Make a Chandelier From Scratch
To accentuate the beautiful rafters in the barn where our reception was held, we built a chandelier, entirely from scratch, with wiring help from my grandpa.
To start, I constructed three separate hexagons of tapering dimensions from pine lumber, cutting out 18 boards with 30° cuts. I made the middle tier half the size of the top tier, and the bottom tier half the size of the middle tier. This ensured symmetry and proportion from top to bottom.
With sturdy 2-inch wood screws, I connected the boards to create the hexagons, and then I reinforced each connection with metal brackets on top and bottom. The three tiers were spaced and connected to one another via screw-in hooks and chains. The chains were spray-painted matte black so they wouldn’t stand out.
Next, I drilled a large hole in the center of each board for wiring. Then Becca and I stained the wooden tiers with a rustic-looking, transparent stain. Once dry, I attached porcelain lightbulb outlet boxes—spray-painted matte black—over the holes. At that point, the chandelier was ready to be wired.
With Romex 14-2 wire, I helped my grandpa wire the chandelier. Note: Electricity is nothing to mess with, so don’t attempt wiring projects unless you’re experienced.
To keep the sheath casing organized and invisible from the floor, we spray-painted it black and nailed it flat on top of each wood hexagon using double-nail cable clips. We wired the chandelier so that lightbulbs on all three tiers were on the same circuit. At the top, we outfitted the loose wiring with a standard 15-amp male plug. When finished, we installed 60-watt lightbulbs in the outlet boxes, then hung faux-diamond garland in strips from each tier. The moment we plugged the unit into an extension cord was phenomenal.
I built a separate H-brace to rest across the rafters and distribute the weight, then outfitted it with a steel chain hook as the anchor. The chandelier attached to the anchor by a metal loop attached to the chains running above the chandelier’s top tier. The setup was failproof and removed worries of the large chandelier falling and hurting someone.
The finished DIY three-tiered chandelier wowed our guests and us, all for less than $90.