Intro: Tumbleweed Chandelier
Did you know chandeliers occur in nature? Thanks to the Fibonacci sequence you can easily find dead twigs and tumbleweeds with graduated tiers resembling a chandelier. With a little love and some tweaking you can easily have a sexy centerpiece to grace your dining room. Layer on some string LEDs and you've got a low energy light source as well!
Step 1: Tumbleweed Shopping
The best places I've found to go tumbleweed shopping are desolate fields such as the dairy land near my folks' house pictured below.
Step 2: Score!
The perfect dead plant has been found! The deader the better and this one looks like some sort of hybrid between a tumbleweed and tree branch. It was pretty light and hollow feeling, so I'm guessing it was a bush at one point.
I gathered a few different kinds to have the best selection. Most tumbleweeds have leafy remnants and spiky protrubances that could require more cleanup work, so I suggest finding the smoothest one possible with the least bugs living in it.
Step 3: Cleanup
Now it's time to tidy up your tumbleweed! I sprayed it down with a compressed air hose to get all the dust and bugs off. If you don't have a compressed air generator, you can buy cans of compressed air at an office supply store. Or you can skip this step if you don't care about dust and dirt.
Next I snap off any unruly branches that jeopardize the overall shape. The bottom has an extra long stem so I took a little hand saw and cut it down.
Step 4: Lights... Camera... Action! (sans the Camera)
To illuminate your chandelier simply add some string lights (preferably LEDs to keep it low energy). I bought these lights at Target for about ten bucks. You can also get solar powered LED string lights on ebay. Simply drape the lights in and around the tumbleweed, starting from the base and working your way up so that the male plug end is at the top.
I attached the wire of the lights to the branches with a few gator clips, since that's what I had lying around. They seem to have held up nicely so far.
Step 5: ¡Voila!
My first attempt at hanging the chandelier failed when I discovered my ceiling is practically mush. While screwing in a hanging fixture my face was greeted with plaster dust probably containing amounts of lead and asbestos. So if you live in an apartment building over eighty years old like me you may want to try an alternative method.
Therefore the most MacGyver style method I could think of was to affix the chandelier to the ceiling via staple gun, which has actually proved effective so far.
And voila! A super simple tumbleweed chandelier.