This was a fun project! Modfrugal had been angling for new lighting in our dining room, and was particularly drawn to this modern pendant by the talented designers at Lambert and Fils. There is also a DIY version from designer Lindsey Adelman that had got us thinking about possibilities.
Firstly I had been looking for a light-making project, and second, we didn't have a few thousand dollars available for spending. And even if we did, the Lambert & Fils one was too large...we actually wanted a pair of pendants with a similar look, so I thought why not try to make our own version?
It ended up costing around $250 in parts...not cheap, but not in the thousands either, and we now have a one-of-a-kind pair of modern pendants that we love.
There isn’t much out there in the way of modern DIY lighting walkthroughs for non-traditional chandeliers/lamps, and it was a little difficult finding quality know-how from the lamp world forums and such, so hopefully this will inspire others to have a go.
So – when Modfrugal showed me the design she liked, it looked pretty straightforward to pull together the smaller pendants she envisioned…assuming we could find the brass parts. I am an optimist, after all. The real challenge, to me, was going to be the wiring. It would take some thinking through, but if others have made it work, I knew I could too.
Main concern was thickness of the wire – there isn’t much space in the tube for a bunch of wires, and nowhere really on the pendant to splice wiring together. Most chandeliers have a central hub of space where wiring to each socket is spliced together so that a single pair of wires then runs to the outlet/junction box.
That wouldn’t be possible with this design.
Other online DIYs have used thinner than 18 gauge wiring, and I can’t stress enough how dangerous this can be. I’m not usually a scaremonger, and will cut corners with the best of ’em, but you don’t want to mess with electricity and burn your house down. My sources said to use a minimum of 18 gauge wire, with appropriate high-heat insulation (because the wire(s) can heat up in the close confines of a brass tube). Use the code. Having said that, I’m not an electrician so don’t rely on my advice and please do your own research in consultation with a licensed electrician in your country and jurisdiction. You’re on your own, because legal disclaimer.
First stop was http://www.grandbrass.com/ (the same people who sell the Adelman kits), and it turned out we needed to look no further as they had everything we needed. They also have a useful help guide here that explains the various components and sizes and what each piece is called etc.
BTW, legal disclaimer again – electrician--electricity--electrical codes--circuit breaker--death--house fire, etc. I know by posting this 'ible that I'm signing up for a spanking by the commenter trolls out there, most of whom will not have bothered to read this paragraph before proclaiming how irresponsible I am and how dangerous this is. I hear you already, and will state here that I do not recommend that anyone else tackle this project without a firm understanding of electrical things, and oversight by a licensed electrician. That said, I am here to absorb the wrath of the trolls :)
Now for the design. We started with a tape measure, PVC pipe, tape, and cardboard, to quickly put together a couple of template/prototype pendants.
We held these up to the ceiling in the dining room, adjusted various lengths etc, until we had what we thought were good dimensions for the look and feel that we wanted. We then transferred these to paper and sketched up the design with all the individual elements, and then a blow-up sketch showing each piece we’d need to order.
The plan here was to try and place one complete order for the entire project… Versus our usual MO of having to go back multiple times for forgotten bits and pieces. I'm pleased to say we succeeded :)