Introduction: Tea Light Chandelier
I like the double tea light chandelier from http://www.lightsfortents.co.uk/candle, but I didn't like the shipping charge they were asking. What's a maker to do? Well, make one obviously!
21 Tea light holders (I'm using IKEA Sommarmys)
Plywood (I used 18mm thickness, because that's what I had lying around)
Chain link 3 meters.
6 screws with a large head.
6 pieces of felt for use under chair legs.
Router (or jigsaw if you don't have one)
Drill press or hand drill
Circle cutting bit
Sander or sanding paper
If you have access to a laser cutter, that could be used instead of the router, drill press and circle cutting bit.
My plan is to take the chandelier with me when we're going camping and hang it in a bell tent. As it packs nice and flat it should be relatively easy to transport.
Step 1: Buy Tea Light Holders
For the tea light chandelier I bought tea light holders at ikea for 29 cents a piece (yes, I got ripped off ;)). I'm going to make a chandelier using rings with these holders on them. To keep the rings balanced I'll use three chains. To do this, it looks nicest when, for each ring, the number of tea light holders can be divided by three. I'll use 12 and 9 for mine, so I need 21 tea light holders in total.
After buying the tea light holders, arrange the holders for the largest ring in a circle that looks good to you and measure the diameter. You'll need this measurement for the next step. For my chandelier 60cm will be about right.
Also measure the base of the tea light holders, as you'll be cutting holes to match this size. For mine 50mm.
Step 2: Cut the Outer Ring Circumfence
I used a router circle cutting jug based on instructable https://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-Make-a-Router-Circle-Cutting-Jig/. You can also use a jigsaw, but the result will probably be not as smooth.
First measure where you want the center of your circle. Draw a centre line across the whole circle to be, this will make the next steps easier. Drill a centre hole and cut the outline. The diameter should be what you measured for your tea light arrangement. I'm using 60cm.
Step 3: Mark Where the Tea Lights Go
Use a compass to mark the width of the rings. As the base of my tea light holders was 50mm and I want the chandelier to be strong enough to take with me while traveling, I'm using 90 mm.
As my router bit is 10 mm wide I'm marking 90 and 190 mm from the edge. This should give me two 90 mm rings and 10 mm of dust between them.
After marking the rings the spacing of the tea lights can be marked. This is easier to do while the rings aren't cut yet. On the outer ring there'll be 12 lights, so 360 degrees / 12 lights = one light every 30 degrees. On the inner ring I'll put 9, so one every 40 degrees (360/9=40).
I didn't have a protractor, so I printed one from http://www.ossmann.com/protractor/ and cut it out.
As you can see on the last picture I almost forgot to mark the middle of the rings with my compass. Don't forget this bit, as you need that line to determine where to drill.
Step 4: Cut the Rings
Using the circle routing jig cut the rings.
Step 5: Drill the Tea Light Holes
Now you've got two rings and are ready to start drilling the holes. I'm using a circle cutting bit for 50mm holes in my drill press. First use an awl to mark a starting point for each hole.
Unfortunately the cutting bit burned the wood a bit. Since the tea lights will hide this it can be our little secret. ;)
Step 6: Sand the Edges
First I sanded the inner edge of the rings with a sanding bit (flap wheels) I found at the hardware store. Then I sanded the outer edge using my hand sander. I put the rings on an old blanket to prevent them getting scratched by dirt on my workbench.
Step 7: Round the Edges
Next I used my router to round the edges, just to make it look a bit friendlier. You could just sand the edges round of you don't have a router.
Step 8: Sand the Flat Sides
Now's a good time to sand the flat sides of the rings. I only used 80 and 120 grit as I'm using plywood and sanding too much will show a different color wood. All previous markings should disappear now. I'm using the old blanket to prevent scratches again.
Step 9: Applying Finish
I like using wood oil as a finish. It's quick and easy to apply and really makes the wood stand out. Just apply with a brush on one side. Wait about 15 minutes. Remove the excess oil with cleaning paper or an old rag. Then apply on the other side. After 24 hours you can apply a second layer if you want.
Take care with the paper or rag. Oily paper or rags can self combust, so soak the paper in water before throwing it away. And if you're using rags, don't bunch them up. Spread them out before letting them dry.
Step 10: Attaching the Chain
To attach the chain I bought screws with really big heads. I was afraid they still might slip through, so I also bought some felt discs for putting under chair legs. Using callipers I measured the thickness of the screws between the threads: 3mm. Then I drilled a 3mm hole in the felt discs. Followed by pre-drilling holes in the chandelier rings. For the outer ring I drilled one in between every 4 tea light holder holes. For the inner ring one between every 3 holes. Pre-drilling the holes makes the wood much less likely to split, which would be a shame after all this work. Finally I screwed the chain to the rings. I use a carabiner on the end of the 3 chains to hang the chandelier. Once this is done the tea light holders can be put in the chandelier holes and the tea light chandelier is finished.
Wait for dark and test them. :)
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