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DIY: Dining Room Chandelier on a Budget

My husband and I have been “doing stuff” to our house since the week we moved in… 13 years ago. I think we have a problem.

Our current project has included a change to our dining area. What I had not anticipated was the fact that a slight change in size has had a huge visual impact! Our previous space was tight and rather enclosed. Our light fixture is a nice, small flush-mount that no longer looks appropriate in our new, more open space. 

I had fun shopping around for a new fixture, however, as my husband loves to point out, I apparently have Cadillac taste… The light fixtures I like were way more money than I was willing to spend. And quite frankly, I am likely to change my style choices in another decade anyway! I cannot justify spending a ton of money on something I may want to change in a few years. So, when I saw I style that I really liked, I decided I should try to make it on my own. 

DIY: Dining Room Chandelier on a Budget Raleigh Moms BlogI went “shopping” at my grandparents’ house and found some old yard tools that would have worked really well as a base, but I decided that my space hadn’t grown THAT much. So, I settled on this small horse yoke. My grandfather also had a plethora of canning jars from the early 20th century, so I snagged a bunch of those as well.

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All I had to do was teach myself how to wire up some light sockets! Easy, right? Surely the internet would help me. I read up on parts I would need (I found edisonbulbs.net helpful) and ordered some stuff online. I thought it would be really cool to use some old-school looking wire. 

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Well, the thing is, that wire was really thick. I realized pretty quickly that it was too thick to use for this particular project. I wasn’t going to be able to run it through the ceiling medallion. This wire would be cool for a lamp or some other single-bulb project. Besides, the brown color was not dark enough for my liking. So, I went to my local home-improvement store and bought approximately 12 feet of lamp wiring in black. While there, I saw that they sell kits with wiring, chains, etc all in one package. Perhaps that would have been a better thing to do. There’s always next time.

The first thing I did was affix the chains to the yoke and canning jars, because quite frankly, that was the least scary.

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With wire in hand, I was ready but scared to tackle the lighting. I had purchased a pack of 4 sockets (of which I was planning to use 3). The site I found the most useful and straightforward to help me through the wiring process was at edisonbulbs.net

There was a whole lot of debris after attempting to wire the first socket… but I finally got one together!

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Once I figured out the first one, the others went a lot more quickly. And after a whole Saturday… I finally got it all assembled. The hardest part was the chain, to be honest. 

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As you can see, there was still a stray wire coming from the middle jar. I had no idea what to do with that wire. I knew I could run it through one of the chains on the side, however, the opening in the ceiling medallion is not wide enough for three wires. I could not find anything that instructed me on how to take care of this wire. It seemed like everything just said “wire it.”

So I had to ask for help from my husband. Ultimately, the stray wire was run down into one of the jars on the end and wired into the end socket. So, that meant I had to undo one of my sockets to blend the wires together… and it took more time. But now I know for next time!  

There are a lot of lovely Edison-style bulbs and canning jar fixtures out there. Well, the issue I ran into with my circa 1920’s jars is that the openings are REALLY small. I also chose to use a small jar in the middle. This forces me to head back online to shop for bulbs. I ended up purchasing 40 Watt bulbs that were 1.77″ x 4.33″ and have that Edison feel to them. I think they look nice. I wish I had a picture of the finished product hanging up to share with you, but the house is still under construction, so you will just have to use your imagination!

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I cannot tell you the relief I felt when it lit up! There are pre-wired sockets out there. That would obviously be a time saver. I just didn’t want to have to worry about the length of wire that came with those sockets. Maybe next time. 

Total cost: less than $60! And I have some parts left over with which to make some sconces.

 

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