I recently shared with you the big reveal of a brass chandelier that I designed, wired and assembled. Today, I will walk you through the steps to make your own, should you feel so inclined.
First off, buy your supplies. The top source for buying lamp parts is Grand Brass, where I bought all my supplies shown below.
What you'll need:
- 2 X PIBR12-0X8 - 12in. X 1/8 IPS HOLLOW BRASS PIPE STEM
- 1 X PIBR18-0X8 - 18in. X 1/8 IPS HOLLOW BRASS PIPE STEM
- 2 X PIBR07-0X8 - 7in. X 1/8 IPS HOLLOW BRASS PIPE STEM
- 8 X PIBR03-0X8 - 3in. X 1/8 IPS HOLLOW BRASS PIPE STEM
- 1 X BOJ4 - (4)1/8F sides X 1/4F bottom X 1/8F top JUMBO CLUSTER BODY BR
- 1 X FI1/4PLUG - 1/4 PLUG WITH SCREW DRIVER SLOT BRASS
- 4 X BOS2X8 - (2)1/8F sides X 1/8F bottom X 1/8F top SMALL CLUSTER BODY BR
- 1 X CB208 - 1/8IPS PIPE PENDANT HANGING CROSS BAR SET FITS CAST, SPUN, OR STAMPED CANOPIES WITH 1-1/16in CENTER HOLE FROM 1/2" DEEP TO 2-1/2" DEEP. MOUNTING HARDWARE INCLUDES: HS200 X 1PC, NU235 X 2PC, CB1/4 X 1PC, NI3-0X1/4 X 1PC.
- 1 X CAS45 - FLAT DEEP SPUN UNFINISHED BRASS CANOPY W/ 1-1/16" SLIP HOLE 5in. X 1-1/2in.
- 8 X CU578 - 2-1/4in. CUP W/1/8SL HOLE BRASS RAW
- 8 X SO10045C - EDISON (E26) PORCELAIN SOCKET KEYLESS 660W 250V WITH 1/8F DIECAST CAP AND INSULATOR
- 8 X brass nutes - I bought these at the local hardware store because I only realized later on that I needed something to securely fasten the socket cups to the pipes.
- At least 10ft of 18 gauge wire (It's important not to use anything smaller than 18 gauge for lamp wiring)
- Not shown: 4 X FI1/8PLUG - 1/8 PLUG WITH SCREW DRIVER SLOT BRASS
- Wire cutter
- Xacto knife
- Cutting mat or protective surface for splitting the wires
Got all that? good.
Now on to wiring a socket and assembling a branch.
Do a quick measurement of how much wire you'll need to wire and assemble a branch; basically you need wire equal to the length of the small pipe, small body, and longer pipe that leads all the way to the jumbo cluster body (where all the wires will be joined), plus a little extra for wiring on both ends. In my case, since I had branches of different lengths, I cut wires between 15-20" long.
Once you've cut your piece of wire, separate the 2 strands of wire using an Xacto knife approx 1.5" in from the end.
Using a wire cutter, strip each wire about 3/4" in (I used the 16 guage opening). (Note: ignore the length of the wire shown in the image below, it was only used for demo purposes. The real wire you will use will be a lot longer)
The stripped wires will look like this:
Next, twist the strands on each wire clockwise, so that they look like a single strand, like so:
Form a little hook shape with each strand:
Now it's time to wire the hot and neutral wires to a socket.
Hook the hot wire around the gold screw and tighten the screw so that the wire is securely fastened underneath. Do the same for the netural wire with the silver screw. Do a little tug test on each to make sure they don't loosten from the screw.
Tip: If you bought white wire like mine, then the way to tell the hot wire from the neutral wire is as follows: ribbed wire = neutral, smooth wire = hot
Next, fish the 2 wires through the socket cap and fasten the cap to the socket by tightening the 2 screws on the inside of the socket.
Now that the socket is wired, put the socket in a brass socket cup and fish the wire through the cup hole. Then, take a 3" pipe and nut and screw the pipe into the socket, using the nut to ensure that the socket cup stays tightly in place.
You've completed 1 stem. Now repeat another 7 times, so that you end up with 8 stems in total. I originally wanted the design to have 3 stems per branch but I soon realized that I could only fit a max of 2 18g wires in a single pipe, so I had to rethink the design and switch it to 2 per branch.
Once all 8 stems are assembled, you now need to put each of the 4 branches together.
Connect the 3" pipe of one of the stems to a small cluster body. Since all pipe is threaded, all pieces easily screw in to one another, keeping in mind that some parts have threading on the inside (female) and some on the outside (male).
On the opposite side of the cluster body, attached another stem.
On a third side, connect one of the longer pipes (either the 7" or 12" ones). This long branch will eventually connect to the jumbo cluster body at the center.
Since I had to change my design midway, I had to order plugs to cap the 4th hole on each body. I don't have a picture of this but you can see a similar plug that I got for the jumbo body (keep reading lower down), and it's the same idea.
That's one branch. You're doing great! Now do three more just like it. Note: in my design, I used 2 X 12" pipes and 2 X 7" pipes for the branch lengths.
Now, we connect the 4 branches to the jumbo cluster body. As you can see here, I screwed in the plug for the bottom hole.
Open the cover of the body and screw in each of the branch pipes:
With all 4 branches connected, you should have all the wires pulled through into the body:
Now comes the trickiest part. What you have to do here is combine all of the hot wires together, and combine all of the neutral wires together. But since you have 9 wires of each (2 per branch X 4 branches, plus 1 for the wire that will go up to the electrical box in the ceiling), it's just too many to put together, so you need to connect them in batches.
So, what we (I say we, because I needed Adam's help at this point) did is connected 3 hot wires together and added a 4th standalone wire. we then took the other end of the standalone wire and connected it to another batch of hot wires. We did the same for the neutral wires until we were left with a single wire of each that we then fished through the 18" pipe (after closing the body with the cover).
Tip: To connect the wires, twist all of the strands together clockwise and then fasten with a wire nut (to be safe, you should also add electrical tape around the wire nut). It's important to twist the wires clockwise, because you will also screw on the wire nut clockwise; if you had twisted the wires counter-clockwise, then screwing on the wire nut would unwind the strands.
All that's left after this is wiring the fixture to the ceiling and adding light bulbs!
Update: although I LOVE Edison bulbs, the ones that I picked ended up making the chandelier look too massive, and their weight was even pulling the chandelier down and making it look bowed, so I recently changed the bulbs to these:
There are a lot of other blog posts out there with awesome DIY light fixtures, so if you're seriously considering making one, I recommend drawing on some inspiration before deciding on a design. Here are my top picks: