How to Make a Chandelier

I’ve long since loved this West Elm capiz shell chandelier however, it was about $250 out of our price range. I was so excited last year when Brenna did a paper version chandelier tutorial on design sponge.

We started with this thrifted lamp shade. I had Chris add an extra row of wire.

Using Brenna’s tutorial, we made + cut wax paper circles. Then Cami + I sewed them together on the machine.

Here is our before light. Oh mylanta, can I tell you how much I hate these lights? We took off the glass, obvi.

Then, Chris installed these hooks to the ceiling.

 He then hung the chandelier.

Here it is with the light on, wayyy better right?

And with the light off, so very pretty. Also, total cost of our chandelier, $9.

More Detailed Instructions

A video to show you  my sewing technique.

Follow up to this post here.



  1. Chelsea Stalnaker :
    So cute! If we didn't have ceiling fans in every room, I would definitely try to make something like this.
  2. Angeline :
    Once again - I am amazed! Love it!
  3. Yolanda @ Miss Refashionista :
    I want on soooooo bad!!

    Gotta try this!

    Thanks for sharing!
  4. kyla :
    I totally thought it was one of those expensive ones! Wax paper, who knew?! Thanks for sharing!!
  5. A.J. Dub. :
    Very cool!
  6. g :
    amazing! how many circles did this take? and how are they attached at the top? i would love to make this too! thanks for sharing!
  7. C. Jordan :
    I love this! I don't have a kid's room to makeover... but I might makeover my own with this beautiful chandelier!
  8. sarah marie. :
    i love it! i just may try it..
  9. shoutingforha :
    Love the chandelier! As a side note, you are the only person (other than me) that I have every heard use the phrase, "Oh mylanta." I say it all the time.
  10. brianna kim :
    Wow this is amazing. Great job!
  11. HardySupplyCo :
    I can't tell you how excited I am! Every bedroom in our house has the same horrible light fixtures...similar to your before pic. Now I know what to do about them :)
  12. AprilMayAugust :
    Oh I am SO doing this in my daughter's bedroom! I love the way yours looks!
  13. Elaine :
    Um... I LOVE IT. Wanna try it when I have a bajillion hours in a day.
  14. Sara :
    Most excellent! I love those shell versions that I've seen here and there, but this is the first tutorial I've seen for making one! So easy!
  15. Becky :
    I love it! I want to try it, but am I the only one nervous about using paper so close to the light source? Am I missing something?
  16. Jessica :
    that's brilliant. It almost makes me wish we have one of those hideous lights in the middle of my ceiling.
  17. Erin :
    that is seriously awesome susan!
  18. Jordan :
    Oh heck yes! I'm making one of these babies. Thanks for the tutorial!
  19. pocketwonders :
    Wow! This is super neat! Thanks for sharing :)
  20. Maggie :
    love it! looks great. Must be better than the DS one cause I wasn't inspired the first time I saw it, but after seeing yours, I am.
  21. Allie :
    wow. very nice. looks great in that room. :)
  22. Miranda :
    Holy crap. I could kiss you on the mouth right now. We have that exact same square light in our bedroom right now and every night I stare at it with all the hate I can muster. Now I can make a fake capiz and be happy once more!
  23. Sarah@AlpinePoppy :
    Oh mylanta! I love it :)
  24. Girlglasses :
    It's amazing. I've seen it done before, but this one inspires me to do one for my son's room! Thank you.
  25. Kristen {RAGE against the MINIVAN} :
    Love this!!
  26. Marilyn :
    So awesome. You really really rock!
  27. Vicki :
    WOW! Great job! It looks so profesh! :) Take that, West Elm!
  28. Libby :
  29. Tina :
  30. Natalie Elphinstone :
    Brilliant! Just brilliant!!
  31. Michelle :
    Love this! Linked up on my blog!!
  32. bingo online :
    Very beautiful and attractive work you shown here. It is such a very beautiful project.
  33. rebecca :
    oh my! this is incredible - I WILL make one very soon! thanks for sharing!
  34. Kara :
    I big fat heart this. Fabulous job.
  35. John :
    how many circles did you need and you used more of a thread than a ribbon. Could you elaborate on that technique?
  36. the lil bee :
    Absolutely gorgeous! I am so impressed--love a good DIY.

    PS: I have a similar West Elm chandelier and am now feeling less than. So, you know, thanks for that ;)
  37. Our Little Beehive :
  38. elizatruitt :
    So cool looking but yikes, isn't this a giant fire hazard?
  39. Anonymous :
    I use less strands so more light can come through.
  40. Anonymous :
    oh my, my heart is fluttering with excitment. what did you use to cut the circles?
  41. Nicole :
    Looks great!

    Also, not a fire hazard as she's using cfl light bulbs. if you'd want to be even more careful, splurge on some led bulbs.
  42. Vero S. :
    Awesome! I really want to make one..but quick question, how did you attach the strands to the metal lamp shade? tks!
  43. me, rachel :
    What is the diameter of the circles you cut? That would be wonderful to know before I go buy a cutter!
  44. Anonymous :
    where is the cute bed from?
  45. Susan :

    we used about 1000 circles. i wanted it to be really full.

    to sew i used the chain piece method, typically used by quilters.

    here is an example.
  46. Susan :
    i used a 3m circle cutter, but martha makes a great 1.5 inch hole punch.

    we made the strands long enough to hand over the frame.

    me, rachel,
    our circles are 1.5 inches in diameter.

    my husband made the beds. i'll share how next week.
  47. Kim :
    Beautiful.... but OMG! that seems like a MAJOR fire hazard, especially when not protected from the direct heat of the bulbs by the original shade. I think I'd split the difference and see if I could find glass or capiz disks and string them together. Major kudos for the effect and ingenuity though. Bravo!
  48. Susan :
    thank you so much.
    i was so apprehensive at first, but my husband + i did multiple heat tests to make sure that the design was safe. it is.
    we used high efficiency bulbs which don't get nearly as hot as regular bulbs.
  49. Lisa :
    Love, love, love this! What was your technique for sewing them together on the machine?! I'm just picturing myself trying to do it... with a flurry of wax paper circles surrounding me!
  50. Wendy :
    Oh my bakin' yak!!!~~ I'm totally in love, and on the verge of running out in near-freezing weather at 11pm to buy wax paper. Gah. It's fabulous. Just fabulous. /drool
  51. brenna :
    hi there!
    what a fantastic job you have done with my tutorial! it is so smart to sew the wax paper circles together... and attached to a thrifted lampshade! it turned out so beautifully and i am so happy someone else had as much fun creating all of those circles as i did. thank you for the credit, your blog is an inspiration, filled with so many beautiful projects!
    - brenna
  52. Adin B :
    When I saw this at Apartment Therapy website I had to go check out the tutorial and your blog and I am glad I did. I want to hopefully make something like this for the nusrsery room. So awesome! I also saw a tutorial by Shoestring Pavilion using empty milk gallons. Brilliant! :) This is way better than that old looking lamp. Thanks for sharing!

    Adin B
  53. Chelsea :
    I just finished making one. And I wish I would have doubled the amount of circles I made for a second one! It took me about 10 hours and 2100+ circles for one lampshade - it's the same shape as yours but maybe a little wider? That's the only explanation I can figure out why I needed SO MANY STRANDS to make it look full.

    Thanks for the fab. tutorial.
  54. Allison @ House of Hepworths :
    I'm so going to make this! Thank you. And I am now your newest stalker, er I mean follower.


  55. Hyphen Interiors :
    I may have to try this... and feature this on my blog... It turned out so well!
  56. Hyphen Interiors :
    Just a heads up - I featured your chandelier today!
  57. woolywoman :
    I was inspired by your sew together technique. Thanks! Mine is half done.
  58. Kirby :
    OMGee! I'm totally inspired! We have a light fixture which my husband lost a piece too and they no longer sell the product in stores and the company doesn't have a website to buy spare parts (GASP!) So I'm so making this. I too was worried about the wax paper being a fire hazard and you are right about the lights being low heat. Although I am more secure with using Wax paper, I read that Parchment paper is the same thing as wax (minus the wax) but Parchment is coated with chemically inert silicone, which is why it (and now wax paper) is meant to be used in the oven and can withstand the heat.

    I think I'm going to try parchment paper, especially since it comes in different colors....plan is white, grey and (very little) black! I will share once we do it.
  59. strawberriesinparis :
    That is amazeballs!!!
  60. MaryJanes and Galoshes :
    Yours turned out way better than the original (probably the sewing). Thanks so much, just stumbled upon you.

  61. Christa @ BrownSugarToast :
    This is just gorgeous!!!!! Love it! it would be so fun with colored wax paper too! maybe colored with those crayon melts? :) thanks for sharing! :)
  62. Karen @ THEBUSYBUG :
    Oh my goodness....I just watched your piece on KSL and I absolutely love it. Putting it on my "NEXT PROJECT" LIST!! Thank you so much. Ohh....I tried to subscribe to your blog using your SUBSCRIBE button, but I can't get it to work :-( Do you have another subscribe button from Feedburner ? I would love to get your post in my email!! Thanks for sharing!
  63. Nat :
    Saw you on Studio 5 - you're fabulous! We also have a nautical kids room, so I thought I'd give this a try.

    What size of lamp shade did you use? Diameter of top & bottom?

    Thanks for the great ideas!
  64. Sam Smith :
    I would love to make this chandelier for my daughter's new room.I was gathering materials and couldn't find the handhelp circle cutter anywhere. please help!
  65. Susan :

    joanns in the paper craft section, they are friskars.
  66. hawkeye12919 :
    I am making it now so i will let you no how it turns out thanks for sharing this i love it
  67. Bhanu :
    Nice information, many thanks to the author. It is incomprehensible to me now, but in general, the usefulness and significance is overwhelming. Thanks again and good luck!

    Cheap Air Tickets
  68. MichArt :
    Hey i so love this chandelier. I am gona remodel my room so i am suerly gona have 2 of them in my room. Thanks and you are welcome to visit my blog...;)
  69. recessionhome :
    I know I'm just another fan in your UMPTEEN million posts, but had to say -- my daughters and I are busy making wax paper & cutting circles! We are starting with a small one for our understairs fort (pinning ideas on Pinterest), and then each girl wants one for their room.

    I think I might be making these circles forever. :)

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  70. iiSwanSongii :
    I have to say, your tutorial with the smaller circles and sewing them together is a big improvement on the original inspiration post. Great job! and thanks for sharing!
  71. whitharrell :
    I have already completed 1 roll of wax paper circles and when I started on my 2nd roll my circle cutter pooped out. I exhanged it for a new one and that one pooped out too! Did you have any trouble with your cutter?
  72. CeeJayRose – Sewing From The Heart :
    I wanna make one! That looks so neat and not terribly hard either.
  73. Unknown :
    I'm surprised no one has said that the original West Elm chandelier had three different sizes of shell discs.

    I suspect that a three circle variation of this project would be spectacular — and maybe even help solve the problem of needing mondo-enormous numbers of strands to make it look right. (Or maybe it would add to the problem, since it would mean doing smaller discs, as well.)

    It might have a better effect lit up, as well, because the profile of the strands wouldn't be so regular.

    Unfortunately, I can't find out, because my current ceilings are so low that people would hit their heads on one of these. It's a pity, because my bedroom has one of those ugly, ugly square glass shades, too.
  74. gerri :
    My daughter and I just did this last night. We used parchment paper which is meant for the oven (I use parchment paper ALL the time for cookies etc) and it can withstand up to 400 degrees. Didn't have to iron the parchment paper. End result looks the same to me. There was just a few comments about 'fire hazard' and I thought if it bothered a person, use parchment paper, it's pretty much the same thing! Really pretty end result...well worth the effort :)
    • admin :
      awesome! thanks for the tip gerri!
  75. Char :
    I love this and am currently cutting circles! Just wondering how many circles per strand roughly, I don't know if I heard it in the tutorial but I see that you spaced it out but kept sewing.... Honestly the cutest idea I have ever seen!
    • Susan :
      awesome char! can't wait to see it.
  76. Joyce :
    This is so inspiring. I am dying to do this for our bedroom makeover. i think that the link to your video has expired. Can you please send me the link again. I just have to do this!!!
  77. SuzieAdina :
    I have always loved capiz chandeliers! Thank your for an inspiring tutorial! Am thinking of cutting out doily-lace patterns for the middle 3 layers & see if I could get a more fractured see-through effect. Perhaps even use aged wax paper for a hint of butter color....I won't be getting any sleep will I? ;)
  78. Alissa :
    Video doesnt come up for your sewing tech. I dont really have experiance with sewing so I am curious how to go about it all!? I love love LOVE this idea!
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  80. Mari :
    I made one of these myself and linked back to you from my blog, Such a pretty chandelier! I'm super impressed that you made yours so big now that I've made one of my own. Tons of work!
  81. gomugirl :
    This would be awesome as a floor lamp with a repurposed square veggie cage.
    • Susan :
      that would be amazing!
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  83. Ashley :
    I made 3 of these for a tent that we hosted my Mom's 60th in. They came out SO great and saved us a ton of cash!! Thank so much for the help!
  84. Stacy :
    This is fabulous! I've been eyeing some capiz chandeliers and I think this is a perfect, budget-friendly version!
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  88. Phaidra Ruck :
    I think the price of the circle cutter/puncher might be nice to include, not everyone has one around and they are surprisingly pricey. A $9 lamp here is closer to $25. I didn't have a cutting mat either, but managed to use a flattened cheerios box for awhile. I went with a circle "cutter" (orange) as per Brenna's advice and scrollling down the comments here. Big mistake. I would have much rather got the circle PUNCH as shown in this blog above (navy blue). The (orange) cutter needs to be twirled around twice to cut a perfect circle, though you can cut a multitude of sizes. VERY time consuming and not fun. Personally I felt like I was developing arthritis on my 4th wax sheet. I also tried to iron tissue in between wax for colour but it did not stick. I was hoping this would be a nice "quick" craft fix, but it is a much bigger project than it looks.
    • Susan :
      thanks for your input!
  89. Jessica :
    Hey where is the original link with detailed instructions? I'm about to attempt this project this weekend and I want to make sure I have all the details! Love this post,thanks so much! -Jess
  90. Hiren Modi :
    Hi Susan, How to make chandelier? It's really big subject for Home Decorating guys. And, you have done it excellent. Today, I have published one blog post about large chandeliers and mini chandeliers on my home decor blog. Basically, I have listed top 11 sources of chandeliers which may help us to decor living room, bedroom and dining room with help of Chandeliers. I love your How to guide and listed your blog post on my recent blog post. I hope: you will like it, pin it and tweet it. :) BTW: Thanks for your awesome How to guide on chandeliers.
  91. jacquie :
    I had the same problem with the circle punches pooping out. I even used the exact one as in the picture. Not long after i started, it began to not cut the whole circle and eventually died before i was even half way done. suggestions anyone?
    • Susan :
      Jacquie, I've made a few of these chandeliers and I've gone through as many punches. I think that sometimes they are just not made well, I would maybe try taking it back, good luck!
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  94. Brady :
    Good morning! I used this post to attempt to make my own DIY capiz chandelier. Thanks for the great tutorial =) I linked to this post in mine so I wanted to give you a heads up! Brady
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