I feel it is very hard to find miniature light fixtures that aren’t dated-looking or that look like they were from a big-box hobby store (common). I don’t like most of those battery fixtures – the bases are very thick and the bulbs very squared off, they don’t look like candle flames when on sconces and chandeliers. They have their place – like maybe in a room box, where there are only a few fixtures but who would want to turn on many of these every time you display your dollhouse? This is why I have so many blog posts for making sconces, lamps, etc.
I like traditional fixtures but want a modern spin on it. I found one that I really like at Lighting Bug. I purchased it but it was kind of expensive (absolutely worth it when you consider the artistry!). But when I decided I needed another one, I wanted to try to replicate it using a less expensive chandelier to start with. Here is the one I purchased (left) and the one I embellished (right).
Here is how I did it. Supplies and tools are in bold and also listed with cost at the end.
- Find moderate cost working chandelier with graceful curved arms, simple lines and narrow sections of post that you could fit a brass flower around (with a center hole). Mine was a vintage Clare Bell Brass 6 arm Williamsburg-type with large turned balls on the post.
Vintage Chandelier purchased for $75 with shipping
- Find brass petal findings with long, slim petals, about 1-1/2 inches tip to tip, 6 petals. I found these searching "layered flower finding" on Etsy.
- If you can only find them riveted together (as mine were), they can be easily separated by drilling through the rivet. Use a drill bit a little larger than rivet hole. If possible, use a drill press for straight vertical drilling (or your Dremel with steady hands and pliers to hold finding so it doesn’t move when drilling). Notice in the photo that these were kind of rusty. It will buff out with steel wool.
- I used two findings, they were the same size but one was flatter and the other one was taller, with the petals pushed together sort of like a crown (photo below, the one being drilled). The crown shaped one I used near the top of the chandelier – to mimic the one I was trying to replicate.
- Cut through the center ring between two petals to open the ring (I just used my wire cutter). Use pliers to open it up wide enough so it will fit around the chandelier. I just found some spots where the center post of the chandelier was very narrow and fit the open ring over two of those spots (but don’t put it on yet).
- Drilling holes for crystals - I used my Dremel and wire drill bit (#64?)
- Its easiest to turn the flower upside down and drill through the back of the petal. This way the drill bit didn’t ‘walk’ as much as when I tried to drill it from the top
- My findings were kind of thick brass and it took a while for the wire bit to get through. After about 7 holes I had to re-charge my Dremel. Let it do the work and don’t press down very much. It may take a while.
- Any scratches from the drill bit ‘walking’ can be removed in later steps with sandpaper and steel wool
Vintage Clare-Bell Chandelier - $74.50 (with shipping, Ebay)
2mm Swarovski crystals - $5 (with shipping, Ebay; from China)
3mm Swarovski crystals - $5 (with shipping, Ebay; from China)
Crystal Delica beads - $8 (with shipping, Etsy store “Seaofbeadstx”)
Tarnish resistant brass beading wire, 34 gauge (Artistic Wire brand) - $6
Vintage flower findings - $8 (with shipping, Etsy “BossJewelrySupply”)
(total = $106)
Hope this inspires you to embellish a chandelier. Next time - some hints on working with vintage or used chandelier and hints on hanging a chandelier.