Thursday, February 3, 2011

Reuse ~ Repurpose: Week 5

Finished Chandy for the bare bulb
This week's reuse/repurpose idea is a Found Glass & Crystal Chandelier. Do you have any bare bulb lamps in your home? I have this one in the hallway that we could never find the right sized cover for, as it's quite an old fixture, and we didn't want to do a completely new re-wiring job on it. I've wanted to do something interesting with it since moving in!

So... I had collected a bunch of heavy pieces of glass from the river that runs through town, over summer. I wasn't sure how I was going to use it, but I felt like it was a good thing, as I was picking up this junk out of the riverbanks, where it was possible that people or animals could get hurt. The interesting aspect of the glass was that the pieces were obviously very old, and some had become iridescent with a mineral patina. Also, you could make out words or letters on some of the bits, and with the odd shaped facets on some, well, I knew I'd figure out some way of using them!

To start, you need some wire, both for the base of the structure, and also to string together your glass. I used craft wire for the base, which I think is around 14 gauge.

I created this using the diameter of the throat of the bare bulb.
 Then you need the wire for stringing, and I used a 24 gauge craft wire, though I had all kinds of lighter gauge copper wire. The lighter gauge will be good for a lot of projects, but I felt the heavier, yet pliable, 24 gauge was perfect.

 I started by cutting a piece of the heavy gauge craft wire and making a sort of bracelet to go around the base of the bare bulb fixture that I wanted to make the chandelier for. Then I created the hook and loop using a pair of pliers.
 Next, I cut a length of the 24 ga. wire, and started to wrap a piece of the glass that I had gathered for the project. Be careful of your fingers, as this type of glass has sharp edges. However, if you use beach glass, you won't have to worry! I also used some crystal drops that I had found at yard sales and vintage stores throughout the years, to add some more standard-looking appeal to the piece.

Found glass bits & pieces

Starting a section of the drops

Wind however it feels best
 I made sure that each piece of glass was securely fastened by winding the wire around in different directions. I added curls of wire, here and there, where I wanted some more whimsy.

 I made about five or six drops that I hung from the supporting bracelet piece, and hung them on, spacing them around equally. At this point, the top looked a bit bare, so I made some strings of beads, glass, faceted crystals to loop fancifully around the top until it was as full looking as I wanted.

The nice thing about making your own "chandelier" to cover a bulb is that you can go as crazy as you want. Be sure to use materials that are safe getting heated next to a bulb. The bulbs I have are all eco-bulbs, and low-wattage, but you still need to consider this. Safety first!! I hope you've enjoyed this little project, and consider saving broken cut-glass bowls (safely) for goofy projects like this one! You could also just make a glass mobile or light-catcher for your backyard or anywhere you want to add some glittery, sparkly whimsy!


Anonymous said...

It's gorgeous Shari and another brilliant idea. We often collect sea glass on our walks at the beach and I've never been sure what to do with it but a light fixing or a mobile would look lovely. Hope your back is feeling a little better x

shari said...

Thanks, Shell! Yes, sea glass is perfect for this kind of project! Get some wire and start wrapping!

Yes, my bum is better... though I have to sit very carefully! ;-) Thanks for the well-wish!

Terriaw said...

This looks beautiful! I love the idea. I have always wanted to find and collect sea glass but I never come across any pieces on our adventures. This reminds me of how lovely light looks shining through stained glass or mosaic windows. Great reuse!

shari said...

Thanks, Terri! I am a glass hound. I seem to sniff it out, whether on beaches or out and about in other terrains. The most found was at the river's edge, but sometimes along rail road tracks, too!

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