Birds’ Nest Chandelier, a set on Flickr.
1. An old book you can tear out pages from, or, if not, paper.
2. Some method of coloring those pages; I chose watercolor.
3. Hot glue gun or alternative attachment method.
4. Large grapevine wreath.
6. Plant hook.
So I’ve actually made variations on this birds’ nest chandelier a couple times before. I originally got the idea from a Katie Brown episode from 2001 or so. Usually I decorate them with Christmas ornaments. But then I saw this great fall leaf wreath from Alisa Burke, and I figured I would try to adapt her happy leaves to liven up my birds’ nest.
Which is what I did. It was all very easy, although it took me more than one evening after work to complete. My process:
1. Found a book I figured I would never read (Charles Schwab’s Guide to Financial Independence, 1999 edition. Pretty sure the projected return rate on my 401(k) is a little off.), and tore out a lot of pages! Very satisfying!
2. Did a Google image search for fall leaves. You can find of variety of shapes this way and you’re all set. Unless you’re not from California. In which case you are welcome to draw these from memory and guffaw at my Googling.
3. Used a Uni-ball pen to draw out my leaf shapes on the pages of the book. One thing I wish I’d done is make them all bigger, like nearly the whole page (my book was a 9″ x 6″ I think) big. Also, I would have made 15, not 10. I’ll add some more next year.
4. Painted my leaves. I used to do watercolors a long time ago, but I didn’t have any supplies any more. I bought a 10-tube Grumbacher kit at Michael’s, along with a cheap palette and some multi-use brushes. I figured I could mix up whatever color wasn’t in the tubes, and I find colors look more real if they’re a mix of tube colors in any case. I made myself basically little mini-rainbow of colors on my palette and then I went to work:
You could also use crayons, colored pencils, pastels, whatever.
5. After the paint dried, I realized since the book’s pages were so thin, these leaves were not going to look like crisp fall leaves on my chandelier. So I sprayed them with fabric starch after they dried. I worried it was going to make the paint run, but it didn’t. Then I put them on some paper towels to dry.
6. Next step was simply to cut the leaves out. You can see I left a bit of white. I like it that way. If you don’t, you don’t have to. But if you don’t, make sure you draw your leaf stems thick.
7. Now, the birds’ nest chandelier. You get a grapevine wreath from Michael’s floral’s department or a florist supply shop. I got the biggest one they had at my Michael’s, I am guessing 27 inches in diameter? The wreath has one big vine that curls around all the rest to hold them together, and there may be a metal clasp as well. You have to take off that big vine so you can pull apart the wreath. I did so by: (a) carefully and patiently sawing through the curler vine with a dull pair of serrated pliers for about 5 minutes until (b) I realized I was an idiot and could just snap it in two. You can leave the metal clasp unless it stops the wreath from pulling apart too much, in which case you’ll to plier it off.
Then you just sort of move around the wreath, pulling from all directions, until you get to a point where you think the wreath looks like an artfully deconstructed birds nest. You’ll have to go with your gut on this one.
8. Hot glue gun your leaves onto the birds’ nest, making sure to spread them out evenly. You can also tuck any actual fall leaves you have, or flowers (I tucked dried Chinese Lanterns), into the birds’ nest.
9. Take wire (I got red wire from the jewelry section at Michael’s), and wrap it around one of the bigger branches (but not the top branch) of your birds’ nest and then run enough wire out to the length it should be to the ceiling, plus a little to tie a knot to go around your plant hook, and cut. Do the same thing two more times, spacing the wire out so it will come up in a triangle to the ceiling.
10. Put your plant hook in the ceiling, tie the three wires together and wrap them around the paint hook, and woohoo! You’ve got a deconstructed birds’ nest chandelier!
I’m going to be rotating out my fall leaves for winter stuff in a few weeks, and I’ll post about that update as well.