This past Monday was my birthday and I had so many fun activities planned for it and the days surrounding it that I had no time to even think about posting. So I’m hoping this quick little how-to will make up for my absence.
As much as I love my apartment, renting has its obvious drawbacks and not being able to do much in the way of home improvement is one that I’m always struggling with. Most recently I’ve been obsessively looking up chandeliers and pretty light fixtures and dreaming about being able to replace the ugly fixtures I have now — but for now I think I’ve come up with a pretty decent solution. For anyone looking to add a statement light piece to their home without tampering with your current light fixtures, this project might offer you the same solution.
For this project you’ll need:
- vintage wagon wheel (Etsy is a good source!)
- string lights (this set came from Target, but choose any that suit your aesthetic)
- extension cords
- 3 pieces of chain, about 4′ in length
- 4 S-hooks, or adjustable rings
- 2 ceiling cup hooks (I used one heavy duty one for the actual chandelier and one smaller lighter one for the cord)
What you’ll want to do first is decide where to install your ceiling cup hook (if you’re using two kinds, use the heavy duty one here). Be sure to account for your chain when choosing your position — it won’t be coming down in one straight line so you’ll need to make room for them if you’ve got any funky ceiling cut outs like I do. Center and mark your desired location with a pencil and drill a hole, sized according to the packaging of your ceiling hook. If you need to, buy a cup hook that comes with an anchor. Insert your anchor and/or cup hook.
Next, take your wagon wheel and begin by looping one end of a chain around the wheel and securing the end with an S-hook or ring about a third of the way up the rest of the chain. Arrange the remaining two chains in equal distances from each other along the wheel base in a triangle shape and repeat the process. If you’re using S-hooks, you may need to be sure that the chain in taut so they don’t come undone. Try to attach them at equal lengths on all three, but don’t worry about it too much as you’ll have the opportunity to adjust once the piece is hanging. Bring the top ends of all three chains together and secure with your final S-hook or ring — this is what you’ll hang from the ceiling hook you just installed. At this point, hang the chandelier frame from that hook and adjust your chains and S-hooks until everything is even and at the length you desire.
While hanging, wrap your string lights around the outer ring of your wagon wheel. You may have to adjust for spacing, but once it’s up there you’ll get a handle on how far apart each light should be. Ideally, you want the end/plug of your string lights to meet at the same point as one of your chains to allow the extension to run up alongside it.
Plug in your extension cord (I used a dark cord to match the chain and help to camouflage it a bit, but you’ll really have to be open to the exposure) to the end of your string lights and run the excess up one of your chains. I liked it best along the chain that was opposite the front but choose what looks best to you and remember you can always sort of spin the whole thing around by flipping the top S-hook or ring and hanging it from the other side if it helps.
Find a good place at another spot in your ceiling to add another cup hook to drape the extension across the ceiling and allow the remaining to come down the wall. There was no way around having mine be seen (and I actually like the look) but you might find a way to cover or hide the rest if you want.
Plug in and out at your hearts desire and enjoy the wonderful ambient light that comes from this fun project! In the end, I’m actually quite pleased with having both my large overhead light and this dimmer piece for mood lighting when I need it (and an otherwise visually cool structure when I don’t). This is really such a quick and easy fix, and I guarantee it will make an impressive difference in your home. Have fun crafting up your own version!