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DIY Wine Glass Chandelier: Guest Project

20 August 2010

Gaby at After the Before, But Before The After has decided to replace an old chandelier with a totally new self make wine glass chandelier.  See for your self and be amazed at the transformation.

You might remember my post about the lovely chandelier that inhabited my dining room and my post about the chandelier I wish were hanging in my dining room. Well,worry no more! This past weekend that monstrosity from the 70's was replaced!

But first, a few before pictures of what came with our house.

In case anyone needs to borrow a bong, I have 5.

Please take notice of the blue paperclip holding the canopy plate in place. Very classy.
It isn't a classy chandelier without paint splashes everywhere.
I would have loved to buy a Chandelini (created by Touch Design Studios), but I don't think $1,995 was in our budget for a chandelier. Instead we opted to make our own.

I originally found this tutorial for a mason jar chandelier over at kara paslay designs and figured it shouldn't be that difficult to tweak her instructions to work for my wine glass idea.
We started brainstorming on the best way to execute our plan, with structural integrity being #1 on the list and aesthetics being #2. Let me tell you, we were almost divorced by the time we finished this little project AND we haven't even gotten married yet!

But here she is, our pride and joy, in all her glory!


Close up.
View from the bottom.

With the lights dimmed down.

Here's the full how-to (sorry in advance for the lack of pictures):

After numerous trips to Home Depot, Lowe's, Michael's, Jo-Ann's, Goodwill, Bed Bath & Beyond, and Wal-Mart we finally had what we needed. Drum roll please.......

4 - keyless sockets (the kind for candelabras)
9 ft - cut to length lamp wire (size 18-2)
4 - nipples (we bought a pack similar to this one and used the 1" and 1-1/2" nipples)
1 - 4" offset crossbar
8 - hex nuts
2 - 3" machine screws
1 roll - fishing line
4 - candelabra light bulbs
2 - wire connectors
1 - 3/8" diamond core glass/tile drill bit
4 - 21oz stemless wine glasses
1 - 16" ceiling medallion (optional)
1 - 3/16" x 1-1/2" steel ring
60 - 3mm (#3) crimp beads 
1 - crimp tool 
20-25 - wine/champagne/martini glasses (we used 22)
1 - canopy plate (We used the plate from the chandelier we took down. However, we found that the opening for most  canopy plates at the hardware stores were too small. So I would suggest you go with Kara's idea in her tutorial and use a PVC end cap and just drill a hole big enough to fit your wires/fishing line)

Once you've gathered all your supplies, start by drilling a hole (using your diamond core drill bit) into the bottom of your 4 stemless wine glasses. Make sure the drill bit you purchase is 3/8" because that is the only size that will work with the lamp nipples. There are other varieties of glass drill bits that are cheaper, but we found that the diamond core drill bit works much better and is 10000x faster than the spade shaped glass bits. 

NOTE: When drilling make sure to follow the instructions for the drill bit and provide water lubrication. We did this by placing the glass in a large Tupperware container and while one person drilled the hole, the other stood over the container slowly dribbling water over the glass/bit. And PLEASE wear eye and hand protection while drilling!

Holes drilled, wire cut.

Next you want to cut your lamp wire into 4 equal parts, each should be around 24-1/4". Now you want to wire the lamp cord into the keyless sockets (it's pretty easy, just follow the directions provided with the sockets). Once that's done, you need to slide the cord through the hole of the glass so that the socket is inside the glass and the cord is dangling outside. To secure it in place, you want to screw on a hex nut.  
Be sure to do tighten the hex nut by hand since tightening it too hard can cause the glass to break.

Sockets in place.

Next, you want to start stringing the fishing line around the stem of each wine glass. I used an  improved clinch knot and then finished it off with a crimp bead for added security (this video was very helpful in learning how to tie the knot correctly). Leave about 2ft of fishing line hanging from each glass.

Improved Clinch Knot
For added security and so that the weight of the stemless glasses wasn't being held up by the lamp wire, we also tied some fishing line around the nipple right above the hex nut. We tied it as tight as we could and then slipped another hex nut on top of the fishing line to secure it in place.

Now it's time to install it. The first thing you should do is TURN YOUR BREAKER OFF! Then you want to install the offset crossbar. I didn't do these steps myself, but if you follow the directions on the packaging you should be fine. One thing we did change was adding the steel ring to the crossbar. This steel ring is what will be holding up all the fishing line so it needs to be supported by the crossbar.

Thread ring over crossbar, then install crossbar.
Now you want to tie the fishing line of the stemless glasses to the steel ring using the improved clinch knot and crimp bead. It is recommended that chandeliers hang 30" from the ceiling, but since our ceiling is pretty low we hung it at about 22". String the stemless glasses at whatever height you want them. I strung them each at a different height so that the light would cascade down.

Remember to thread your fishing line through the ceiling medallion (if you are using one) and the canopy plate. If you don't follow this step, you'll be cutting down the fishing line to start over again like we did. You don't have to secure either one at this point, just let them hang.

Canopy plate and ceiling medallion in place.
Now you want to take the lamp cord that is hanging from your stemless glasses and connect them to the wires in the ceiling. Again, I didn't do this part.... but I'm told it's fairly simple.

The black wire coming out of the ceiling is the hot, and the white wire is the neutral. Take the ends of your lamp wire and strip them about 1/2"-1". Twist all the hot wires together (the smooth wires), and then twist all the neutral wires together (the ribbed wires). Now you want to twist your twisted bunch of hot wires to the black wire coming out of the ceiling, use your wire connectors to tighten and secure the wires together. Do the same for the white wire coming out of the ceiling and neutral twisted bunch. We left some slack on the lamp cords so that they don't end up carrying the weight of the chandelier.

Now it's time to hang the rest of the wine glasses. Tie the finishing line to the steel ring and use a crimp bead to secure the line in place. Raise and lower each line to get the shape/body you want. I bought a pack of 12 nuance goblet wine glasses and used those for "filler" just to take up space and give it more body. I then purchased 12 glasses of varying sizes (small wine glasses and champagne glasses) to finish it off. I put the small glasses towards the top and dangled the champagne glasses towards the bottom.

Once that's done, hold your ceiling medallion and canopy plate against the ceiling and screw the machine screws through the canopy plate holes into the holes in the crossbar as tight as you can. 

Finally, stand back and admire the beauty!!

On a side note, it really annoys me that the cardboard body of the keyless sockets are pretty visible. So I went out and bought some Rust-Oleum High Heat spray paint in white to paint the cardboard wraps. I haven't gotten around to that yet, but as soon as I do I will post an after picture.

I hope you found my instructions useful and if anyone decides to try this out I'd love to see pictures!

Cost Breakdown
keyless sockets = $8 (Lowe's)
lamp wire $3 (Home Depot)
lamp nipples =  $2 (Lowe's)
offset crossbar = $2 (Home Depot)
hex nuts = $2 (Home Depot)
machine screws = $2 (Home Depot)
fishing line = $3 (Wal-Mart)
candelabra light bulbs = $6
wire connectors = $2 (Home Depot)
glass drill bit = $17 (Lowe's)
pack of 12 wine glasses = $8 (w/ coupon at Bed Bath & Beyond)
12 glasses of varying sizes = $7 (Goodwill)
stemless wine glasses = $7 (Homegoods)
ceiling medallion = $20 (Home Depot)
steel ring = $2 (Home Depot)
crimp beads = $9 (Jo-Ann's)
crimp tool = $10 (w/ coupon at Jo-Ann's)

How about that for a new wine glass chandelier?


Ann @ makethebestofthings August 20, 2010 at 12:06 PM  

This is totally FABULOUS! One of the most breathtaking chandelier projects I've seen online...make it THE most breathtaking! Thanks for all the details, this one is just gorgeous!

Denise Marie August 20, 2010 at 12:21 PM  

looks terrific and I bet you loved every minute of making this piece. We had a beauty similar to yours and ripped it out real quick like. lol

I would love to do the mason jar light. I've seen it recently somewhere.

cheeky curves August 20, 2010 at 2:36 PM  

That is really something, I would never have thought of making a chandelier

Debbie August 20, 2010 at 3:06 PM  

WOW! I am beyond impressed!!! Especially to see what your "before" was to the "after". I'm sure it will be the talk of your home for a long time to home. Contrats on a great project!!

Dana August 23, 2010 at 11:54 AM  

Wow, I've never seen champagne glasses created into a chandelier great work.

Gaby September 4, 2010 at 5:28 AM  

Thank you for featuring me! And thank you to everyone for the wonderful comments! :)

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