right and overlap your first swoop with a second swoop, starting the lefthand side in the middle of your last hoop. See the photo below to get what I mean!
Don’t worry about the extra twine just yet, you’ll cut that off a little later!
Go around your entire hoop with all 10 swoops until your overlap your first swoop, then take a minute to even up your spacing!
STEP 5: GLUE ON YOUR INNER AND OUTER HOOPS
Once you have all your swoops on your 18″ hoop and feel good about the spacing, take a minute to celebrate!!!
Then grab you other 18″ hoop pieces. Remember you have 2 18″ hoops that you have taken apart, so you now have 4 pieces. You used one of the non-adjustable hoops to tie your beads on to, now grab one adjustable (with the tightening screw) and your second non-adjustable hoops.
Take the adjustable hoop and remove the extra pieces. I simply pried them off with a screwdriver. It’s okay if it’s leaves it looking less than perfect. This will be glued on the inside.
Fit your adjustable hoop into the center of your beaded hoop so it is flush, and make note of where it overlaps.
Grab a saw and trim the piece so you’ll be able to glue it completely flush to your beaded hoop.
Once it’s cut, use wood glue to add a thin layer around the entire hoop, then fit it in and secure it with clamps.
Now grab your second non adjustable 18″ hoop. This will go on the outside of your beaded hoop so it looks nice and pretty!
But you’ll need to cut this one too. Using a saw, simply make a cut through one piece of the hoop so you’re able to expand it, and fit it around your beaded hoop.
Notice there will be a little gap — that’s okay!
Grab some wood glue and apply a thin layer on the inside of your hoop, then fit it flush with your beaded hoop on the outside.
Clamp them all together and let them fully dry!
Then, get ready to move on to your 23″ hoop!
STEP 6: START MAKING STRANDS FOR YOUR 23″ HOOP
Once your 18″ hoop is done, it’s time to start on your 23″ hoop! Grab the patterns from above and begin stringing your beads!
You’ll create 12 strands of each size for this one.
I’m again creating 12 of one size before moving on to the next size so I don’t mix up the patterns, and I’m labeling hangers again to keep them sorted!
I’m repeating for all 5 sized strands, then I’ll tie them all to the 23″ hoop in swoops, tying one swoop (one strand in each size) at a time until they’re all attached to the hoop!
Then, I’ll follow the same process as above to cut and glue the two additional 23″ hoops to the inside and outside of the beaded hoop, cut the extra string off, and connect them!
STEP 7: CUT YOUR EXTRA STRINGS
This is self-explanatory! Once the glue dries, trim the extra strings that are hanging around. Don’t worry about getting it perfect — you won’t be able to tell if there are tiny pieces leftover.
STEP 8: INSTALL YOUR METAL RODS
Time to put the two hoops together!
Once you’ve let your glue dry, place your 18″ hoop inside your 23″ hoop and cross your metal rods over top. Figure out exactly where you want them to sit, then mark a spot where you’ll drill holes.
You will drill holes with a .25″ drill bit all the way through your 18″ hoop, but you’ll only want to go through the first 2 hoop layers on the 23″ hoop.
Place one rod in through, then cross the other one over, manipulating the rod and hoop as you can to get them in tightly enough so they’ll stay put.
Once you have both in, the very last step is adding your lighting kit!
STEP 9: ADD THE LIGHTING KIT & INSTALL
I ended up ordering this kit! It’s a pretty antique brass, and it comes all deconstructed and ready to customize and install.
First things first, I held the chain and pendant inside the chandelier and marked where I wanted it to hang. For me, it was 3 links from the pendant, as the higher it hung inside the chandelier, the less you noticed it.
Then, using pliers, I opened up that link and secured it around where the two metal rods met in the middle.
I then grabbed some heavy-duty black zip ties and secured the rod to the chain on all four sides just for added security and support. A little messy, but no one can see it!
Once it was secure, we held it up to our ceiling to figure out exactly how far we wanted it to fall, then we cut down the chain and cord accordingly.
Next, it was time to install the light fixture. We cut the power to our dining room (THE most important step when it comes to hardwiring light fixtures), then connected the wires according to the instructions from the kit and secured it into place!
I added a 100 watt Edison bulb to mine, but eventually I might grab a bulb splitter or a brighter bulb for in here to create more light. But for now, I’m happy with it!
The only mini issue I ran into was making sure the chandelier was balancing correctly and staying level. The zip ties definitely helped, and I was able to secure it into place then position it correctly.
And that’s it! I can’t believe it actually came together like I planned, and I am so excited about it!
If you have any questions on how you can make your own, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below or find me on Instagram where I have the whole process documented in videos in my highlights!
What do you think??