I'm sure we have all seen the rise in popularity of reusing wine bottles in unique ways. I wanted to jump on the bandwagon, and build a nice bottle light fixture to hang over my sink. I searched and searched and couldn't find a design that I liked. My main issue with other designs I have seen is the bottles all hang from the electrical wires, which I really just didn't trust (especially using heavy glass) or used expensive pendant light kits.
After lots of back and forth on how best to hang the bottles and complete the light fixture, here is the design I have developed. Enjoy!
Step 1: Wine Bottle Chandelier Light Fixture: Base Box
To build the base box (from which the chandelier hangs from:
8' of 3/4" by 3" pine trim board
2'x4' 3/4" plywood
Table saw (could use a skill saw as well)
Chop saw (again, could use a skill saw)
Drill with 1/2" drill bit
Foam paint brushes
1. Cut a groove in the trim board to allow the plywood to be recessed inside. I cut a 3/8" deep by 3/4" wide groove using a table saw. It could be done with a skill saw if done carefully to keep the groove straight and consistent. I cut the 8' piece of trim in half, just for ease of working with the pieces.
2. Cut trim board to form outside edge of box. Using a chop saw, I cut the trim boards using miter joints (45 degree angles), making sure to plan for the groove being on the inside of the box. My box's outside dimensions were 12" x 25.5".
3. Cut the plywood to fit inside the box, in the groove. To have it set in to the trim boards and retain my outside dimensions, I cut to 11.25" x 24.75" (3/8" deep groove on all four sides, so 3/4" off outside box dimensions).
4. Dab some wood glue inside the groove on all 4 sides, and place the plywood inside. Clamp all 4 sides of the trim pieces and leave overnight.
5. Layout holes for tubing/bottles. See above for my layout.
6. Drill 1/2" holes for each tube/bottle. 1/2" worked perfect for the tubing/piping in the next steps (encloses the electrical cables and supports the bottle) that I used, but if you use different tubing, just make sure it fits through the hole, but not by too much since the bottle will hang on the lip of the plywood at each hole.
7. Sand away! Sand to remove all pencil marks and excess glue. Use higher grit to finish nicely
8. Clean using rags and pouring on some acetone. This will clean up any dirt/saw dust on the box, and will dry almost instantly.
9. Stain the box whatever color you would like. No need to do the inside, since it won't be seen.
Step 2: Attach Bottles to Box
This is the part that took the most planning and testing, but here is what I found to work really well.
1/2" Plumbing piping (1/2" O.D. is key, since it has to fit through the neck of the bottle)
1/2" to 3/4" Plumbing coupling converter (1 per number of bottles)
3/8" Flange/escutcheon (1 per number of bottles)
#0 Conduit Hangers, or the smallest size you can find (1 per number of bottles)
Cut wine bottles
(2) screw eyes, capable of holding 50 lbs min
(2) plastic electrical junction boxes
Drill and 1" and pre-drilling bits
1. I am not going to explain how to cut/sand down the wine bottles since there are tons of examples elsewhere on this site, as well as Youtube and others. I use a jig, and it works fairly well. I also cut all bottle to the same height, but you could definitely add another level of depth and do different lengths.
2. Cut the Plumbing pipe in segments, I did (3) at 15" and (4) at 17" for the front vs. back rows.
3. Using gorilla glue to secure them, plug the coupling in to the end of the pipe. Make sure the conduit stays clear and you will have to pull wire through later on.
4. Spray paint black to eliminate any of the writing that is visible on the pipe.
5. Insert the pipe piece through the next of the bottle, then place the flange/escutcheon on (make sure it is in the correct direction), then insert the pipe in to the hole already drilled in the box. Mine were a tight fit, which was good since you don't want it to slide back though by accident.
6. Pull the pipe through so that about 1 1/2" is visible on the inside of the box.
7. Attach the conduit hanger to the pipe so it rest directly on the box. This will keep the pipe from sliding through as well. Since the conduit hangers are generally built for wider pipe, you may have to wrap the pipe with tape prior to this step. Try to tighten as much as possible
8. Give the pipe/bottle a pull and shake when all tightened up to make sure it doesn't slide through. You don't want a glass bottle to come crashing down!
9. Clamp down the flange/escutcheon so it is flush with the bottom of the box. I used a little hot glue as well to make sure they stayed in place. These are purely cosmetic.
10. Drill (2) 1" holes on the center of the two sides of the box. These will end up holding up the box in its final location
11. Pre-drill and install (2) screw eyes (one on each side) about 2" off center. These will be used to hold up the box in order to wire.
12. I installed 2 electrical junction boxes inside so all wires could be pulled to this location in the next step
Step 3: Hanging & Electrical Wiring
In order to wire the fixture in place, I wanted to first hang the fixture so one did not have to hold in place (since it is fairly heavy). This would also make it easier to replace a bottle if needed etc.
(2) Screw eyes (should be capable of holding 50lbs minimum)
Mini candelabra light sockets with wiring (however many bottle you are hanging)
About 2' of chain (25lb load)
(4) Quick links (25lb load)
Drill and pre-drilling bit
1. Pre-drill and screw 2 hooks in to the ceiling directly inside the footprint of the box's final location. Doesn't necessarily matter where, but I recommend about 2" off center of each side. I was fortunate to have the whole ceiling covered with in wall blocking, but you will want to check and ensure you hit something solid when you install these hooks as they will be holding the fixture's weight
2. Using the quick links and chain, attach the hooks in the box, to the hooks in the ceiling.
3. Let go and test that the chain/fixture strength to make sure it holds.
4. Once it is secure, turn off power to the circuit and check out the wiring. My fixture was power fed from the ceiling, with wires going to the light switch from there. This is not a normal situation (and one I had to discover through trial and error).
5. Thread the light sockets through the bottle/conduit so all the wires extend in to the box. Pull all the wires in to the junction box closest to the wires in the ceiling. Using electrical tape, tape together all of the white wires, and all of the black wires and make sure the wires are all connected.
6. If some of the bulbs hang down further than desired when pulled to the junction box, pull to desired height, then overlap the wires and wrap electrical tape around the top to hold it in place.
7. In my scenario, the black wire was the power, that fed to the switch, and the red wire came from the switch. So in order for the light switch to operate, all the black wires from the light bulbs had to be attached to the red wire, not the black. I capped the black wires from the ceiling and attached the white bundle, to the white in the ceiling, and as mentioned before, black bundle to red using wire nuts. Once the nuts were on securely, wrap electrical tape around them to ensure there are no exposed threads. If your fixture is not powered from the ceiling, you should just be able to attached black to black and white to white.
8. For the ground, I wrapped it around a screw I placed inside the box, making sure it could not touch any other metal.
9. Turn the circuit and switch on to make sure the fixture works properly.
Step 4: Installing in Final Location
This was another tricky part, that took some serious thought on how I wanted to attached it directly to the ceiling. Many factors came in to play.
1. Due to the tight nature of my cabinets to the fixture, a dowel that went through the whole length of the fixture was not possible since I would not have been able to get it in/out without jamming in to the cabinets
2. I live right near a train station, and the house shakes on occasion, so I didn't want to just use a pin since it could 'wiggle' out
In discussing the dilemma with a friend, and a gentlemen at HomeDepot, I came up with the following idea that uses drywall toggle bolts. These can be threaded through the holes in the box, then through hooks on the ceiling, and tightened. The bolt then could not 'wiggle' out, but by unscrewing it, can come off to access the inside of the box.
(2) Screw eyes (with a 1" minimum opening)
(2) 5/8" toggle bolts (basically the biggest I could find)
(2) 5/8" x 1 1/4" fender washers
Drill and pre-drill bit
1. Pre-drill and install the (2) screw eyes on the ceiling in the center of the final location of the sides of the box (should match up perfectly with the existing holes in the side of the box from the previous step).
2. Measure the distance from ceiling to the bottom of the eye opening and from the top of the box, to the bottom of the drilled hole. These dimensions should match up. (I had to add some trim to the top of the box in order for them to line up)
3. Lift up the box in to location, and thread the toggle bolt (adding a washer so the head of the bolt wouldn't go through the hole as well) through the side of the box, then through the eye. Do the same to the other side, then tighten them down. To remove, simply unscrew the toggle bolts and the box will drop down to the chains again
4. And you're done! Enjoy!