Google+ Nine Red: How To: Jute Wrapped Chandelier

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

How To: Jute Wrapped Chandelier

***UDATE: Guest room? Check.. See the full tour here*** 

Hello again my friends! I've just wrapped this project up (ha! wrapped...get it?!) and it came out even better than expected.  It was surprisingly easy, and costs SO much less than the popular Jute wrapped chandies that are springing up in stores these days.  Doesn't take many supplies either, and a chandelier is pretty easy to come by.  Thrift stores are usually overflowing with old brass lights no one wants, but are perfect for this project since you'll be covering the whole thing up.  Let me walk you through how I made this little baby:
This is one of the many projects associated with the New Guest Room adventure, remember I want to keep it lightly nautical? Well I thought the addition of a Jute element to the room would help me stick to that, without going over the top.  I think it came out pretty swell....  Read on!
So you want to make one? Fantastic, I knew you would!  Don't be scared, it's relatively simple and you'll be done in an afternoon. Just pump up the jams and get this project going.  First, let's gather some basic supplies:
  • A Chandelier! of course...
  • If rewiring will be necessary: grab a brown or white cheap extension cord (the kind with 3 plugs)
  • Spray Paint- Primer + color (optional)
  • Steel wool
  • Masking Tape
  • In Line Switch (optional)
  • Jute! One roll did the trick for me, with plenty left. 
  • Glue gun & hot glue sticks
  • Basic tools to assemble/disassemble the light (screw driver, pliers, whatever works)
  • Work table with proper protection (paper, a sheet, whatever)
  • Time & Good music
Take a look-see at my old Chandelier:
You guessed it! Ikea... but I didn't get it from IKEA.  This was something I found on the side of the road, and we used it as a creepy Halloween prop for a little bit.  It was rusty, and spooky, and generally wonderful for Halloween - but that's all over now.  Here are some of my things, hooray:
Yes, I know - rusty tools - bad tool owner, etc. etc. but hey - I'd rather be honest with you guys than go buy shiny new ones just to look good. They got left out a few times, what can I say?  Alright - back to the tutorial, I'll try not to ramble too much.  I find gathering all my tools in one place helps keep me from getting frustrated, and saves oodles of time. So you should do that.

Inspect your chandelier, mind had glorious rust & paint flaking, so I took the steel wool to it until it was smooth. 
Much better! Now disassemble your chandelier.  Sometimes it's tricky to find how, but you'll always discover some little knob that turns, or some peg that hides a screw and then you're golden. Just get all detective like, and let the hardware show you the way.  Be sure to pay attention though, because you're the one that has to put this beast back together after.

Once it's apart, clean and prep for painting.  If you aren't painting, go grab a coffee while the rest of us do these steps.
Shake that primer up and you know what to do.  Light coats, lots of 'em.
Done? Me too. Let's get the red going. Hey guess what? I made a boo-boo - see if you can spot it:
If you said "Oh, you're spray painting on plastic" then you're right, and also smarter than me. Now this wasn't a HUGE deal, but when I went to lift my freshly painted items, big chunks of paint peeled off the plastic and came with them.  Luckily it didn't ruin anything, it was just a pain. So I'm sparing you the agony, just spray paint on paper or cardboard or something.  Learn from me!

Once the piece is dry we can start to plan the wrapping. I am choosing to leave my chandelier disassembled, since I'll only be covering the parts that are still connected here. I figured it would be easier this way, and it was!
Plug in your glue gun, heat her up, and put a nice ring at the top where you're going to start. Then wrap a layer of jute and hold it until it's secure.  I did this for the first 2-3 rows to be sure. Then wrap!
Now, you'll just naturally fall into a way that works fastest for you. I was going to write a whole thing on what works best, but I switched methods a lot and figured explaining it would take forever. Trust your gut, you're smart - a system will become evident and you'll fly through these.  My first arm took 30 minutes, my fifth arm took about 8. See what I mean?  Every now and then put a little hot glue on there, to keep things secure.
One arm down, four to go.... this was intimidating at first but generally got easier. 
Yay! Done, finally! Now if you aren't rewiring, then go ahead and reassemble your light.  My chandelier was originally a hard-wired to the ceiling chandy, and I needed it to be a plug in.  I learned this fantastic trick from a Todd Oldham book:  Instead of buying wire and the plug, etc, a cheaper option is to grab a $2 extension cord and chop the plug off.  I've done this a million times.  Once you chop the plug, split the wire and strip them.  You can use a wire stripper, but I usually just use the scissors.....oh so gently....
Disclaimer: Stop here if you are worried about this kind of thing, and have an electrician take over.  I'm fairly confident in my own skills, but I can't speak for anyone else, and don't want to! Better safe than sorry...

The general rule I've found is smooth wire to black, and  ribbed wire to white.  The ribbed is the neutral wire (you can see tiny ribs on the wire) and the smooth wire is the "hot" and connects to black.  So inside your chandelier, you'll see black wires clumped together, and white wires clumped together. Simply remove the caps and connect the correct wires in.  Test, and reassemble.
I also added a generic switch since I can't reach the plug, and switches are great anyway.  The instructions come on the package and are VERY easy.  Be SURE to get a switch for your size cord, the smaller switches will NOT support this thick wire.  Just get what I got:
Oh I forgot to tell you, you're done! Or should be.  If things don't work (hopefully you checked before reassembly) check your bulbs and check your connections.  Sometimes when you are screwing the cap on the wires, it disconnects them.  

That wasn't so bad, right? Easy.  Let's enjoy some photos together:
De-lovely... (1990's song reference, anyone?)

Ah, doesn't it feel good to save yourself a few hundred dollars? You can get the look of the jute chandy at a little over the cost of the jute.  I honestly wasn't sure how I'd like it, and I was pleasantly surprised to find that I LOVE IT.  I have a few others that I might do this same technique to, I think it would match a garden patio really well, don't you?  I wonder how this would work with yarn... might be a disaster....

So what's it gonna be, will you try it? If you do, share your photos with us so you can motivate others to try it - you're gonna love it!

Shine on peeps,

Up Next: Corned Beef & Cabbage... I've waited all year!

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  1. Seriously, Jesse, thank you. I have the most lovely-hideous chandelier from a barn sale that I did for a client. He said, just get something for it, or just get rid of it. It has great white globes, and tons of heavy wood, and some brass just to top off the ugly! But this will make it charming in the way that it wanted to be from the start! It will be a couple minutes till I get to it, but I will send pics when I get it done! Thank you thank you! The one you did is just fab u lous!

    1. aw, thank YOU! I'm glad you like it, crazy how the jute can add quite the upgrade... send pics when you're done!

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