A Craft-beer Chandelier




Introduction: A Craft-beer Chandelier

About: Chicago based maker and artist. I'm all about reducing waste through repurposing, refashioning, thrifting, salvaging and upcycling. Sometimes I hug trees.

To say that this project has been years in the making is no exaggeration. I live in Chicago and enjoy local craft beer, which I generally buy in cans. Craft brewers, across the board, package their cans in a very specific way. The plastic is 96% PCR (post-consumer) and completely recyclable - go them! But I kept all this packaging because it just looked... useful? And as the little plastic sheets started to stack up, they looked more and more like building blocks. But for what?

Step 1: The Light Fixture I Loathe

I moved into a new apartment last year. I love the place and I've already done a lot work to make it refabulous. But this... thing. I loathe this light fixture. But I'm renting so I'm stuck with it. That doesn't mean I can't cover it though. And so, an idea began brewing (!)

Step 2: Planning the Build

My initial plan was to play with alternating colors. I measured the approx. diameter of the light (about a dozen times) then got to work joining these things with cable ties. Note: for all the measuring, I was still OFF. More on that later. If you want to make one of these, here's what you need:

1. Craft beer packaging

2. Spray paint that covers plastic

3. A bag of cable / zip ties

4. Copper wire

5. Light chain for hanging the cover

Step 3: Joining the Pieces

In case it matters to you, I'm showing you the placement of the cable ties. It seems to be providing the right balance of stability and flexibility. But please see the important point below before you start!

Step 4: Tension Matters

I'm including this image and this note so you can learn from one of my many mistakes: don't pull the cable ties too tight! It can be very tempting. But keep them quite loose at first. You'll see how they work with the space. And you can always tighten them later.

Step 5: Paint!

I ultimately sprayed the whole thing white because that bright green wasn't working in the room. Covering the green took a full can of paint (stuff designed specifically to cover plastic). And I still had to do a LOT of touching up by hand.

Step 6: Building the Chandelier Cover

I bought copper wire because it's really malleable. When I imagined trying to hang this thing, I figured I'd need something light and forgiving. I was right. And the lovely copper is very forgiving.

Step 7: Attaching the Chain

I used really light chain to hang it. I attached the chain in three places and made sure it was connected to a cable tie as well as the wire, so it didn't move.

Step 8: Hang First. Finesse Later.

So here's the very clumsy thing that I hung. All finessing (and correcting of mistakes) happened once it was hanging from the fixture.

Step 9: FAIL!

Even though I'd measured multiple times, it was still too small. So instead of hanging, it was wrapped snuggly around the damn light. The remedy involved (buying and) adding one more 6-pack (cut in half to create a row of 6). Then I trimmed all the cable ties and shaped the copper hoop as best I could.

Step 10: Adding a Little Metal

The last step: painting the chain gold, adding a little gold to the shade itself and rewarding myself with a cold beer.

Step 11: And Finally...

Gold is not my favorite metallic. But for some reason it's popping up a lot in my home this year. And that's fine because it's working with all the orange, yellow and blue in the place.

Step 12: Tada!

And that's it. I will probably add another coat of gold to those spots, but I need a break!

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    4 Discussions


    4 years ago

    Nicely done. You were able to recycle the plastic as well as hide the light fixture you disliked. It's a cute modern fixture now.


    Reply 4 years ago

    thanks Robin!


    4 years ago

    Great idea and great results!! I, too have a loathsome light fixture n have begun to consider creative covering options... Thanks for the inspiration!


    Reply 4 years ago

    thanks Sarrie!