Recycled Bottle Chandelier

Reader Contribution by Jaci Kennison
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Jaclyn Kennison is a freelance writer living and playing in the Black Hills of South Dakota. She owns and manages an art gallery and event venue between fits of shopping and redecorating.

I got the inspiration for this project from a photo I found on this blog: The Art of Others.

I’ve written before about my dreams for a home I will have someday, and how I would like to utilize recycled materials to decorate. In that post I discussed a project I have planned for a light fixure–hang a small, multi-paned window under your light source to beautify and diffuse your light. As I was wandering around the World Wide Web, I ran across this picture of bottles that had been re-purposed in much the same way. It sparked an idea for me, for another light fixture–a chandelier.

To do this project, gather a few of your favorite bottles or jars. Clear ones work well and, when painted, offer a stunning take on the light-in-a-bottle idea. In the photo, the artist obviously used slender lights that dropped right into the tall, narrow necked containers. I think this same concept could be tweaked for more traditional light bulbs and fixtures, though I imagine I would need an electrician to properly finish the project.

Set out your collection of jars and bottles. If you were lucky enough to find old blue or green tinted containers, I would use them just as they are. To spice up the visual interest, consider painting the jars. Pour a small amount of paint into your jar and turn the jar around coating the inside as desired. I think I would start with one color completely coating the bottom and swirling upward and after it had dried, carefully repeat the process starting from the neck of the bottle and spiraling downward. This effect will be eclectic, and somewhat shabby chic, but I think it would also be stunning.

After all the jars are painted and dried, use framing wire to give them “hangers.” Wrap the wire tightly around the narrowest part of the neck of the bottle. A little glue will help to keep the wire in place. Feel free to add ribbon over the top of the wire to soften the look. Attach another wire to the first across the top of the jar. I would make these varying lengths so the jars hang at irregular intervals.

Next, choose a frame for your chandelier. I’m thinking I would use the window frame mentioned in my previous blog referenced above and attach the hanging jars on the edges and corners of the frame. You could also use a wooden wheel off a small cart, or create your own frame with scrap wood in any design that strikes your fancy.

Here’s where I would need an electrician. Have someone who knows what they are doing wire the frame and bulbs to the place in your ceiling where you would like your chandelier to hang and you have a lovely, unique, recycled chandelier. Of course, your design possibilities are endless. You could fill the bottom inch or so of your jars with stones or colored glass to give a different effect, or etch the containers, or wrap the glasses with a transparent paper (on the outside, of course). Other interesting materials such as dried grape vines could be twisted and hung among the jars for a lovely outdoorsy piece of functional art. 

Just grab some transparent, heat-safe containers, and play!