Tutorial: DIY Faux Crystal Chandelier

I told you last week that I was on the hunt for an affordable mini chandelier for my closet. The husband and I agreed to stick to a $50 budget for the chandelier, but I wasn't finding anything within those cost restrictions. I agreed with him that the budget should be very small– it is, after all, only a closet. We've spent very little on every light fixture in the house, so it wouldn't really make sense to blow the budget on a light for a space that's not even an actual room.

That said, I still had my heart set on a crystal chandelier. I knew it would completely make the room and give me that glamorous vibe I really wanted. I kept the search going, hoping that I would find something under $50. I didn't find one, but my search gave me an idea. Maybe I could make one for myself?

After an hour of work, this is what I came up with:

I was right– it totally did make the room. Here it is with the existing recessed lighting:

And then with the chandelier:

SO much better, right?!
Let's talk about how it came together!
I was inspired by this cascade chandelier from Urban Outfitters. It seemed like it would be possible to string crystals the same way to make a light fixture with a similar look. I went on an exploratory mission to Hobby Lobby, and $35 later, this is what I came home with:

The beads in the top left of the photo came from the jewelry-making section of the store, while the long strings of beads (more like garland, really) came from the wedding section. The wire circle is a wreath form from the floral area. 

I ended up using everything except the items I crossed out below:

This project could have been cheaper if the wedding stuff had been on sale, but I paid full price for the strings of pearl-shaped faux crystals. They looked the most realistic, so I  really wanted them. I still can't believe I actually paid full price for something from Hobby Lobby! Each strand of the pearl crystals was $9.99, and I used two. The six strands from the jewelry section were 50% off, so at least I had some savings there. 

Ok, the first thing I had to do was paint the wire wreath form. I knew the ceiling would be painted white, so I spray painted the wreath form white. 

Then I had to figure out how to work on this chandelier, since I needed the wire form to be suspended like a chandelier while I worked on it. I ended up using thick clear fishing line to hang the form from our dining room chandelier:

The best part of the supplies I purchased was that they were already hanging in strands with really thick clear string. I'm not one to make more work for myself, so I took advantage of that and kept them on the existing strings when I constructed the fixture.
First, I cut the pearl-shaped crystal garland into strands of three crystals. Then I began to hang them around the outside of the wire form. 

Sorry about the dark pictures! I'm a night owl and it was pretty late while I was working on this. 

I hung eight of the 3-crystal strands around the outside of the form, and then I started on the longer layer. The six jewelry-making crystal strands were hung from one of the inner circles on the wreath form, equidistant from each other. 

It was starting to look like a chandelier, but it needed more crystals to make it look finished. I decided to add another layer of the 3-crystal strands to the inner circle of the wire form so the chandelier would have more depth. 

That added layer completed the look and kept the project under budget. I could have kept going and added more layers of crystals, but that would have made the project more expensive. 

The final step was to hang it around the existing recessed light in my closet. Scott used his drill to screw it into the wooden ceiling, applying the screws at an angle to create the tension around the wire ring that would hold the chandelier in place.

Once he had it installed, I started jumping around and clapping like a giddy little school girl. It was one of those projects where you have no idea if you'll be able to execute your vision, so I was thrilled when it came out exactly how I hoped. It ended up being so much easier than I thought, so that added to the thrill of the project. I was experiencing my own version of runner's high– let's call it DIY high!

It's just such a happy addition to the closet. Even Scott was amazed at how different it made the small space look. I think he's a crystal chandelier convert now! Before this, he would have said it was too girly for his taste.

Perhaps the best part about this project is that we were able to simply enhance the existing lighting, and there was no electrical wiring involved. Taking out the recessed light and installing a brand new fixture would have been much more of a hassle. Who knows what headaches we were able to avoid by installing our faux chandelier around the existing light source!

View the full closet makeover (from cedar cave to FABULOUS) right HERE.

* The Look for Less*

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  1. jordan, this looks rad! love the blog :) i promise, one day, for reals i really am going to take our pictures from our Texas All Star game senior year and load them up to facebook!

  2. @Morris Havea
    That is too funny! I actually saw one of our teammates this weekend at a random restaurant in Dallas. I couldn't remember her name so I didn't go up and say hi, but she was the blonde who sung the national anthem with her brother. Anyway, that's funny because I was just thinking about that game...

  3. Super cute idea- your chandelier is darling!! Thank you for sharing at Feathered Nest Friday!!

  4. Not to mention that hanging a real chandelier in a closet would have been a code violation, so this is an especially clever way to get the look! A bit late, but just came across your blog and am reading some of the older posts, and enjoying it immensely!

  5. awesome! i also have been looking for a cheap chandelier..no luck.. I was actually looking for one with a drum base.I wonder how i would get the base to stay on the ceiling though

  6. How did you attach the chandelier to the ceiling?

  7. Thanks for entering your project in CWTS! It's super cute! :)


  8. Found you via a Google search and you may have just saved my sanity and wallet! Thank you!!!

  9. Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful project :)
    I am looking at making a chandelier for my daughters birthday, it's a princess theme and I thought something like this would look grand above a table set out for a queen (or is that King?).
    I love your end result, I really hope I get to make it, you have really inspired me now :)

  10. Oh my goodness.... I googled chandeliers and you popped up! What a cute idea. I think I will try this in one of my bathrooms. We miss you guys. Got to see Scott at a game this year. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas! Shanan Fowler

  11. I told you last week that I was on the hunt for an affordable mini chandelier for my closet. The husband and I agreed to stick to a $50 budget for ... ccrystalshade.blogspot.com

  12. I think it looks vary sparse. Maybe wrap the wreath form with ribbon and/or add strands of various colored silk ribbons hanging down and some strands of pearls - craft store sells pre wired crystals w pearls and they look like branches if that was wrapped around the wreath form it would look full and more sparkle! Another good idea instead of wreath form is planter basket $1 at dollar tree - it can be hung from the chains it comes with or flipped upside down like a dome and if domed spray paint chains and add the chains as dangles next to the crystals and try ebay instead of craft store Crystal beads are pennies on eBay and Crystal garland and pearl garland is super cheap - I think I'm going to try one w wreath form and the Crystal and Pearl branches and twist it around the form then hang strands of crystals and pears and then put a large Crystal hanging in the center!

  13. LOVE this!! It seems easy enough for someone like me (i.e. DIY clueless) to do!! I have been wanting a crystal chandelier for our dining room…. maybe I should buy a cheap old one and give it a makeover!

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  19. Love it. I think you have solved my light fixture dilemma for the guest room.

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