DIY Chandelier

Remake a tired chandelier to create an eye-catching light fixture with panache. This do-it-yourself chandelier can be finished with only a few supplies and a little bit of time.


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We ditched the brass and glass and gave this Craigslist find a fresh look with an easy DIY project. The idea is easy to replicate with almost any outdated hanging light fixture. A new shade and bright color can bring an old chandelier up-to-date. Plus, your selection of fabric and paint can coordinate it with a room makeover. You'll get a chandelier that looks brand-new at a fraction of the cost. The main investments: a lampshade and your time. Here's how.

What you'll need:

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  • Chandelier (The one we used is pictured to the right.)
  • Painter's tape
  • Spray paint
  • Drum shade
  • Fabric to cover shade (see instructions for measurements)
  • Spray adhesive
  • Fabric trim, such as bias tape, cording, or braid
  • Hot-glue gun and glue sticks
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Step 1: Disassemble the light fixture. Be sure the surfaces are clean and free of dust. Discard the glass shade or set aside for another purpose. Cover each lightbulb socket with painter's tape.

Step 2: For a smooth, even finish, use spray paint. (Sand the fixture lightly and use a spray primer if the color doesn't adhere well.) Spray the fixture, chain, and cord with a fresh, bright color. We used lime green. Allow the paint to dry.

Step 3: Choose a shade fabric to coordinate with the paint color. A bright cotton print works well. Before purchasing fabric to cover the shade, measure the circumference of the drum shade and add 6 inches to the measurement to allow for a small overlap. Make a paper pattern of the shade to ensure the fit. Place the pattern on the fabric, pin, and cut out. Check the fit on the drum shade.

Step 4: Spray adhesive on the wrong side of the fabric, and carefully lay the fabric on the shade, smoothing out any bubbles. At the seam, fold the top raw edge under and hot-glue in place.

Step 5: Hide the top and bottom raw edges of the fabric with the trim of your choice (we used bias tape) adhered with hot glue.

Step 6: Reassemble the light fixture, replacing the old shade with your new fabric-covered shade; tighten any screws, remove the painter's tape, and insert lightbulbs.

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