Champagne Bottle Chandelier

Here is a design project you can do with all the leftover bottles you’ll have tomorrow morning!
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I created this “Bubbly Chandelier” for my (now closed) retail store Green and Greener back in 2007. It hung over my register counter for many years, and was even written up in the LA times by David Keeps. Putting the individual pendant lights together into a chandelier may require a bit of outsourcing.

Step 1: Cut your bottles. Take your empty champagne, wine, beer bottles to a glass store and ask them to cut off the bottom for you. In my experience between 10-20% of bottles will shatter during this process so be prepared to have back-ups. I’ve seen videos of people explaining how to cut glass from home, that is something I would personally never recommend or try. My glass guy would charge me $10/a bottle to do this. If you want to keep the cage and foil from your champagne bottles, cut through the foil with an Exacto blade so that it comes off cleanly. Many other projects take the labels off the bottles, but I chose the Perrier Jouet bottles specifically because I like the artwork and it brings back wonderful memories of a trip to New Zealand. For me part of the fun is the memories the bottles have!

Step 2: String electrical wire. You can get all the supplies to do this from a local hardware store or ask an electrician to do it for you. Check out the blog posts below on how to do this. The most important thing to remember is to creat a knot with the wire on the inside of the bottle to take the weight of the bottle off of the socket. See the Remodelaholic pictures.

Step 3: Choose your bulbs. I chose the round LED bulbs that look like bubbles to complement the champagne bottles (hence Bubbly Chandelier). These bulbs are made by a company called TCP and are their medium-sized festive light. The bulbs last a long-time and the Tivoli white color (pictured) gives off a gentle candle-like glow. They are not bright enough to do work by. The festive light also comes in a small size and a really large size that would also be fun to incorporate if you can get your hands on them (not easy, they are mostly to the trade.) The bulbs inside the bottles are TCP flame-tip CFL bulbs in Las Vegas white. TCP makes really high-quality products that cost a bit more but are worth it.

Step 4: Hang the lights. You can either hardwire them so you can use a switch to turn them on, or you can wire them to a plug. See blogs below for more on that. To space out my lights my electrician fabricated a structure that worked for my industrial-looking space. He took some hollow curtain rods, drilled holes every few inches and passed the wire through. We used 2-rods that were spaced a few inches apart so that there was some depth to the fixture as well as some width. Have fun and be a spark in the world! Here is to an amazing 2015.

Here are some other instructional blog posts and videos on this same type of project.

Remodelaholic shows a step-by-step blog including glass-cutting:http://www.remodelaholic.com/2010/09/how-to-make-a-glass-wine-bottle-pendant-light-diy/

Decoist shows 50-ideas for similar DIY light projects. http://www.decoist.com/2013-10-31/diy-pendant-lights/

youTube demo by a South African designer https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=EnZa9i2B4cs

DIY Non-Toxic Upholstery

I’ve always wanted to try my hand at upholstery and my daughter’s headboard gave me a perfect chance because it doesn’t matter how the back looks (as I’ve said I’m a crafter, but a lazy crafter…I am content to “satisfice.”) It took me about 2-hours to do this project (with lots of resting in-between steps.)  Someone more skilled or motivated than me could probably have completed it in 45-minutes.

The biggest challenge I had with this project was finding a material to use in place of foam because I wanted to avoid the flame retardant chemicals present in traditional upholstering materials. But I found the perfect material: coir matting! You simply outline the shape you need, cut it out and glue gun it to the plywood. I used two layers of coir, one layer of wool batting, one of cotton and then the final fabric and it turned out BEAUTIFULLY! All of my batting and fabrics were organic.  You can find materials like what I used here. The organic cotton decorative fabric I purchased from Honey Bee Good.

Steps:

1. Trace outline of shape on 1/4-inch plywood (preferably FSC-certified and no/low-VOC) and cut it out (my husband is a wiz on the bandsaw which was necessary for this intricate a shape.)

2. Trace shape on coir mat and cut out.  Be sure to cut just INSIDE the line because you don’t want the coir to overhang the wood.  Use a glue gun to secure it in place.

3. Trace the shape onto the wool batting leaving 2-3-inch overhang.  Use a heavy duty staple gun to secure. Do the same with the cotton batting and then the final fabric.

4. Attach the upholstery: Some beds have an inset bevel that allows you to nest the upholstery into the bevel the way you next a photograph into a frame where about 1-inch of the photograph is covered.  You then simply put a back on the upholstered part to screw it in place, again, much like the picture in a frame. Our bed did not have that inset bevel.  We WERE able to remove the piece of decorative wood you see in the center, but since I wanted the upholstered piece to sit within the decorative grooves, we had to find a way to attach it to the back of the frame.  So we used corner brackets turned at a 90-degree AWAY from the corner to secure the fabric headboard to the back (should have take a picture of this but I didn’t…darn…will try to do at a later date!) Basically if you think of the top-right corner of the bed imagine positioning the bracket like a capital letter “L” with one screw going through the back of the upholstered plywood and the other screw going through the headboard frame.  ALL THE MATERIALS I USED (including the brackets/screws) can be found here.

There is nothing cozier to me than leaning up against an upholstered headboard with a good book!  Enjoy!

Before and After

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