The finished creation, a DIY rhinestone chandelier on a tight budget! I was able to replace the ugly light fixture in my rental apartment with this do-it-yourself home decor project.
Pictured above is my 1lb bag of rhinestones. Totally necessary and not excessive at all. I got mine for a reasonable price (and with a 40% off coupon) from Michaels craft store. I opted for clear to keep my chandelier classy, but Michaels also had colored gems that would be fun to play with. One pound of rhinestones was around 20$ CAD without any sales or discounts.
You will also need supplies:
- A round base that will fit around the lightbulb + hardware where you intend to mount it (I use a wire mesh food cover, similar to a sieve. Use your imagination, but don’t use plastic)
- A hot glue gun & lots of glue
- White or clear string (sewing thread won’t work, FYI)
- Hardware for mounting your chandelier. (Every home will be different.)
- Patience & a good tv series (Be warned it’s a tedious project)
If you’re using a base with a handle on it: The food cover that I chose to use as the frame of my chandelier has a little plastic handle in the center. You’ll notice that in the following project, I leave it intact until I’m practically finished the chandelier. Don’t make that mistake. In retrospect, I would have removed this plastic handle right away, before even plugging in the glue gun. It was absolutely no fun to smash the handle off with a hammer, while simultaneously trying not to ruin hours of tedious rhinestone work.
Pictured above are my rhinestone strands. I hot glued the string between 2 rhinestones, about an inch apart, to create strands of 5. In total, each strand had 10 rhinestones, plus an extra for gluing to the chandelier base. You will need to prepare these rhinestone strands en masse. You will make good use of your pound of rhinestones, and gluing the strands will take up the bulk of your time.
Once I had a stockpile of rhinestone strands I started on the outermost rim and hot glued 1 strand of rhinestones roughly every inch along the edge. I personally didn’t actually go to the trouble of measuring, but then again, I also have a knack for accuracy. When gluing, don’t forget which way up your chandelier will hang!
You can see that each strand hangs at a slightly different length. My rhinestones aren’t spaced evenly either, because it would have taken way too long to measure each one. It’s alright, nobody will notice the imperfections.
Here, you can get an idea of what the chandelier will look like with the first layer finished. I ended up using 36 strands for a 37” circumference, so almost strand one every inch. Told ya I was accurate! So far I’ve used over 400 rhinestones for my light fixture.
Now would be the time to trim the ends of your strings, and cover the rim of your base in rhinestones.
Halfway there, it’s time to start the second layer! I used the same pattern of 5 rhinestones for my strands, but you could totally experiment with longer strands.
First, use your best judgement to figure out roughly how far from the center the second layer should hang. I used a piece of tape to help me measure the placement of the first strands. I glued a strand at the north/south/right/left of the mesh base. At this point I flipped the chandelier over and made sure I liked the placement and that everything was right side up.
Then, I glued another 4 strands in the spaces between the first four rhinestones. I checked the placement again, and filled in the rest of the second layer with strands of rhinestones. You can never have too many- am I right? I also added a third inner layer, composed of smaller rhinestones! You can see the placement above.
Here’s the chandelier, all done and hung up in my rental!
Remember that little handle on my wire base? I was able to smash it out with a hammer and was left with a perfect little hole in the center of the mesh. I attached my chandelier to the existing light fixture in my apartment using an extra large washer, which I took the liberty of covering in rhinestones. Once you manage to hang it up – you’re done!
I’m happy with the way it turned out! The chandelier makes my bedroom feel special and romantic every day. You would never find a rental with a nice chandelier, so it was nice to replace the ugly old light fixture . Plus, I can take it with me when I move!
xo lauren harris graphics