Introduction: Large Silhouette Chandelier Decoration, the Grandelier
As a creative freelancer, I often design themed environments for special events. Large chandeliers are expensive (even as a rental) and are exceedingly complicated to transport or assemble. I developed this solution which creates a nearly six ft. wide , visually-substantial chandelier that weighs less than 13 lbs, and packs flat, and at only half the diameter! I liked the simple lines of chandeliers I'd seen in used in modern designs seen in urban lounges and hotels. This versatile chandelier can even be electrified fairly easily. These are primarily popular in white or black, but can be cut from other routable board products such as PVC plastic sheet or even acrylic.
These instructions will help you create my initial chandelier design.
I've developed an updated and improved version which is manufactured from PVC plastic sheet and includes battery-operated LED candles. I've called it the Grandelier. It's also now available in two sizes.
Purchase a ready-to-assemble chandelier at Grandelier.com
Now also available in a 28" wide Petit size!
The first step is to have a one dimensional silhouette of a chandelier. This was designed in Adobe Illustrator, but you could design or edit the included file in any vector app of your choice. Or you may simply use what I've included as-is.
You will then need to have access to a CNC router. I don't have one of my own, but use a local service, which also supplied the Gatorboard foam board which I've chosen to use for it's cost, relatively good durability and especially how light weight it is.
You will need six sections of half of the chandelier. All halves are identical. To make my chandeliers as large as possible, I was able to get two on a standard 48" x 96" sheet, so I required three sheets total to be cut.
In my builds, I've used 1/4" Gatorboard foam board, and the slots in the design are cut to accomodate that thickness. Each chandelier requires four slotted disks to hold each of the six sections into place. The slots are 1/2 the radius of the disk, with four matching slots on each chandelier section. Though I require only four of these disks per chandelier, I have plenty of spare room on my 4x8 sheet to cut extra, which is always a great idea to have spares!
Additionally, I have teardrop "crystals" cut and pre-drilled to be strung with loops of monofilament and hung from the two tiers of each chandelier section.
When you receive your routed parts and are ready to assemble it, you will need 2-3 extra-long zip ties, preferably in the color of your chandelier, and with a chandelier of this scale, it really helps to have an assistant.
Starting with one section, attach all four of the slotted disks to it. Then, one at a time add each additional adjacent chandelier section until they are all connected. This next part is where an assistant can really help. While all of the chandelier sections are held together around the center, run a zip tie around near the top, and the bottom, pulling it secure, but not enough to damage the foam board. A third zip tie may be added in the middle, but I have never found it necessary.
Pre-measure and cut lengths of monofilament to loop through each of the teardrop cutouts. When these are strung and tied off, hang one from each of the two tiers of all six chandelier sections (twelve total).
Your chandelier is fully assembled! To hang it, create a loop of monofilament around the upper most zip tie one two opposing sides and you will be able to hang it level.
To enhance your chandelier with actual illumination see the following step.
Without too much complication, simple 7 watt C9 lightbulbs can be wired to this Chandelier. I did this to wire flicker-flame bulbs to a black chandelier, and the clear bulbs with with white versions.
Though you can make substitutions, here is what I used:
18/2 gauge lamp cord
snap-on C9 light bulb sockets from Action Lighting: http://www.actionlighting.com/c9-socket-spt2-white-100-bag-bag/
1" diameter thin wall PVC or cardboard tube
First, using a utility knife, cut all of the candle and flame-bulb silhouettes, unless of course you altered the design to not include them in the first place!
Then cut twelve 4-5 inch section of the 1" tube to act as the candles. Cut a roughly 1" deep notch through the tubing in order to secure them in place on the foam board silhouette. Hot glue can permanently secure them easily. Cut an additional notch on the opposite end of the tube, perpendicular to the first to allow the lamp cord and socket to properly seat.
Using the snap on light sockets, attach one and slide it into one of the tube "candles". loosely drape the lamp cord to the adjacent candle and add another socket. Continue working around the lower level, then up and around the upper level ending the wiring up at the center of the chandelier leaving as much of a tail as required. Add the plug of your choice.
The wiring "disappears" for the most part, but additional teardrop shapes can be hung from the wiring if desired.