Friday, December 28, 2012

Light Up the Stage (Handcrafted Chandeliers)

Do you need some fresh ideas for holiday stage decorations? Where do you find your inspiration? I often find myself walking around Hobby Lobby looking for something to use to create decorations, props, or costumes. Last year, I struck gold in the fabric department. This wispy chiffon with ruffles looked wintery and seemed to be thin enough to use as part of a light fixture. I took the bolt over to the Christmas tree department and held it up in front of the white lights, and it was perfect.
I bought fabric, 6 sets of white lights, and 6 extension cords, but still had no idea how I was going to construct the light fixtures. After much deliberation, I decided lamp shades would serve as a good base for the fixtures. I bought 4 circles and 2 rectangles, so I could have 2 sets of three chandeliers.
I measured the diameter of the lampshade and cut the fabric accordingly.

I used strong clear packaging tape to attach the fabric to the inside of the lampshade. I used the lampshades upside down, so the largest part was on top. That allowed the fabric to flow straight from the top, instead of fanning out.
I forgot to take pictures after placing the lights inside, and now they are all boxed up and stored at school. It was actually quite simple. I used one string of white lights and one basic extension cord (I think they have 3 plugs) per light. The end of the extension cord fit tightly into the metal circle of the shade. I plugged the lights in under the circle, which kept the cord from slipping out when held upright. I took the lights and simply looped the strand around the metal parts of the shade as needed, to keep the lights from hanging out of the bottom.
Here is a close up of the lights shining through the fabric:
Here is the finished product hanging in my classroom as a test to make sure the tape would hold. I've used the decorations for two years now. Each year, we do 5-6 shows, so they seem to be durable.
In addition to making chandeliers, I bought some tulle and created a garland. I wrapped the fabric around strands of icicle lights, and used short pieces of tulle to tie and create the bubbles.
One last word of advice: Hobby Lobby always has a 40% off coupon for anything that isn't on sale. You can even search for it on your phone, and they will use the electronic coupon. Now, what are you waiting for? Grab a coupon and go shopping!

6 comments :

  1. HI, Very beautiful! How did you hang the chandelier to the celling? How safe is the fabric for the light ? Thank so much for sharing:)

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  2. The ceiling is acoustical tile, so I put clips with hooks that are made to fit around the aluminum trim and hung the lights by the extension cord. There is one strand of small white lights in each chandelier, and I haven't had a problem with them getting too hot. We've used them for several years now, and they've been fine.

    I grouped 3 chandeliers together and plugged each of their short extension cords into one extension cord. I was able to run the main extension cord to the stage lighting pole right behind the curtain. I unplugged a stage light, plugged in the chandelier cord, and then used the light board to turn the decorative lighting on and off. I could even control the brightness. It worked out very well.

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  3. I love these lights. Just curious, how long are they?

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  4. Such great and simple ideas! I love how you just build one idea from other. Been reading your blog from some time. You guys are best

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  5. I really appreciate this wonderful post that you have provided for us. I assure this would be beneficial for most of the people.
    Large Contemporary Chandeliers

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