Make a garden art chandelier using some old household junk, marbles, and lamp crystals.
For more, also see how to make a mini greenhouse from old house windows.
My garden chandelier was one of the first garden art projects I made for my garden, and it’s still one of my favorites. Using a recycled metal kitchen colander, some thrifted lamp parts, marbles, and glass gems, it’s a unique trash to treasure chandelier.
This is a do-it-yourself chandelier but there is no electrical wiring involved. It’s simply a pretty garden decor item that looks lovely as it sparkles year round with the sunlight streaming through. I particularly like how it adds some vibrancy to the snowy winter garden.
I’ve listed complete instructions and ideas for finding materials below. Depending on your local resources and if you get lucky finding recycled lamp crystals, you should be able to make one for about $20.
Do It Yourself Chandelier
Bring some bling to your garden!
I suggest using a kitchen colander or some other similar metal item that already has some holes in it. This will make it easy to attach the wires holding the marbles.
Personally, I really like the combination of rusty or rustic with something exquisite or up-scale but you can pick what suits you best. It’s your art, after all.
One thing to really watch for is old ceiling lamps at thrift shops and yard sale.
There are a lot of really tacky ones from the 1970s and 80s that actually have a lot of useful, reusable parts on them including faux crystals. Ignore how ugly the lamp is and consider harvesting the parts.
I save the plastic-coated wires and wire chains for other garden projects. It can all be put to good use eventually.
The point of making garden art from old stuff is to use what you have or can find in the garbage or cheap at a thrift shop. Don’t get hung up on finding a particular part: let serendipity guide you and adapt to what you find. There’s so many possibilities!
- Metal kitchen colanders and metal lamp shades make an excellent base. I look for anything that has holes already in it and seems sturdy, this way I can thread wire through the holes to hang the beads, marbles and crystals.
- Round and flat-bottom marbles Use an outdoor silicone sealant such as GE Silicone II Clear Sealant or an adhesive like Weldbond to attach flat-bottomed marbles to the colander. I also wrap round marbles in wire to create my own dangling crystals.
- Beads Check thrift shops for bags of glass, crystal, plastic, and wooden beads.
- Old lamp crystals These can really range in price. I found some of mine in the garbage on an old, ugly, 1970’2 lamp but they also show up on eBay for ridiculously (high) prices. If you can’t find any, substitute with beads or old necklace parts or anything else that will catch the light and add the color you want.
- Wire The lower the gauge number, the thicker the wire. I use 16-20 gauge wire. Quality can really vary. I do not like Dollar Store wire—it tends to be too flimsy. I try to find something that won’t snap when I twist it. You want it strong enough to endure wet and snowy weather but not so thick that it looks bulky.
- Copper Wire Copper has become quite expensive these days, however, sometimes people get rid of things like old copper tubes that were used for water lines to refrigerators. I take them when I see them in the garbage. Copper wire works great for wrapping marbles because it’s thick but flexible.
- Adhesive Outdoor adhesives have become really good in recent years. I like GE Silicone II Clear Sealant and Weldbond. Decide whether you want to work with a caulking dispenser or squeeze tube. Caulking dispenser tubes tend to be much less expensive overall than squeeze tubes.
Tools You May Need
- Needle Nose Pliers to twist the wire
- Scissors or wire cutter to snip the wire
- Caulking dispenser (if you’re using adhesive that requires one)
- Electric drill and Metal drill bits if you need to make holes in your metal colander or lamp shade
Where I Find Garden Art/Junk Parts and Materials
- My home or yours
- My mom’s home
- Garbage day
- Thrift shops
- Dollar stores (for marbles and wire)
- Habitat ReStore
- Yard sales
- Auction sales
- Kijiji and Craigslist ads (you can place your own free want ads too)
How To Assemble The Garden Chandelier
These steps will depend on what you’ve got and how you want it to look, but basically you want to:
- Wrap wires around marbles. Leave enough extra wire to attach them to the colander.
- Attach glass gems/flat marbles to colander.
- Figure out how you want to suspend the colander, presumably with a piece of wire.
- That’s it. It’s ready when you (the artist) say it is.
~Melissa the Empress of Dirt ♛