I give you the Rustic Chandelier Knock-Off.
This chandelier from Rustic Designs costs $2,800. Yes, that's the correct number of zeros there. Two thousand, eight hundred dollars. That's almost three large for a chandelier made of branches.
Not bloody likely.
I knew I could make something similar, if not exactly the same, for a couple thousand dollars less.
See how I did it after the jump.
The first thing I needed was some dry branches. Luckily, my husband had just recently removed some big ugly shrubs from the backyard. They hadn't been hauled away yet, so I moseyed on over to the side of the house and poked around until I found a few branches that were the right size, and also interestingly shaped.
trusty Minwax Woodsheen in Colonial Pine to make them a little darker, a little healthier looking and a little shinier. If you intend to paint your branches, do it now, at this point, before you start wiring anything.
Then came the tricky bit. See, I have NO IDEA how to build a chandelier. Aside from changing the occasional light bulb, I have never done any electrical work. But like any good blogger knows, when in doubt, ask Google.
After a few minutes of research, I ran across a chandelier building tutorial. I had to modify it a lot to accomodate my project, but fortunately the rules of electricity are pretty static. Then I set about ordering the parts I needed. This took longer than any other part of the project. I'm totally serious. I spent hours trying to find exactly what I needed, to the point I nearly gave up and wrapped the dang thing with twinkle lights.
But I perservered, and here are the parts you'll need if you want to make your own Rustic Chandelier:
I used 10 bulb sockets on mine, but the original used 8. It's up to you how many to have, of course. You'll also need to go to this website and order 25 ft. EACH of parts number 7587K126 and 7587K121. (This is black and white electrical wire; it's what you hook your sockets up to and then hook to the lamp cord.) Don't worry, this will all cost less than $20. I'm not even kidding. If you choose the free shipping option with Amazon, it'll be less than that. The black and white electrical wire is like $5 total, and you're ordering a lot of it.
PLEASE BE ADVISED: You do NOT have to buy these parts from the sellers I'm recommending. You may be able to find what you need elsewhere for less money. All I'm saying is that I looked and looked and these are the best deals I found for this project. One thing I learned from all of this is that branch chandeliers are cheap to build, but the parts are a pain in the keister to get hold of.
Alright, so when my orders came in, I spent a little time getting to know all of it. These are your candelabra sockets.
They have a removable cardboard slipcover that's paintable. I suggest you paint them to match your branches BEFORE you start assembling anything. I almost did this whole thing in antique white, but since I'm trying to hack an existing project, I decided to keep it as close to the original as I could.
When all your sockets are wired and your slipcovers back on, it's time to begin fixing the sockets and wires to your chandelier. I used a regular old glue gun.
Leave several inches of free wire at the top so that you can wire them all together and then to the plug-in cord.
This next part is very important. Gather all the white wires together at the top of your branch bundle and twist the ends together so they stay in place. The end of your brown plug-in cord (I don't know the technical term) is split into two. One part of the cord is smooth, the other has a line of ridges along it. Twist the white wires together with the SMOOTH cord, and then screw on a wire nut to hold the hold thing together.
Repeat this with the black wires. Twist the ends together, then twist them with the RIDGED part of the plug-in cord. Twist a wire nut tightly onto all the wires to hold them together. When you're done, you'll have something that looks like this:
At this point, it behooves you to screw some bulbs in there and try plugging it in. If one or more of your bulbs doesn't work, check your wiring again to make sure everything is connected where it belongs, and check your socket screws, too. Make sure the white wires are screwed to silver, and black wires to gold.
When my chandelier lit up for the first time, I may have done a dance in the garage and texted my husband at work to brag.
The final step is to paint over your wires to camoflage them.
And if I do say so myself, I think it's not too shabby! I've hung it out on my covered back patio for now. It's not meant to handle rain, and obviously wind will blow it around like Dorothy's house. So it'll have to come in this winter, but I'll definitely enjoy it through autumn! It is really pretty at night, sitting at my little patio table. I love!!