DIY Wooden Beaded Chandelier

We are currently building a new house without an official builder’s help so obtaining pricing for everything has been on our shoulders (really, I should say my husband, Aaron’s!) The one piece I did look into was lighting expenses and no surprise… but they add up QUICK. When I was thinking about lighting, I was really only thinking about all the pretty lights we’d have throughout the house (you know – the pendants over the island, the chandelier in the entryway, etc…). What I wasn’t thinking about was all the boring lights – like the lights in our closets, recessed lighting, and who even wants to think about the outdoor security lighting? Alllllll those add up so I started trying to research ways we could save money in this area. I came across some Pinterest lighting projects that made me curious about my ability to flip an old light. I’ve always loved the wooden beaded chandeliers that are so popular right now but they can be SUPER pricey. I’ve seen prices ranging anywhere from $150 for something pretty basic to $2,000+!

The initial struggles I found with creating my own were:

1 – Finding an old light with the right shape. You have to have something to attach the strands of beads to and not many lights have the bones that lend itself to this kind of project.

And 2 – Finding an old light that is cheap enough to risk what could be a flop project on!

I ended up really lucking out on solutions to both of these issues by shopping local. I purchased the light below for ONLY $7.50 from Habitat for Humanity ReStore! It was 50% off. Cha-Ching! Not only was it dirt cheap but the structure was perfect for what I envisioned.

Aaron helped me make sure that the light was functional and it was! Woohoo.

The first thing I wanted to do was antique the light fixture. I hit up Pinterest again to research the best methods and materials for doing this. I found this blog super helpful and even used some of the same paints! I used sea sponges as Diane suggested. I also used some paint brushes to get in the trickier spots. Here are the exact paints I used:

  • DecoArt Americana Gloss Enamel metallic Paint, 2-Ounce, Rich Espresso – $6.82
  • DecoArt Americana Acrylic Paint, 2 ounce, Bleached Sand – $1.19
  • DecoArt American Chalk Finish Ultra Matte Acrylic Paint, 2 ounce, Everlasting -$2.99
  • Rust-Oleum 223525 Multi-Color Textured Spray, Aged Iron, 12-Ounce (in Aged Iron) – $4.50

Total paint cost: $15.50

(With lots of paint left for future projects!)

I used the same method of layering the paints as described in the blog linked above. I was really hesitant at first but eventually it started to come together. I sprayed the Rust-Oleum paint in a bowl and sponged it on first to give it a gritty texture. Here are some examples of how it turned out. The great thing about this sort of project is that there is no “perfect” finished product. Something that’s genuinely aged isn’t going to look perfect so this didn’t need to either.

The next struggle was knowing how many beads to order. I just guessed that I’d need close to a thousand. I ordered a variety of sizes and still ended up ordering two extra bags halfway through. Here is what my full bead order from Amazon looked like:

  • 1 package 10mm (300pc) for $7.99
  • 1 package 12mm (200pc) for $10.99
  • 1 package 14mm (200pc) for $11.99
  • 1 package 16mm (100pc) for $7.36
  • 1 package 20mm (30pc) for $5.68
  • 1 package 20mm (100pc) for 9.99
  • 2 Multi-Size Pack (100pc) for $12.99

Total Bead Cost: $66.99

(With beads in several sizes left over for future projects)

This brings the grand total to just shy of $90!

I used a mixture of 32 gauge gold wire and also some clear jewelry making floss thread that I already had at home. The floss resembled fishing line. I used it to tie most of the top portion strands. I ended up using the wire on the bottom section simply because it ended up being easier to secure to the light fixture. The angle at which I was having to tie knots with the floss was really awkward on the bottom and after dropping the light and breaking tons of my already finished work – I decided to go a different route. The wire allowed me to finish it without tying knots! If I had to buy these items, I’d tack on an extra $7-8.

One thing I would have done differently if I had the project to do over would be the order in which I did the beading. I separated the project into two sections. I did the top in one sitting and the bottom in another. However, I realized that if I’d used one long strand to run beads from the very top to the bottom, I would have saved myself the trouble of securing the strands in the middle. All I would have had to do was wrap the strand around the middle bar and kept moving. Oh well! Who knows…. if I had done it that way, the weight of the beads may have been too heavy.

Here is a photo just after I finished it. My little lady was admiring it. I preferred the natural wood look but you could probably bleach or paint the beads too (or order them the color you want although they might be more expensive!).

Since we aren’t actually in our new house yet to hang this, photos of my husband holding it will have to suffice. I told him this was part of his workout for the day. 😂 One day when its hung in its permanent location, I’ll update the blog!

I think my time and money was well spent on this project! I spent maybe an hour total painting the light fixture. Had I not broken the beading halfway through, I’d estimate I spent 6-7 hours on the beading. This is definitely a DIY success!

DIY Wooden Beaded Chandelier