Once upon a time, I lived in a house in which almost every room was lit by a bare lightbulb hanging from the ceiling.
And I was perpetually on the hunt for light fixtures. Not just any light fixtures, but beautiful, shimmery ones that made my heart sing a blissful little tune. One day, I happened upon this guy at Horchow:
It was only $549, so I almost bought it…
…but then I remembered that I do not live the kind of life in which dropping half a grand on a fancy non-essential is ever gonna happen.
So I put on my DIY thinking cap and decided it was time to make my own! I hit pinterest and searched it so hard for a DIY capiz shell chandelier, but I couldn’t find anything like it. I brainstormed, hunted, thought a lot, stared blankly into walls hoping an idea would strike… nothin’.
Until one day when I was blissfully shopping at TJ Maxx. I guess that’s a redundant sentence: all TJ Maxx shopping is done blissfully. I saw this capiz shell tealight holder out of the corner of my eye on a far away shelf…
and probably actually took flight across the store, landing a few feet away and sliding into the shelf like home base. I KNEW we could make this bad boy into a hanging light somehow. It was marked $59, but it had a bent petal so I asked the manager what she could do and she knocked 10 percent off the price. WIN.
It’s just like those hanging lights, except inside it there’s a place to put three tealights:
Andy just bent those metal tealight pieces until they broke off, and we started thinking about how to hang the light. We needed a metal downrod that would extend from the ceiling to the light to encase the wiring, and a way to wire a bulb inside. We found this Januari lamp at ikea, and picked it up for about $7:
The rod was the perfect length, and it was already made to connect to a lightbulb. Pretty sweet right? This was shaping up nicely!
We also grabbed two ceiling canopies – one we had on hand from an old light fixture and another from the lighting department at the hardware store. (Kinda like this, but I lost my actual photos):
We spray-painted everything silver and it was time to assemble!
Andy hot-glued one ceiling canopy to the inside of the capiz thingy. It was just a little bit wider than the hole where you insert the tealights.
(I like to point out when Andy is the one doing things in photos, so you don’t think that I have giant veiny man-hands and hairy man-knees.)
(Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)
Then Andy, with his hairy backs-of-hands, took the Ikea lamp, minus the base, and threaded it up through the hole in the ceiling canopy.
He threaded wires from the other end of the lamp through the second ceiling canopy:
And screwed it onto the ikea lamp base with a washer and nut.
Well, not in the office, anyway. There are still others throughout the house…
Update: We got a few questions asking how we change the lightbulb. You can see in this “before” pic that there’s a hole in the top and bottom, so we can just reach up inside it to change the bulb. Super easy!
This chandelier cost us under $65 total, plus a little spray paint we already had on hand.
That’s more like it!
Yet another reason why I love DIY: with a little creativity and a LOT of patience, you can have higher-end looks for a much tinier price tag. And that makes me, and my man-with-manly-man-hands very, very happy.
Have you ever made a hanging light? Do you have giant knobby knuckles? It’s a good look, guys. It’s a good look.
P.S.: If you’re on the hunt for some inexpensive lighting ideas, you’ll LOVE this page! It’s a collection of all our DIY lighting ideas, all done on the TINIEST of budgets!