I absolutely love the capiz shell chandeliers. You know, the ones that cost anywhere from $200 to $600 for a medium size light? Whoa! It is
insane impractical for me to spent so much, although the shine of those beautiful capiz shells almost makes impossible to resist. But what if there was a way to make a cheap-o imitation that gave those shells a run for their money? Ah, but there is! Ready for the secret? Wax paper. Yep, that’s right. It’s plain wax paper. I’m almost finished with my little project and wanted to share it. The cost: $25.
Here’s the run-down on how you can wow visitors without spending the
insane impractical amount of money.
- wax paper rolls (3 should be plenty)
- parchment paper (available in the baking supplies)
- something to use as a frame (hanging plant basket, lampshade frame, etc.)
- plenty of small beads
- sewing needle
- white thread
- something to cut circles (consider an X-acto circle cutter or a circle punch)
- Spray paint your frame the desired color (I painted my plant basket white)
- Tear 3 pieces of wax paper to the same length
- Tear 3 pieces of parchment paper a little longer than you wax paper
- Place 2 pieces of parchment paper underneath the wax paper and one on top of the wax paper
- Using an iron on medium setting, heat the entire surface to melt the 3 pieces of wax paper together. When this is done, trim the excess edges from the now single piece.
- Allow a minute for the wax paper to cool. After it is cooled, begin cutting circles using an X-acto circle cutter or circle punch. I used the X-acto cutter because it was cheaper but a circle punch would make this process go much more quickly.
- Repeat steps 2-5 until you have the desired number of circles.
- Tie your basket or lampshade from the ceiling with the larger open side up. This will give you a good area to work from all sides.
- The number of circles you will need will depend entirely on the size of the chandelier you want to make. My chandelier is about 48″ long, 12″ wide, and has 4 tiers. I used about 800 circles.
- Time to begin stringing the circles! This where it gets fun because you get to see your chandelier take shape! You will begin with your longest strands (for my chandelier, these strands contained 20 circles.) There is definitely no set number of strands you need.
- To begin your first strand, take a small bead and thread it onto your string. Tie a double knot around it at one end of your string. After threading your needle, take your first “capiz shell” and pull the needle through the bottom and then back through the top. Pull the circle until it rests on the bead at the end of your string. Continue this process until you have all of your circles on this strand. Then, tie another bead to the open end of the string.
- When you finish making your longest strands, tie them to the lowest center point of your frame. Since your frame should be hanging like a bowl, this would be the underside of your bowl.
- You can add as many tiers as you like, making them shorter each time. My chandelier contains a bottom tier of strands with 20 circles, a lower middle tier with 16 circles, an upper middle tier with 11 circles, and a top tier with 5 circles.
- Once all of your tiers are attached to your frame, you can hot glue ribbon, beads, fringe, etc. around the top of chandelier to hide to knots from the strings of the first tier.
- To hang your chandelier as a more permanent light fixture, have someone with experience (PLEASE) hang a simple light fixture for you. Flush-mount lights are perfect for this! I chose to use this light fixture because it has a glass globe to help with the heat issue.
- Attach your chandelier around the light using cup hooks.
- Congrats! You’re finished and only spent about $25 for a like-alike capiz chandelier!
My faux capiz chandelier is destined to hang above our bed. I initially wanted it to hang above our dining table, but the amount of light it gives off is more comparable to a lamp than a permanent light fixture. It is the perfect amount to add a soft glow in a bedroom, however! As soon as I get it hung, I’ll update with some pictures. Let me know if you have questions or comments!
Just a reminder, please be careful when you are dealing with things like a hot iron and sharp tools, especially if you have pets and children. This should be a fun project, but we don’t want any unfortunate events happening! Thanks!