Beaded Chandelier – Part II The Build
Ok, now that we have all the custom beaded chandelier parts and pieces together we’re ready to build! For a full list of materials check out Part I of the Beaded Chandelier tutorial. The project from this point can easily take a day or two. I’m lucky enough to have a fiance who doesn’t mind a ladder set up in our living room for a day or two while the build was in progress So let’s get started!
First you need to take your threaded nipples, couplers, hex nuts, cluster socket,lamp rings, and loops. You’ll need to screw them all together until you get the frame that you want. Here’s a photo and if you look close you can see all the pieces. I like to add hex nuts on either side of the lamp rings to keep them in place.
As you can see we have about 6 different shades of metal right now, even though most of the structure isn’t visible later on I like to add a coat of spray paint to the whole thing so that it is a uniform shade of color. I chose gold metallic for this project. Make sure you tape off electrical sockets before you paint.
Here’s it all painted gold and drying…After it completely dried I went ahead and spliced the small cord that came with the socket to my longer cording. I don’t have a photo of this process but it’s pretty basic. Just twist together the new wire and the old wire and cover with electrical tape. Then squeeze it inside the threaded rod so that it is concealed.
Once the paint is dry take your frame inside and find a spot you can hang it and word from it. I’ve found the spreader on a ladder works well…for me. You’ll need to figure out how many beads each strand should have. For my project I used (12) 6mm beads, (10) 8mm beads, (7) 10mm beads, and finally (5) 12mm beads. I stared with one strand on each side to make sure it looked like I wanted.
I found the best way to tie these was to first tie a piece of my mono filament to the bottom ring. Then I would cut off the end 5″ longer than I really needed to reach the top ring. I would then start placing all my beads on the strand.
Then take the strand and tie it to the top ring. I like to do a simple around and through once kind of knot which allows me to pull on the loose end to raise and lower the bead strand. Once I have it in the exact position I want I wrap the loose end around the strand hanging down several times, and then back up through the original knot. Sounds complicated…I stole this knot from my days fishing..and it is really easy once you get the hang of it! I’m sure you real jewlery makers out there know a better way….if you do please let me in on your secret!
Each time I started a new strand I would separate out the beads I would need in that particular strand into pie tins. This made it easier to not have to count as you go…one little distraction and you’re re-counting everything you already have…
Now just repeat this process over and over and over again. I had 63 total strands on my 12″ diameter chandelier, but you can put as many or as few as you like.
Once you’re done make sure all your strands are spaced how you like. You’ll have a ton of tails from all strands like in the photo below. At this step I like to do a final tug on each one to make sure the knot is secure, then clip off the tails about 1/4″ from the knot. To make your knots more secure take and place a little dab of E6000 around each know. Really helps them to hold.
Then I took my orange leather cord and weaved it around the bottom ring. Use E6000, clever knotting, clothes pins, and extra mono-filament to secure as you go. Once I got to the very end my E6000 wasn’t holding the leather, so I used some mono-filament to secure it to the ring. This stuff is nearly invisible and really secures the leather in place.
Next I move to the top ring. I check every knot to see that it is secure and cut it off 1/2- 1/4″ from the knot. I took and applied a dab of E6000 to every single knot and all around the top ring itself to hold all the strands in place.
This not only secures the knot but provides a base for attaching your thickened ring around the top. I took my plastic banding, cut it just a little longer than the ring circumference then started applying the band using clothes pins along the way to secure it to the ring while the glue dried.
You can also apply some glue to the back of the band, just above the lamp ring to help hold more if you need it. Once the glue dries you can start to wrap your band in the material of your choice…in my case it was 2mm leather cording.
Here you can see when I started my strand I just wrapped it around itself until it was secure. When I got back to the same spot I used mono-filament to secure the loose tail. Just pull the mono tight between the leather in the front and you’ll never see your tie on the finished product.
I took some more leather cording and wrapped the top loop also, securing my tail pieces again using mono-filament.
To finish off the bottom I didn’t want the steel all-thread just hanging down…so I opted for a coupler on the bottom and glued a matching bead on the inside for a finished look. If you wanted a tassel instead you could tie the end together with mono filament and then glue the cluster inside the coupler as well…so this base piece would work well with a lot of designs.
Attach the chain to the top loop and you’re ready to hang! Here’s the finished product.
Do you remember Krista’s Custom Beaded Chandelier that made it all the way to the Washington Post? That one was built with many of the same materials and procedures, so the options for your finished chandelier are endless!