Antique Ceiling Tin and Mason Jars Chandeliers




Introduction: Antique Ceiling Tin and Mason Jars Chandeliers

About: Jack of most trades, master of some. Schooled at the university of hard knocks. Learn by trial and error and by others failures and successes. Have been a professional auto mechanic. Certified welder. Constru…

This is my first Instructable. If you have any questions on the build I will do my best to answer them. I am open to any suggestions as well (especially on making future Instructables better).

YES I'm a very very late entry for this contest. I do have dreams!

These are a 3'x3' and 5'x5' chandelier. These were built for a restaurant in Thomasville, GA

Step 1: Chandelier From Antique Ceiling Tin and Mason Jars

This is my first Instructable. If you have any questions on the build I will do my best to answer them. I am open to any suggestions as well (especially on making future Instructables better).

The pictures represent the frame works of a 3 ft. by 3ft. chandelier. The finished picture is a 5 ft. by 5 ft. chandelier.

Parts needed:

40 ft of 1/4 inch square stock for frame

10 ft of 1 inch by 1 inch (or larger) angle iron Recommend finding thin angle iron to keep weight down

Sheet of 1/4 inch Luan (this is like ply wood but is lighter)

250 ft roll of 18 gauge lamp wire

10 ft roll of 14 gauge solid wire (White and Black)

Light sockets of your choice.... Quantity of how many lights you would like

Mason Jars of various sizes or the same size .....Number of Jars will be the same as the light sockets

Ceiling tin to cover the frame (You can find it on eBay, yard sales, other online sources. Prices vary)

3/8 lamp rod (Length will vary depending on how low you want your lights to hang)

Flanges for the lamp rods to hang from (These can be decorative or you may choose flat ones and mount inside)

Bolts and nuts for flanges (decorative ones) Take a flange to the hardware store to get the right diameter. Use 2 inch in length.

Washers for the bolts (1/2 inch across)

4 toggle bolts rated for 50lbs minimum at 4 inches in length.

1/2 inch wood screws (Box of 100 cost around $3)

1/8 diameter Rivets

Strong magnets :

Electric Terminal Strips. Minimum of 2 (may need more depending on light Qnty.) Link to what I used:


Chop saw or grinder for cutting metal

Grinder with metal cutting blades and grinding disks

Tin snips (Reds, Greens, and Yellow)

Metal Shears (Big scissor)

Welding machine

Metal brake

Tongs (for hand bending metal)


Various sized drill bits

Clamps (small ones for holding metal frame together while mocking up and welding and deep throat for tin

Skill Saw


Wire strippers

Soldering Iron (optional)

Spray paint. Black and Clear


Drill press

1/8 NPT die

Step 2: Building the Frame

Plan out your frame size

On my 3 x 3 fame I cut 4 pieces at 18 inches and 4 pieces at 12 3/4 inches. This is the bottom on the frame. Using the jig in the second picture I joined the corner pieces together by cutting the angels at 22.5 degrees then spot welding them while held in the jig. Doing this on all corners to create a 45 degree corner.

The top pieces need to be about 3/4 inch longer than the bottom pieces and cut and welding in the same fashion. This will make the top bigger to give a tapered look when look at it from the floor. You will need 2 more pieces for the corners welded in the inside at the top. This is for the toggle bolts when you hang it up. Space these 1/4 apart from each other.

Next you will need to cut 12 pieces at a length of 5 1/4 inches at 84 degrees on both ends. Cuts need to be made on opposite sides.

The last picture shows the top, bottom and side pieces welded together. Be sure to grind over any welds that have too much build up on the out side. It may interfere when wrapping the tin.

Lastly but not shown: You will need to cut 3 pieces of angle iron and weld then to the bottom of the frame. Measure the over length and weld into place on top (what will be the inside of the frame). You can wait to do this after you cut your wood base. (More on this in the next step). The placement of the angle iron should be center and then spaced out on both side fairly equally. The two outer pieces should be on your corners. Take note of the angle and cut accordingly. It's better to know where your lights will be before placing these. They work as extra support for the frame, the wood, and for a few of the lights.

Be sure to paint your frame and let it dry. This will keep it from rusting. I recommend Rustoleum or another type of paint that has a rust inhibitor in it.

Step 3: Wraping in Tin

Now its time to add the wood. The wood helps to hold any lights not fastened to the angle iron. It needs to lay inside the bottom of the frame. I placed the frame on the sheet of wood and traced the inside. Make note of any weld build up that may stop it from laying in all the way. It is okay if the wood is cut a little short of the inside of the frame.

After you have the wood cut out now is a good time to figure out where you want your lights to go. I put 14 lights on my 3'x3' and 21 lights on my 5'x5'. I measured and drew out my placement of the wood and then drilled holes for my light flanges to be bolted to and for the lamp rod to go through. I placed the wood back on the frame and marked where the holes feel on the angle iron then drilled those. Be sure to select the right sized drill bit. You don't want to dill the holes too big. This can affect mounting the flanges.

Here's a link to the flanges I selected. I also used this site to order all lamp sockets, rods, nuts and lock washers.

Time for the TIN:

I found some 2ft by 2ft pieces of ceiling tin. They were not cheep but covered a lot of space pretty quick. I also found some 9inch by 14 inch pieces for a $1 each.

I wrapped the sides first. I left 4 inches of material to the top. I squared it up and bent it over. These tin pieces locked into each other on the side. I left a few inches on the bottom and bent over and then screwed to the wood. At the point where the tin bends you will need to cut off excessive material and unfold some of the pre-made creases. The tin will rip if you don't remove some of this. I used a metal brake of 30 inches. I locked the pieces together and bent the top after making a few measurements to make sure that the tin would bend at the same length all the way across. I bent this just over 90 degrees. I then placed the pieces on the frame and marked the bottom side. Bend this around 80 degrees. Now when you have these in place pre-drill a small pilot hole and then use a wood screw to secure the tin to the wood. Use two screws on the out side pieces and one per center piece(s). Now go back to the top and bend the rest of the tin over. Using a hammer and a piece of scrap wood as a beater block tap back and forth along the inside of the frame till the tin almost touches the back side of its self. Tap the tin on top of the frame to make it as flat as possible. Don't tap too hard or you run the risk of damaging the tin.

The corner pieces get a little tricky. I used tag board to cut out a template. I took my template and traced it out on a piece of tin. Then I added an extra 1/2 all the way around. Cut it out. At the corners you will want to cut angles. Go about an inch past the corner, then cut to the corner of your template line. This allows you to bend the sides over with out any over lap. I bent the long sides with the metal brake and then hammered them down the rest of the way to make them flat leaving a nice smooth hemmed edge. Now repeat for the other 2 sides. Note: Each corner will be a little different and you may need to make a template for each one. Number the corers. I used a marker and wrote on the back side of the tin and then numbered the wood on that corner. This will save you some headache later on. Set these pieces aside.

Wrapping the Bottom:

I drilled a hole in the very center on my first piece. Using a flange and a down rod I placed them through the tin and the center hole of the wood and angle iron. I then measured the corners to make sure it was centered evenly from all sides. Note that you may have to cheat an 1/8 of an inch or so from one side to the other; no one will ever notice. Now mark 2 more holes and drill thru the tin. Place bolts thru the holes and secure them with washers and nuts so it doesn't move around. Now take another piece of tin and place it next to the first piece. Clamp it in place where it needs to be. You can over lap the tin a little for a nicer look. With this piece hanging over the edge; trace along the side tin. Trace the corner. Remove it, flip on the ground. You will need a yard stick or a long straight edge. Add 1 inch above all of your lines. Then a 1/2 inch line will be marked between the traced line and the 1 inch line. Cut the one inch line. At the corners where the 45 degree side is, cut straight from the outside corner to the traced line. Now you will want to bend the half inch lines. You may need to bend one or two sides with the tongs. Bend the long sides first then the short side. The short side will have a corner sticking out ; we will get to that in a minute. You may also want to practice with a piece of tag board for the hems and cuts before doing this to your tin. Tag board is cheaper than the tin. It may take a few times of practicing. Be patient with yourself.

The corners that are sticking out: After the piece is secured; tap them over with you hammer and wood. Be sure the wood is between the tin and hammer. This way the hammer doesn't mess up your tin.

Now take the piece you just bent and place it where it needs to go. Dill a couple of holes like you did to the center piece and secure it in place with the bolts and nuts. Repeat for the other 3 corners and remaining areas for the sides.

With all the tin in place it's time for some rivets. Make sure you have the right sized drill bit for your rivets. At the corners of the tin on the bottom , drill and rivet. For the sides; Use the long clamps to hold the tin down against the frame. Place a rivet about an inch from the side of each piece of tin. You may need to place one in the middle too. This is just to help the tin "snug" up to the sides.

CORNER pieces you set aside:

Now take your corner pieces and set them in to the proper corners. You may need to adjust the bottom piece a little to make the corner piece sit in nicely. Take note to the top and make sure it doesn't sit higher than the sides. Now grab your magnets. Place a magnet on each side of the top of the frame. When you drop in the corner tin it should fall in nicely with out much gaps on the side. You may need to play with it a little to make it fit just right.

Step 4: Tin Continued

Now you will need to go back and drill all of the remaining holes in the tin for your flanges and rods.

Figure out the length you want your rods to be. I cut many of mine using a pipe cutter then using a die to thread the cut end of the pipe. When figuring out rod length take note to the length of your jar and how much you will need for the flange.

I used a lock washer and nut on the back side of my flange.

I painted all of my flanges and rods before bolting on to the chandelier.

Once dried bolt everything down. Now it's time to wire everything up.

Step 5: Wireing

NOTICE: This section can be dangerous. You will not hold myself nor Instrucables responsible for and damages of electrical shock or fire that may insue from not following these instructions OR getting an licensed electrician to help you.


***********Almost Forgot******

You will need to dill a hole in your mason jar lids. I made a jig to hold my lids in place and used my drill press. I was able to dill the holes pretty quick I had 73 to do. Take you time when finding the center. Drill out the hole to just over the size or the rod. Be sure to put the lid over the rod facing the correct way. Place the lid on the rod. I placed the shiny side where it would be in the jar to maybe reflect more light downward.

Using 18 gauge wire run through the lamp rod. Start on the back side and go to where the bulb will be. Pull out some extra wire and wire up the lamp socket. Lamp wire is mostly copper stranded. If you look at the wire closely you will see a stamped numbering or lettering on one side. This runs the whole length of the wire. Be sure to take note of which side you use for Hot and Neutral. Now pull the wire back and secure your lamp socket. You may want to affix the part of the socket that goes on to the rod first and secure the set screw. It is IMPORTANT to make sure the set screw is tight. Before cutting the wire on the back side be sure to leave extra to make it to the terminal.

Place your terminals away from each and make sure they are secured down. I used some sheet metal and drilled holes in it to bolt my terminals down and then use the bolts from the flanges to secure them from moving. Use one space for for each wire. If you need to use 2 terminals for Hot and 2 for Natural use the 14 gauge solid wire to jump them. Cut about 4 feet of WHITE and BLACK 14 gauge wire and secure them one of the appropriate terminals. I zip tied mine together. You can cut off the excessive length when you install it. Better too much than too little.

I soldered all my ends that went into the terminals. This was an extra step for piece of mind for myself.

Use an old electric cord and wire in to the terminals and plug it in. TEST all sockets, make sure everything is working before you install it. Better to find any issues now than after you have it installed.

Step 6: Hang It Up and ENJOY

Get a helper or two for this.

Make sure the power is off at the beaker!!!!!!

Connect the Hot and Natural wires.

Now you will want to drill for your toggle bolts. Using a washer next to the head of the bolt insert through the two rods on the top side of the frame. Put the anchor on the end of the bolt facing the correct way. Don't tighten them until all bolts are in place. DO 2 Adjacent sides, then do the other 2 sides.

Now place your corner pieces on.

Install the light bulbs. We used 3 watt LED bulbs that had a 60 watt comparison. We also installed dimmer switches.

Now put on the Mason Jars.

MAKE SURE you have the proper sized beaker installed. If you don't know PLEASE consult a licensed


Thanks for reading.

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    5 years ago

    What restaurant in Thomasville?


    Reply 5 years ago

    SoHo On Broad Street. 112 N Broad St Thomasville, GA 31792

    If you happen to visit; Yes, all the light fixtures with Mason jars were built by me.


    Reply 5 years ago

    Awesome! I live in Valdosta, so it's not too far :)

    Cheese Queen
    Cheese Queen

    5 years ago

    Note when working with 2 stranded lamp wire; one side of the wire will have smooth insulation, the other side is ridged.

    Convention is that the smooth side corresponds to black (hot) wire, the ridged side to white (neutral).


    Reply 5 years ago

    The lamp wire I used did not have a ridged side. But that is a good note for anyone that picks up the type you mentioned.


    5 years ago

    Very nice work!

    Only have concerns about the electric... when you use anything but LED you will run into thermal issues as the bulps cannot cool off and will reduce their lifetime tremendously.


    Reply 5 years ago

    That is a step I left out on the jars. I did drill 2, 1/4 inch holes towards the top of every jar. Even LED lights need to breathe. The little capacitors and electronics (I forget what the technical term is right now) can over heat without ventilation and shorten the life of an LED. We used Edison LED's 3watt at a rating equivalent on 40.

    A light I built for myself I used 3 dimmable bulbs @40 watts each with out any air vent in the jar or lids and had no issues after leaving them on at their brightest for 9 hours. I wanted to know there were not going to be any issues had I sold or given the same set up to someone. I used a 75 watt bulb as a test and after 2 hours everything was way too hot to touch. I recommend lower wattage bulbs to be safe and save on electricity.


    5 years ago

    Thank you for the detailed explanation/guide.
    And also thanks for warning us like a pro :-)


    5 years ago

    If I owned a restaurant; I'd want one of these. I know of a few in my area whose theme matches these perfectly. Excellent work and narrative!! I wish you luck in the contest :)


    5 years ago

    Top work, This is great. and nice write up. cant wait to see what you come up with next

    DIY Hacks and How Tos

    That looks awesome. If my house had higher ceilings, I would definitely make something like this.


    Reply 5 years ago

    The 3x3 chandelier was hung on a ceiling with the height of 8'4".

    Really cool! I like the old look from both the Mason jars and the designs from the wood/tin.


    Reply 5 years ago

    Thank you.

    The wood isn't seen once the tin is in place. I have made some others out of reclaimed pier wood from Destin Beach, FL