How to Make a Wax Paper Capiz Shell Chandelier

Hello! I’ve got a little how to for you today, it’s how to make a wax paper capiz shell chandelier which we hung in our master closet.  I had seen both real and fake capiz shell chandys and kept the project in the back of my mind for a rainy day – or a closet renovation :-)

Here’s how you make one, get ready for some pictures!

Your supplies:

  • Wax paper - I used 3 for this chandelier – get them at the dollar store
  • Wire basket or some frame for the chandelier – I used a hanging basket I found at Big Lots
  • Spray paint – optional if you want to add some color to the wax paper, which I did, or paint the basket
  • Round circle punch – I’ve heard of people cutting the circles by hand. That’s craziness for me. Grab your 40% off coupon and head to the craft store to buy a circle punch, they come in all kinds of sizes. ~ I used a 1 1/2 inch round punch for this project
  • Iron
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine – I sewed my circles together, some people glue them
  • Hot glue gun and glue sticks

Wax Paper Capiz Shell Chandelier

Once you have all of your supplies, paint the basket in the color you’d like. I painted mine white to blend in with the wax paper color. I chose this basket since the wires going around it were different sizes, meaning it would give the chandelier layers as I put on the shells. See the small wire circle at the top in this photo actually became the bottom of the chandelier. So the widest circle which is at the top of the basket was the top of the chandelier once it was hung.

And I chose a simple basket so I didn’t have to make a million shells. Four layers was enough.

Wax Paper Capiz Shell Chandelier

Then prepare your wax paper. I ripped 30 sheets of wax paper, as close to the same size as I could. I didn’t measure because this is kind of a labor intensive project anyway and I knew it wouldn’t matter.

Since I wanted some color to my “capiz” shells I decided to spray paint some of my wax paper. I didn’t spray them solid, just in a random pattern to give some color to the sheets of wax paper. The more random the better anyway since capiz shells are random in color by nature. I used silver spray paint and laid them out in the backyard. This was the only way I could figure out how to do it! If course the neighbors think I’m crazy anyway.

Do this on a non windy day!

Wax Paper Capiz Shell Chandelier

Then you iron the wax paper together. I ironed 3 sheets, sometimes 2 plain and 1 painted and sometimes 2 painted and 1 plain. It’s all up to you if you paint them or not. I wanted some color variation so I just threw together 3 sheets and ironed them. I believe I painted about 30 sheets and then tore 30 plain/non painted sheets and used a combination of those.

Wax Paper Capiz Shell Chandelier

Iron them between 2 pieces of parchment paper, which I didn’t find at the dollar store but it’s available with baking supplies or paper goods at other stores. You need the parchment paper because otherwise the wax paper will melt.

The ironing I found was the longest part of this project. I was anxious to get the paper ready to make the shells.

Wax Paper Capiz Shell Chandelier

Once your wax paper is ironed together you can then start punching out the circles. I recommend a new or sharp circle punch. I think mine is getting a little dull because sometimes the circles didn’t punch all the way around. This is frustrating to say the least and I wasted a bunch of paper doing it. You can see the pattern of the silver spray paint on this paper and how I folded each piece accordion style in the upper right so I could punch more than one at a time.

Fold and punch, fold and punch.

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It will get messy people. If circles go astray, take a picture then pick them up later :-) Here’s our shiny dining room floor, which is not that red in person. If course this project might have you burning the midnight oil, hence the nightime pictures.

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Then sew your circles together. Again, I’ve seen people glue them to strips of ribbon, but you can try it anyway you have resources or patience for. The sewing actually didn’t take very long. I just sewed a bunch of strands, then glued them on then sewed then glued and repeat. That way I made enough for what I needed.

My strands were 10 circles long.

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Once sewn together, you’ll have this. Strands of wax paper circles. I cut mine 10 long because I determined that I would have them over the basket in half, doubling the strand per say, and 5 long was a good length for my basket frame.When sewing them together I didn’t exactly alternate painted paper to non painted paper, again that would have taken way too long. I just grabbed some and fed them into the sewing machine.Don’t worry about the small gaps of thread in between if you sew them. Try not to make too many but the imperfections will add to the flow of the shells once they are on the basket.

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I kept my circles in a bowl and then fed them into the sewing machine very quickly. I did long lengths of them at a time, then I cut the long strand into smaller ones 10 circles long. Again, don’t waste your time stopping at every 10 circles. You’ll have to cut all that extra thread and it will take forever.  This way to you don’t have to cut any thread between the circles.

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Now you assemble the chandelier! This was really the quickest part. Just grab a strand, some hot glue and  go.Put a dab of hot glue on the wire part and hang the strand right on the glue in half so you have 5 circles on one half and 5 on the back half. The strand will then hang over the basket wire.

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I overlapped the strands by about half like this. It will take more if you put them closer together, but the chandy will look fuller also. I felt that this overlap amount would make the chandelier as full as I wanted.

Wax Paper Capiz Shell Chandelier

Start at the bottom of the basket and work you way up. You don’t want to have to move the strands around to attach them underneath. Make it easy on yourself and work from the bottom up.I hung the chandelier on some shelves in the dining room and just turned it as I glued on the strands of wax circles/shells.

Wax Paper Capiz Shell Chandelier

Wax Paper Capiz Shell Chandelier

Here is what the basket looks like from the inside once you are done.

Wax Paper Capiz Shell Chandelier

Then you hang her up! Here you can just see the end of the the wire chains from the basket that I hooked onto the little screws that hold a glass bulb to the ceiling fixture. Make sure you paint the chains, because even though they are not visible from the ground, you want them to blend in. I also painted the ceiling fixture white.

Wax Paper Capiz Shell Chandelier

I love how you can see the shades of silver spray paint in the “shells”.

Wax Paper Capiz Shell Chandelier

You might even want to paint your ceiling {depending on where you put this} to make the chandelier stand out. I think the effect of the white and silver against the blue is the whole point! Very dramatic don’t you think?

Wax Paper Capiz Shell Chandelier

So what do you think? Did I leave anything out, anything else you want to know? Think you’ll make one for yourself? I love it, I just might make another :-)

Sharing with Tip Me Tuesday at Tip Junkie, Tutorials and Tips Tuesday at Home Stories A 2 Z.

See the rest of my craft projects here.

Jessica
Hi, I'm Jessica, a grad student by day and project queen by night. Decor Adventures is my way of creating a beautiful home while having a great time along the way.
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Comments

  1. Holy WOW Jessica! This is awesome. I am inspired to make one, but have to decide where to put it… my daughter’s room could be a candidate, but it would have to be ‘approved’ by her of course ;-) I’m going to save your tutorial. Thank you for sharing the steps with us! Actually… our bedroom is a candidate too! Hmmmm!!!

  2. Freaking gorgeous. I HAVE to make one. Or twenty!

  3. that is beautiful! i can’t stress enough how much i want to do this! i have all the stuff. it is the time i am lacking!

  4. oh wow, very very cool! I love it!

  5. wow! that is a labor of love. I would never make it past the “rip 30 sheets of wax paper” Great job!!!

  6. What a GREAT idea!

  7. soo pretty!!! very chic!

  8. I love this. Please link it to my linky party & anything else you have to share. Thanks, Peggy.
    http://diycraftstomake.blogspot.com/2011/10/whacha-work-up-wednesday-weekly-linky_25.html

  9. Anonymous says:

    You forgot a step. “Have hubs renovate closet” ;)

  10. I absolutely love this and it is just the answer I was looking for to what to do in my girls room. Thank you for the tutorial! Great job!!

  11. I just wanted to let you know that I featured your project on “You Sew Rock Me Fridays” on my blog Sew Rockin’.

    You can find the post at http://www.sewrockin.com/2011/10/28/you-sew-rock-me-fridays-2/

    Awesome job! I can’t wait to see what you come up with in the future!

    Jamie @ sewrockin.com

  12. Beautiful! How long did it take you to make?

  13. Anonymous says:

    Great project, I just have a couple of questions before I embark on this journey: what size of circle punch did you use, and can you show more pics and details of how you attached it to the light bulb. Thanks a bunch :)
    Sheila

  14. This is great! Looks a lot more expensive than it was…

  15. WOW! So stunning and it looks like even the bumbling members of the population, me, could pull this off! Love it!

  16. Anonymous says:

    this is so cool & I was looking to make garland from wax paper but was unsure how…thank you!!!!

  17. Anonymous says:

    Well im going to try this but add some tinfoil cirles and make it 3 times the size for a prom !!! wish me luck

  18. Anonymous says:

    I have just punched all my “shells”…. Onto sewing tonight once kids are in bed! So excited to finish it and hang it in my daughters room!

  19. Jesse Holycross says:

    Great project! I do sew but love “no-sew” projects… Couldn’t you skip the sewing part and iron the string between two circles? -Wouldn’t the wax hold on to the string when melted? Please advise…. Can’t wait to start this project. Thanks!!!

  20. Hi Jesse,

    Yes actually, I bet you could iron the string in between the circles, what a great idea! I’ve also seen people hot glue the circles to a ribbon too.

  21. What size hole punch did you use for the circles?please let me know.

  22. Hi Becky,

    I used a 1 1/2 inch punch for this project. Hope that helps :-)

  23. I love this…but, any concern for too much heat on the paper and burning? Also, would it be easier to punch out plastic from recycled food containers (clear…etc?). I have a wealth of plastic garland (circles, very retro) from the holidays…I wonder if it would work? I would love to re-do our kitchen chandelier. It is ridiculous. If I take this on, I promise before and after pictures!

  24. Here’s my tip to punch wax paper: add a sheet of copy paper or newspaper to the wax paper and punch.

    Punches are designed to work with paper and have difficulty with “soft” material [ i.e.foil, wax paper, tissue paper] but layering a thin stiff and soft material together will assist your punch and make it less frustrating for you.

Trackbacks

  1. […] A VERY special thanks to Lamps.com who included my wax paper chandelier in their round up of inspirational DIY lighting. I am so honored, thank […]

  2. […] but I figured I should put it to good use until then. To make the chandelier, I followed this great tutorial from Jessica at DecorAdventures. (note- I used glue, not a sowing machine, to attach my wax paper […]

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