I've always liked the beachy, airy quality of capiz shell chandeliers, but they're usually pretty expensive (at least all the one I like are - see exhibit A for $355 & exhibit B for $495... and more "designer" versions can be anywhere from $1000-$4000!)
Anyway, a few months ago I was admiring my friend Hillary's capiz chandelier, and was excited to find out that she had actually made it herself. Even more impressive was finding out that it wasn't even made of real capiz shells, but rather... wait for it... wax paper!! It seriously looked like the real deal but at a fraction of the cost. I decided then and there that I wanted to make one too - thanks again for the awesome idea, Hill!
Fortunately, this was an easy project, if a little time intensive. I'm not sure if I would have had the patience to sit down and finish it in one sitting, so I spread it out over several days, which made it more manageable.
Here's what you need to make your own:
Faux Capiz Shell Chandelier
- a lamp form (this can be anything from an old lamp shade frame (with fabric removed), a metal wire bowl (with graduated levels similar to this), a hanging flower basket, a wreath form (separated into layers with wire), etc.
- parchment paper
- wax paper (1-2 rolls depending on how big your lamp form is)
- circle cutter (I used this one)
- iron & ironing board
- sewing machine
1) Tear your paper into sheets. Tear 2 large sheets of parchment paper (2.5-3 ft. each). Then tear the entire roll of wax paper into equal 2-2.5 ft. sheets (just eyeball it).
2) Iron your sheets together. Once all of the wax paper is torn into sheets, layer a piece of the parchment paper onto an ironing board (or other flat ironing surface), then layer 3 sheets of wax paper onto one another, making sure to line up the edges, and lay the other piece of parchment paper on top.
On a med-low setting, evenly iron all 5 layers of paper. Once you've ironed the entire surface, the 3 layers of wax paper will be stuck together, but the parchment paper will not be. Repeat this with all remaining sheets of wax paper, making sure to iron 3 sheets at a time.
3) Cut your circles. Use your circle cutter to punch circles out of the wax paper. I found it worked best to cut 3 ironed wax sheets at a time (either by layering them on top of each other or folding them 3-4 times before cutting. Make sure to fit as many circles as you can per sheet. Repeat until you've cut circles out of all of the wax paper... It will feel like your cutting out a million circles :)
Stack your circles into even stacks (I stacked them into groups of 20, because I wanted each of my strings to be 20 circles long - this number will depend on how big your lamp form is and how long you want your chandelier to be.
4) Start sewing! Sew your circles together into long chains, using this method. Basically just feed your circles one after another... This is surprisingly easy to do - I'm a total newbie at sewing, and it was super simple!
5) Make your chandelier! Start layering your circle chains onto the chandelier by hanging them over the wire supports of your lamp form. I found that laying them over the wire was easier than figuring out a way to tie or glue them to the frame, but you can do it that way as well.
This is where you can get creative! Figure out how long you want your pieces to hang, how full you want yours to look (and therefore how much you want your chains to overlap each other), how many tiers you want, etc.
6) Hang up your Chandelier!
And the best part? The total cost of this project was less than $5 - can't beat that!