I loved this Jean Pelle Bubble Chandelier the moment I saw it. Not only does the artist provide step-by-step directions on how to make it in ReadyMade magazine, she sells a high-end version on etsy for $375.
The great thing about the bubble chandelier is, in addition to being cool-looking, it’s easy to customize for your own particular lighting needs. In my case, I needed a small, spherical version with only one light bulb (versus 3 in the artist’s original) to light my closet-turned-bedroom. I also needed it to be hardwired to replace the existing, fugly closet light fixture, not a plug-in lamp like the artist’s original. With a few minor hacks, I managed to create this totally respectable version on the cheap. Directions follow le jump.
- 1 porcelain light socket, with attached wires
- 10 CB2 4″ bubble balls ($2/each)
- 4 white plastic coffee stirrers
- 30′ of 1/8″ thick cotton twine or parcel string
- 1 clear globe light bulb, about the same size as the bubble balls
- Electric tape (white, or light-colored works best)
- Wire caps
- Wire-stripper (optional, but helpful)
Project cost: $30
Time: 2 hours
- Cut plastic coffee stirrers into thirds. You’ll need 10 2″ segments.
- Cut string into 10 3′-long pieces.
- Tie one string in a tight double knot around the middle of each stirrer segment. You should now have 18″ of string dangling from each side of the knot.
- Insert one string-tied stirrer into each bubble ball (look for the little hole on top), so that the strings are coming out of the bubble ball.
- Group 5 of the bubble balls around the base of the porcelain light socket. Secure the string to the base of the wires with electric tape. It may help to arrange the balls into groups of 2 and 3 first (secure with electric tape), and then attach the clusters one at a time.
- Group the remaining 5 bubble balls in a second tier underneath the light socket grouping, making the fixture look spherical. Secure the strings at the top of the fixture with electric tape.
- Pick 2 or 3 strings at the base of the fixture and wind them around the wires and other excess strings all the way up, from the bottom to top of the wires, stopping when you get to the desired length. (I stopped at about 4″ because I needed a short fixture to accommodate my low ceiling.)
- Secure the strings at the top with knots, and trim all BUT 2 of the excess strings (you’ll use the strings to support the weight of the fixture when you hardwire). Your fixture should be neat and trim now, with only the 2 socket wires and 2 strings coming out of the top. You should have at least 2″ of wire exposed — if you don’t, use a wire stripper or (carefully) use scissors to strip away the wire covering.
- Hardwire by tying the strings around the crossbar of your electric box, letting the fixture dangle to the desired height. These strings will support the weight of the fixture, so make sure you tie good knots!
- Next, attach one socket wire to each of the two wires coming out of the light box in your ceiling. Secure with wire caps.
- Cover the exposed light box with thick paper or plastic. I used a random plastic sheet and mounted it on the ceiling with 3M Command strips. Alternately, you can get an actual hardwire kit to make it look more professional.