Are you hooked on rustic French country style? I am too! I just can’t get enough of it, so when a gorgeous antique, wooden French chandelier jumped off the page of my home decor magazine… well, I just knew that I had to try to make it. NO! Not full sized, silly. In 1/12 scale miniature for my little shabby chic cottage.
The original chandelier in the magazine was made of wood and had a white washed look to it. I wanted to make my fixture look even more rustic, like wood and old black metal that had been painted white, but has rusted and chipped over time. I think that it shows upscale, chic distress, don’t you?
In this tutorial I used very common items to make something uncommonly CUTE! I’m pretty confident that you’ll agree with me, so follow along to make your own version of this striking little chandelier.
The first step was to draw out the shape of the frame arms. Click here if you would like a jpeg of the pattern.
I used craft colored card stock to cut out sixteen arms. My Cricut cutting machine was perfect for this. It is an older version so it really doesn’t cut anything thicker than card-stock. You will need four layers glued together if you use card-stock and less if you use chipboard, of course. AND, you wouldn’t have to use a machine – an X-acto knife or scissors will do just fine.
Now get out your stash of miscellaneous stuff. You know, the box of bits and pieces like electrical parts and parts that are who-knows-what. Rummage through and pick out things that look promising. The first photo shows what I thought that I might use. As I started to build my lamp, I realized that I would need something to hold the rounded ball end my chandelier. Hence, the gold toned plastic bead to steady my assembly while glue dries.
OK, having shown you what a mess I make in deciding what to pull out to build a French country chandelier, this is what I finally ended up using. This picture can be a kind of supplies photo for you, but of course, you will not have the same bits as I do in your stash box, so it’s only a suggested supply photo. AND it will makes more sense when you follow along on the instructions.
Included in the supply photo is a 3 volt battery and a cell battery holder with an on/off switch along with 3 LED nano lights. I ordered them here: cell battery holder and switch and here: 3v-led-lighting On both of these links, you will find complete instructions for the wiring process. If you have not done it before, check it out, you may be surprised at how easy it is to wire a dollhouse lamp.
You will also need something for the electrical pole that runs up the center of the chandelier to hide the wires. I used plastic coffee stirrers. There is one long, uncut piece and three little pieces cut to about 3/8″. The little pieces will be the “candles”.
Of course, you will need the cut out cardstock or chipboard “arms”. Then there is a round-end screw( don’t know what this is), three gold toned beads for the candle base. three little cuts of 18 gauge wire, two parts of a large snap and one rubber washer.
To start the build, I layered that silver colored ball screw thingie through one part of a large snap and fixed it in place with E-6000. You can see that in the photo above.
Then the arms were glued into the snap. In this photo, they weren’t quite in place yet, but you get the picture. Try to space the arms as evenly around and into the snap part as you can. If you need to trim them to fit inside the snap part, do so.
Once the glue has dried on the bottom of the arms, you will be ready to glue the tops together. Glue them so that the rod (AKA the plastic coffee stirrer) will feed through the center of the frame as shown in the photo below.
I used E-6000 to glue the other half of the large snap onto the top part of the chandelier just to give it a finished look. A black rubber washer was then glued to the inside of the frame. The washer will hold my “candle” assemblies in place.
I’ve lined up the “electric candle” supplies in the photo in the order that they will be assembled.
To make one of the “electric candles”, you will need:
1. a short length of coffee stirrer. Mine are cut to about 3/8″ in length.
2. a piece of 12 gauge wire. (This is cut to about 1-1/8″) 1 nano LED and a little round bead for the handle holder.
3. 1 nano LED and a little round bead for the candle holder.
Assemble the electric candle as shown. Thread the LED light through the coffee stirrer, then run the piece of 12 gauge wire into the stirrer making sure not to break the LED wires. Be gentle. Now thread the little bead onto the black wire and glue into place. I used a dab of jewelry super glue for this. When the glue is dry, wrap the LED wire around the 12 gauge wire and bend at a right angle. as shown in the photo. Do this for all three candles.
Take a look at the photos above. Can you see how there is a space between the bottom of the black rubber washer? See how there is also a hole in the middle of the washer? This is where I positioned the candles. The reason that I used this washer with a hole in it is that I needed to be able to attach the candles and also run the LED wires up into and out of the top of the chandelier. Position the bent 12 gauge (black,thick wire) wire tabs into the side of the chandelier making sure to feed the LED wires up through that hole in the washer.
Gather all of the three LED light wires and feed them through the plastic conduit pipe (coffee stirrer). Pull the LED wires taught to hold the candles in place, but be gentle. I didn’t anchor the “candle” assemblies with glue because I worry that someday, someone may need to rewire the fixture or change a light or something. So, no glue on the candles. Fix the conduit pipe into place at the top part of the chandelier with glue and you are finally ready to start painting this thing. YAY!
I put another thick coat of white gesso over everything except the LED lights. Even the “candles” got dabs of gesso to simulate dripping wax. Let the gesso dry and then you can start the antiquing process.
You probably already have your own antiquing process, but here is what I did. My first coat of acrylic paint was of a rusty red color spotted here and there like rust would do. Then I dabbed black paint where I thought that the white paint might look chipped. Finally, I added a little more antique white paint, let that dry and gave it a light sanding with an emery board cut into little strips.
Here are a few more glamour shots of my little chandelier as it looks in low light ad in darker light.
In looking at them, I wonder, did Halloween affect my design? Does my adorable little rustic french country chandelier now look like a pumpkin? 😅😅😅 Ah well, and so it goes…