Often when one is visiting rummage sales or second hand shops you will see these old wire bird cages that are usually in a terribly damaged state but still have a lot of character. Of course, one could restore it and stick a bird inside, but I think it is rare that a bird owner (or his birds) would want something so old and rusted. Well here is a use for it which will add character to your home, is quick, and costs almost nothing to do.
All you need to restore an old birdcage and turn it into a chandelier is the following:
1) an old lamp (to get the light fixture and cord from) or purchase a lamp light socket
2) spray paint
3) some wood to replace the damaged pieces of the cage
4) some wire coathangers to replace any of the missing wires
5) a jigsaw, drill, hammer, and nails
6) wire cutters, wire strippers, wire nuts
Step 1: First Take Apart the Cage and Repair the Wire
The first step is to spray paint the cage whatever color you like, My wife chose silver. Then take apart the cage and replace/repair the damaged pieces. The wires can be replaced using wire coathangers. They have the same stiffness as the bird cage wires and by cutting it to the correct length, straightening the wire, spray painting it, and putting in place of the missing wire, you can replace any of the missing wires. The thickness of the wire may not be quite the same but it won't be noticeable.
Step 2: Now Fix or Replace the Damaged Wood
Around the base of the cage were a bunch of little wooden pieces where the vertical posts attach to the base of the cage. They were all damaged as shown in the picture. I first tried a few different ways of replacing them and when I finally found a piece that worked I used it as a template and traced out the others. I then cut them with a jigsaw. When nailing them onto the base of the cage it is best to drill tiny holes and then nail the finishing nails through the holes. This way there is less risk of splitting the fragile little pieces.
Step 3: My First Attempt at a Light Design
My first thought was to buy a lamp light fixture, or just take one from an old lamp and attach it to the top of the inside of the cage so that it hung down as if the light bulb was a little bird sitting on a bird swing. I thought it was pretty cool... but my wife said it looked stupid and made me change it to her way (which I now think is actually nicer)
The pictures above show the result of this first idea.
Step 4: Attaching the Light
In order to attach the light I removed the light socket and cord from the wire frame of the lamp and then drilled a large hole down through the center of the top of the cage and fed the wire up through it. When I had the light at the spot I wanted it to hang inside the cage, I put a knot in the wire so that it wouldn't pull through. I then tested the light and finally I attached a chain to the top of the cage so that it would be able to hang from the chain. I tested the entire setup by hanging it in my workshop.
Step 5: Installing the Chandelier
I installed the chandelier in my back porch. I remove the light that was currently there (after hitting the breaker so that there was no power flowing to it!) I then attached the chain to the roof after feeding it and the wire through a light socket. I then connected the wires to the ones from the old light socket using wire cutters, wire stripper, and wire nuts, and finally I attached the socket to the roof as shown in the picture. Then the breaker can be safely turned back on and you have a birdcage chandelier! I think it adds some character to that back porch.