DIY Faux Shell Chandelier - Made With Paper




About: I've always had a tendency to make things rather than buy. When your design aesthetic never seems to work with your budget you end up developing pretty good maker skills. I hope my little projects can inspir...

It's amazing how a light fixture can really add character too a room. I've always been a fan of capiz shell chandeliers but unfortunately they are very expensive. With the help of pinterest and google I compiled some ideas and put together this modern and yet cheap chandelier. Looking at it you would never know that it cost only 10-15$.

Step 1: Materials

Initially when I began this project I planned on using wax paper because that's what I had seen on Pinterest. That ended up being a total fail. I don't know what those chicks are using by apparently my off brand wax paper is subpar. The hole punch demolished the wax paper and left me with a crumpled blob.

That led me to the craft store where I found the perfect material. Vellum paper. It is translucent and durable which is exactly what I needed for this project.

Here's a list of materials-

1.5" circle hole punch
1/16" diy hole punch
Vellum paper (10-15)
Jump rings (300ish)
Wire wreath base (I painted mine gold)

Step 2: Making Circles

The first thing you do is cut your vellum in 1.75" strips. This makes it very easy to use the hole punch.

Now carefully line up the strips and cut the 1.5" circles out. Make sure to utilize every bit of it.

After that you will use your 1/16th" hole punch to make a two holes in 90% of the circles and one hole in the rest. The one hole circles will be the bottoms of each row.

Step 3: Linking Circles

After your paper circles are prepped you are ready to link them together with the jump rings. Open the jump rings and make links in your desired lengths.

I made 12 columns of 4 links for each side and 7 columns of 8 links for the inner square.

What makes this so fun is that you can design it however you like. 3 tiers, cascading levels, colors, ombré, etc. I had only so much paper so I was forced to keep it simple.

Step 4: Putting It Together

Attach each column to the wire wreath base. Tighten the jump ring so they stay in place.

Once you have attached them all you are ready to mount it to the ceiling around your existing light.

I used 4 metal strips and wedged them under the existing light edge and wrapped it over the wire edge. Simple, hidden, and secure. You can see it in the picture.

A better idea would be to get anchors to be able to screw it in place but I was making it work with what I had available.

Step 5: Paper Chandelier

With a little time investment and about 10$ you have a fun way to spice up your current light fixture. :)

Here are some other options-

  • If you don't want to use jump rings you can glue the circles onto string - OR - you can sew the circles with sewing machine to create the links.
  • Use regular craft paper. Colors and prints could make it really fun.
  • Use a heart hole punch, or a butterfly. Any shape you can find.
  • Use a crochet circle for the base of the chandelier.
  • Use and old lamp base
  • You can spray a shimmer of gold on the vellum paper



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    18 Discussions


    2 years ago

    Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.

    fluffy owl

    2 years ago

    Thank you for this, it's a great idea and much lighter than the shell thing I have just now. I intend to recycle my chandelier, incorporating the shells into a hanging decoration/wind chime and reuse the chandelier frame using vellum paper circles or other shapes as you suggest.


    3 years ago

    Thank you so much! I knew this could be done with vellum, I just needed to hear it from someone else to confirm it. I wanted it from vellum for two reasons: First, the same as yours; it is easier to work with. And second, and most importantly in my case; I'm working on this with my eccentric daughter that really wanted it in a rainbow of colors! So glad to see that it looks just as good with the vellum paper!


    3 years ago

    This is amazing! (:


    4 years ago on Introduction

    LOVE THIS! I have a real shell chandelier that I shamelessly dug out of the garbage when my neighbor moved and threw it away. It is heavy as hell and I had to chop half the length off just to make it work. This is a wonderful alternative. Favorited!

    3 replies
    Rachael Kashleyjlong

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you. I would totally do the same thing! I love great finds like that. Upcycling garbage gets me a little too excited, haha! I never thought about how heavy they are. This paper one is like 1/2 a pound.

    ashleyjlongRachael K

    Reply 4 years ago on Introduction

    My boyfriend is convinced that if an earthquake causes it to fall on us as we sleep, we're probably going to lose our legs. Shell is some serious business! :)


    4 years ago on Introduction

    This is great! I love the compleate look and how you secured it to an existing light fixture

    2 replies