Large Silhouette Chandelier Decoration, the Grandelier





Introduction: Large Silhouette Chandelier Decoration, the Grandelier

About: I've been self employed most of my life, with the curse of a seemingly unending stream of ideas. One of my best skills is brainstorming and problem solving, utilizing an extensive knowledge of novel technolo...

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
Now also available in a 28" wide Petit size!

Step 1:

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.

Step 2:

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.

Step 3:

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:
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.

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Beautiful!!! Need to make for Prom decorations. Trying to figure out the size, I think the ceiling is 15 feet? Can I modify and just make it with 4 sides instead of the 6? I'll be using foam core 20x30. Thank You in advance for any assistance!!!

1 reply

Thank you. The only modification you'll need to make for a 4 section chandelier are to the central slotted disks, which would only require 4 slots in a cross formation. You can certainly scale this to any size you like, but you should be sure that the slots on both the chandelier sections and the disks are just slightly thinner than your foam core for a good fit. Good luck! :)

I love the chandeliers they look awesome I just wish I had the space to put one up ? If I ever do I have bookmarked this for just in case but if my oak tree grows tall enough I just might make one to go on it just to be different lol

Thanks formbe generaus and supplying the picture with the instructable as I live in the middle of now where I don't have access to a CNC machine so I will have to make do with my scrol saw lol

Thanks a lot!

Thank you- and I do!

Thanks! It was, however inspired by others that I've seen that were much smaller or with less "branches"

Very pretty. It totally reminds me of the paper chandelier that Jeffery Rudell made in 2008 that was on display at Tiffany & Co. over Christmas that year in New York. He even suggest the same materials. Were you inspired by his earlier design?

1 reply

Thanks! I'll need to see what I can find online now. I don't know of the one you mention. I had seen small silhouette chandeliers before, but only ever four-sided. My inspiration came from several places I recall, but mostly out of a need for a very large, affordable and portable chandelier for themed environment installs.

The surface really catches the colored lights in the room. This design is brilliant! The rooms used for events have such high ceilings that something like this would fit very well and add a lot of interest to the room. Thanks for sharing.

1 reply

Thanks! These white chandeliers are cut from a foam board product called Gatorboard, which is glows brightly under UV light, so they tend to really "pop", which is a nice happy accident.

Wow how easy and fantastic. Will definatly try in a smaller scale for my mini house!