Introduction: LED Fairy Light Chandelier
This elegant chandelier is made using low powered LED fairy lights, some glass ornaments and some cherry wood. If you've never made a light before, but you're interested, then this project might be perfect - it involves some basic soldering, simple woodworking and we're working with low power, this whole fixture is powered with a 5 volt cell phone charger.
For a much more complete picture, make sure to check out the video that goes over the complete build.
Step 1: How Much Power?
I picked up a pack of 6 fairy light sets that came with a battery pack each containing two 3 volt lithium ion batteries. So I needed to figure out how much power the lights needed to operate. Six volts, if powered in series? Or 3 volts if powered in parallel? After checking with my power supply I confirmed they needed 3 volts. Now I wanted to use a 5 volt cell phone charger. To reduce the power, I'm putting in a pwm dimmer made for dc motors. This turned out to be perfect, because with 5 volts coming in, I had 3 volts coming out.
Products Used (Affiliate)
Fairy Lights - https://amzn.to/2SNsc90
Glass Ornaments - https://amzn.to/2PCr7Pj
30ga Wire - https://amzn.to/2PCr7Pj
Lighting Dimmer - https://amzn.to/2PCr7Pj
Bluetooth Light Switch - https://amzn.to/2PCr7Pj
Step 2: Bulb Cap
I'm using 100mm glass ornament bulbs and I needed to cap the top off somehow where I could funnel the wire through a small opening. I settled on using a cherry dowel, I first cut a 5/8 inch hole down a little bit so the top of the bulb could fit in it. Then cut it off, and then cut a smaller hole all the way through.
Step 3: Gluing Caps On
To ensure these little caps stayed on the bulbs well, I went with epoxy, which honestly in my experience you cannot beat when it comes to glue. Before gluing them on, I sanded each cap a bit to get it nice and smooth, and then used a small amount of epoxy on each cap to glue it in place. In terms of looks, I think the wood really dress the bulbs up a bit and take them away from Christmas ornament territory into sleek mid-century modern looking territory almost.
Step 4: Cherry Discs
Since I used cherry dowels, I figured I might as well continue with that look, so I'm cutting up and gluing some cherry boards together to create larger panels, which will be what connects to the ceiling.
I'm making two discs, one large, and one smaller that will go above the larger one. The large one measured about 15 inches in diameter, and the small one about 10.
Step 5: Dowels Separation
I'm going to separate the two discs with a couple of dowels. And the reason for this design, is that the wires from the bulbs will funnel up through the larger disc, and I didn't want to mount that directly onto the ceiling, so then I figured I could add that second piece, create some room in between, plus it would make it look like the large disc was almost floating. Cutting spacious holes through the dowels, because I'm going to be screwing through them to connect the two discs, and i don't want them to crack. Also cutting holes in the large disc for the wires coming up, and since I'm having 5 bulbs dangling down, 360 divided by 5 is 72 degrees, so that's how far apart they were spaced.
Step 6: Wires
Now each bulb will obviously need two wires, one positive one negative, but to make it a little neater I'm spinning two wires together with the drill. And connected to the drill, I have a piece of aluminum rod that I've drilled a hole through, and then just tying the wires together on it, and that works really well to spin it with.
To clean up the wires a bit, I'm using some spray paint. For the wires connected to the bulbs, I'm spray painting them black, and for the longer one going down the wall, I'm spray painting it white. And you'll have to do this a couple of times, turning the wire around to get good coverage.
Step 7: Finishing
To finish all the cherry, I'm using some basic dewaxed shellac, on the bulb caps and the pieces for the ceiling fixture.
Step 8: Connecting the Wires
So time to connect all the wires together. I'm soldering together all five negatives and all five positives, and connecting them with the wires which will connect to the switch and the power plug. Now this wire I'm using is 30 gauge, and super thin and fine to work with, and I really wanted something thin, because I think it looks neat with the bulbs hanging from the thin wire, plus there's so little power going through these wires, so it's fine using such thin wires.
Step 9: Switch Box
I needed something to house the pwm switch in, which you'll turn the lights on with, and also dim them with. So I made a simple little wooden box here that also holds the switch, a female barrel plug that the power cord will plug into. Then there are also the wires coming out on the other side, which will connect to the lights.
Most cellphone chargers don't actually come with a barrel plug, I'm using an old Roku power supply that does. If you were using a power supply with a micro usb connection, you could just add that instead of a barrel plug.
Step 10: Heights for the Wires
Next here I'm funneling the wires through the holes, and cutting them to lengths, and I wanted all the bulbs to be of slightly different heights, so just testing here what might look good. And then once all the wires were through, I could connect each one with the fairy light strip. So the process there, is to first confirm which wire in the fairy light strip is positive and which is negative, and then connect them accordingly.
Step 11: Assembling the Discs
To assemble the discs, I've got screws going through the small round, then through the dowels, and then screwing them into the big disc. I also drilled a hole in the center of both discs, which I'm lining them up with, and that's the screw that will actually connect this whole fixture to the ceiling. Then connecting the dimmer switch box to the lights wire, and finally placing each fairy light strip into each bulb, and I'm simply adding some hot glue to the end of the plug, to keep the lights inside.
Step 12: Conclusion - Watch the Video
Make sure to check out the video to get the full process of the build, and to see the chandelier all installed and in use!