Introduction: Repurposed Glass Chandelier Into Live Moss Drip Wall and Faux Terrarium
I am so excited to share this new instructable - A Moss drip wall with a faux Terrarium.
You can use any glass medium and add your own style of rocks/plants and make it as you please. You can chose not to have the water/fall/drip wall and make a vertical faux terrarium with dyed/preserved moss.
~Read "Backstory" below or skip to summary and steps. Please do check out the video of the drip wall.~
My husband and I recently went on several nature hikes consisting of small waterfalls, creeks and drip walls. The greenery, earthiness from the rocks and the sounds of the water were so relaxing that I wanted to take a piece of the scenery back with me - Hold onto this thought
We are also in the process of re-decorating our home and we have this vintage brass glass chandelier that did not fit our new decor style. Luckily, this darling chandelier piece is too pretty and in great condition for me to get rid off.
A lot of ideas to re-purpose the chandelier crossed my mind - lanterns/terrariums/stained glass etc but I wanted to do more than just that. Given its huge size - 40" tall , I wanted something more dynamic - why not re-create the drip wall along the lengths of the glass paneled chandelier and create a medium to grow moss!! The end result turned out exactly how I wanted it.
My goal was to use the transparent glass chandelier and its beautiful geometric shape as walls to create an enclosed tropical environment. The running water is the key, but unlike a water fall, I prefer a rather gentle drip. I have used materials that are easily available and shared some alternatives that anyone can use and still be able to recreate this instructable.
Lets get to the steps.
I will provide a list of supplies within each step.
Step 1: Remove Light Fixtures
My chandelier is Octagon shaped, has an open top and a side window. Those were my openings to work with in making this project.
Materials Needed for Step 1
- Glass Chandelier - You can find a glass chandelier like the one I used at most vintage/antique stores. You can also use any large glass jar that is tall and slightly broad enough to make the wall.
- Plier - To remove light fixture from inside the chandelier. May or may not need depending how tight the fixtures are.
- Heavy Duty Gloves.
- I removed the wiring, the dome shaped brass topper and the chains.
- Next,I loosened the knob at the base of the internal light fixtures so they can be separated. I carefully took them out (had to be mindful of broken bulbs).
These steps were easy and I did not use the plier. I also did not opt to use gloves, so I could get a better hold of the knob and loosen it.
Step 2: Cleaning the Chandelier
Materials Needed for Step 2
- Windex Glass Cleaning Spray
- Isopropyl Alcohol (Rubbing Alcohol) - Optional
- Paper Towel
- Once the fixtures were removed, I sprayed the Windex glass cleaning spray on the inside and outside of the chandelier and let it sit for 10 minutes. I used a rag towel to clean the surface and wipe it down.
- Next,I poured some rubbing alcohol on paper towel and wiped down the surfaces again. Let it air dry for 10 more minutes letting the alcohol gas out. This step is optional but does help remove spots and streaks.
Step 3: Sealing/ Waterproofing
Chandelier has an open end which will be the top and a brass end which I will be using as the bottom. See picture with arrows. The brass bottom has holes (through which wiring was passed). The goal is make a waterfall set up within the chandelier. In order to be able to do this, I needed to first waterproof the base of the chandelier so it can act as a water trough.
Materials Needed for Step 3
- Electric Tape
- 100% Gel Silicone - I used GE Advanced Silicone 2 2.8 oz. Clear Kitchen and Bath Silicone Sealant Caulk. This is widely used to seal waterproof glass (available at any home improvement store/amazon).
- Using scissors, I cut small strips of the electric tape and placed them on the holes on the inside and outside the chandelier. See pictures.
- Next, using a knife, I slit a small opening on the 100 % gel silicone tube.
- Wore gloves and mask.
- Applied a smear of the Gel Silicone on and around the black tape to seal the holes.
- Also Applied Silicone gel along the edges, corners ensuring all 8 sides are sealed inside and outside.
- Let it air dry. This product takes 30 minutes to 2 hours to completely dry before you can expose it to water.
- Wear gloves when applying 100% Silicone Gel. I also wore a mask so I don't inhale the strong smell.
- If there is too much dried up silicone gel on the edges or if it gets on the glass, you can always clean it up using a knife once its dried.
- You can also use some rubbing alcohol on a paper towel to get rid of the dried silicone from the glass (I accidentally smeared some silicone onto the glass while applying it to the edges).
Step 4: Creating Wall Using Expandable Foam
Materials needed for Step 4
- Drip Cloth
- Expandable Foam - DAP 7565040440 40440 12 oz. Touch 'n Foam Landscape Exterior Filler Adhesive, Black, 12 Ounces. I specifically used this landscaping foam over others as its safe for plants. In stock at most Home improvement stores/amazon.
- Aquarium Egg Crate Tray or divider. You can also use any strong plastic tray. I used a white plastic tray in which my Christmas string lights came wrapped around.(re-purpose). I cut it into 6 pieces using scissors.
- Spread the drip cloth and placed the chandelier.
- Wore gloves and mask.
- Per instructions, attached the applicator straw to the nozzle of the foam bottle.
- Attempted some lean streaks of the expandable foam on the drip cloth to get an idea (this step is optional).
- Applied foam on the inside wall of the chandelier and on the bottom.
- I inserted the 6 plastic crate pieces along the side to prevent foam from dripping all to the bottom or spreading to the sides (this step is optional)
- Let it air dry. It takes about 4 hours for this foam to completely cure. I let it sit for 24 hours any way.
- At last, I added water to the base to test for leakage. None thankfully. See picture.
- Keep doors and windows open for ventilation and let the strong smell from the foam escape
- I also had a fan running to help with curing the foam faster (optional)
- Buy additional can of expandable foam if you need it for a bigger area.
Step 5: Adding Vinyl Tube and Waterfall Motor
Motor and Tube Placement
Using a knife, I started carving the foam to allow placement of the motor and the pipe. The goal is to place the motor and the pipe concealed. The unevenness of the foam offers support to any object tightly placed within. Save the pieces of the carved foam for cover up.
Materials Needed for step 5
- Knife, preferably serrated knife
- Waterfall Motor -I used VIVOSUN 120GPH Submersible Pump(450L/H, 6W), Ultra Quiet Water Pump with 3.1ft High Lift, Fountain Pump with 5ft Power Cord, 2 Nozzles for Fish Tank, Aquarium, Statuary, Hydroponics. Available on Amazon
- 3-4 feet long Vinyl transparent plastic tube - 0.5" inside diameter (to fit the motor nozzle).
- Hair Pins/Bobby Pins
- Aquarium Filter - This is added to prevent particles getting into the motor. I used a mesh bag(grocery bag) as I do not anticipate too many articles floating in the water.
- The motor needs to be completely submerged into the water. I made an opening in the foam at the bottom and placed the motor. No accessories were used to attach it. Just simply placed it with the nozzle facing up.
- Next, I started carving out the foam along the lengths of the wall to place the vinyl tube.
- I attached one end of the vinyl tube to the motor nozzle and placed rest of the tube within the foam wall.
- I used hair pins to secure the pipe to the foam.
- I folded the mesh bag to make a double layer. Using hair pins, I covered the motor to prevent particles from getting it.
Step 6: Adding Rocks and Barks
Materials Needed for Step 6
- Carved out foam pieces - for cover up.
- A bag of Lava Rocks - Easily available at grill/BBQ/Grocery/Aquarium or any Home Improvement Store. You can also use other rocks you may like (Okho dragon, pebbles etc).
- Glue Sticks
- Glue Gun
- Barks - I ripped some bark pieces on the outside of the fire wood logs.
- Black/Brown Mulch pieces
- Dried plants/flowers
- I went ahead and covered up the vinyl tube and motor using foam pieces that I had saved. Used hot glue gun to stick them.
- Removed the plastic crates that I had added earlier. Just pulled them away and they come out easily.
- I carved out rest of the wall to allow placement of rocks. I I really like the lava stone as they are light, have the porous texture and come in random sizes (not ideal for grill). I cleaned the rocks in water and separated them by size.
- Played around with different rock sizes along the wall - some fit like a glove and some needed more room so carved the foam accordingly. Once I liked my rock placements, I fixed them using glue gun.
- Next, I picked out big pieces of bark for cover up. I made a slit in the foam to hold the bark above motor and used glue gun to add glue and solidify the placement. Stuck in few pieces of foam to fill the gaps
- Used very few mulch pieces and one dried flower to added more natural look. I stuck them using glue stick as well.
- These can be personalized to your liking. You can add more decor elements.
Step 7: Adding Landscaping Fabric
Materials Needed for Step 7
- Landscaping fabric - this will be the base to grow the moss.Easily available at home improvement stores. A more expensive option is to use a textile fabric
- Push Pins
- Hair Pins/Bobby pins
- Using scissors, I cut some long 1-2" strips, few square, few rectangle pieces and one dome shaped piece of the landscaping fabric.
- Between the gaps in the rocks, I placed the fabric carefully on the foam and placed them with push pins.
- Used hair pins to secure the fabric on the foam and removed the push pins
- Repeated these steps until a good portion of the foam was covered.
- I used the dome shaped fabric on the top to cover the pipe outlet.
- Using glue gun and some left over foam pieces, I attached some more wood bark on top.
Step 8: Adding Water Bed Elements
Materials Needed for Step 8
- Black River Pebbles - Medium Size
- Mixed color smaller pebbles/rocks chips
- Sand/Rock Sand
These can be personalized to your liking. You can add more decor elements.
- I carved the foam at the bottom enough to hold the black pebbles.
- To this, I added some black river pebbles, creating a wall.
- On the inner side of this wall (towards the motor), I added multi color small pebbles.
- On the outer side of the wall, I added sand. This was the sand is not near the motor.
- Added extra pebbles and sand to cover up all of the foam area.
Step 9: Adding Greenary
Materials Needed for Step 9
- Live Sphagnum Moss - I bought this from a seller on Amazon. Hope it stays alive and grows even more.
- Faux Succulents - These were used in making centerpieces for our wedding. Also available on Amazon.
- Water - To hydrate the moss and fill the bottom of the chandelier.
- You can also use preserved dried moss/Faux moss if you do not want to maintain it
- Also I am not an expert on succulents, but I have read some articles where you can grow them in water, so that is another option. Customize however you like.
- Collect small bunch of moss and hydrate them by spraying some water.
- Place them onto the landscaping fabric on the wall. They sit well. If needed, I sued hair pins to secure them. They fill the gaps behind the ricks and the barks.
- I added some faux succulents for more greenery and adjusted the placement overall.
- Finally gently added water to the bottom of the chandelier.
- Once the water settled, I cleaned up some of the tiny foam pieces and moss that was floating. My sand did not make the water muddy when the water was added.
Step 10: In Action
Once I added the water, ensuring the motor was completely submerged, I connected the motor to an outlet. I could see the water coming off the pipe cascading its way through the rocks and greenery. It was delight to this Moss Drip Wall/Faux Terrarium in Action. Hope you enjoy it.
Step 11: Thank You for Checking It Out
Please do reach out to me if you have any questions about this instructable or materials used. Let me know if you tried this and may be I can learn more from you :)
I am entering this instructable for the GLASS CONTEST, Please do VOTE if you like the way I incorporated glass in my project.
Second Prize in the
Glass Speed Challenge