Yesterday, I confessed to all of you how my secret adoration for Pottery Barn led me down a path of destruction. At first, it was simple coveting. All I really wanted was to have a mossy fireplace in my bedroom, with twinkling white lights on the mantle and a miniature sawhorse by my bed.
I thought it was perfectly normal. I mean, what warm-blooded girl doesn’t want a miniature sawhorse by her bed?
Most of my coveting was contained to catalog perusal and an occasional foray into an actual store. However, I usually left faster than I came because I felt like I had the words, “Doesn’t Own a Single Tasting Plate” emblazoned on my forehead, and people were staring.
But it all changed the day I saw this chandelier:
At $499, it was about $499 over budget, but I had to have it.
So I decided to steal Pottery Barn’s eclectic hand-blown-glass idea right out from under them. I made one of my own.
See that light? I totally stole it from Pottery Barn.
Now, I will be the first to admit that the Pottery Barn chandelier is way cooler than my knock-off. But a nearly $500 difference in cost goes a long way in making me feel better about my project. Every time I start to think it doesn’t look as good as the catalog version, I just whisper, “That’s a $500 chandelier you just made out of juice cups,” and I smile.
The first thing I did was gather a collection of glassware since Santa has yet to bring me a 2,500 degree furnace and a blowpipe. Clearly, glassblowing was out of the question. That meant I had to give up the mottled look of the glass in the chandelier I loved.
Score one for Pottery Barn.
However, I didn’t really need to blow glass because I already had an eclectic collection of glassware thanks to my children’s innate ability to break any cups that match.
Also, I had already decided to make mercury glass pendants instead of trying to replicate wavy blown glass. Mercury glass has interesting color variations and a mottled look, but it has the added benefit of being metallic, which I wanted in my chandelier because it was going to be part of my ongoing master bedroom design. Our master bedroom has deep gray walls, and we can’t paint them. The silver of the mercury glass would be a perfect accent.
Score one for ME!
I searched the cupboards for glasses with curvy sides and rims around the tops to replicate the look of the Pottery Barn pendants. Cheap glass vases worked well too, as did glass storage jars (the kind that have a rubber seal and separate glass lid) because they have a nice, thick rim.
I saved the glass lids from the storage jars and even purchased a few half-round glass votive candle holders. You’ll see why in a minute.
In order to create the mercury glass look, I purchased a can of Krylon Mirror spray paint. It’s exactly the same stuff as this:
It is expensive, especially since you only get 6 oz. per can. But, I used a 40% off coupon at Hobby Lobby to get it a bit cheaper. Happily, one can lasted the entire project. Whew!
Making mercury glass is super easy. Simply collect your glassware and take it outside. Be sure to remove the rubber seals from around any glass lids. You don’t need to wash the glass first unless it is visibly dirty. Then, spray each piece very lightly with water on the inside only. Don’t overdo it–you want just a very light mist so little droplets form. In fact, it’s a good idea to shake the jar after you’ve sprayed it so the droplets disperse and don’t run.
After you’ve done this, spray a very light coat of mirror spray paint on the inside only of each jar or glass piece. Just stick the can right in the jar and spray a light coat. The spray paint traps the water underneath, creating interesting bubbles, runs, and color variations, just like real mercury glass.
Light coats of spray paint work best. Otherwise, the silver runs. If this happens, don’t worry. Just roll the paint around in the jar to spread it out as evenly as possible. Then, add another coat later on to make the run less visible.
Let your jars dry in the sun between coats, and then repeat the steps until you like the look of your jars. Hold them up to the light and take a good look at them. Now is the time to add coats if you don’t love it! Do the insides of the lids and the votive holders as well, if you have them.
Let everything dry completely. You now have mercury glass!
Using a hot glue gun, I attached the lids to the bottoms of the cups and jars. I tried lots of other kinds of glue, including toxic “industrial strength” stuff, but it just didn’t hold. Hot glue worked the best.
I did not have enough lids for all of my glass pieces, but that was okay. I left some plain and attached the glass votive holders to others. Adding these extra glass pieces transformed the look of the cups and jars. They didn’t look as much like cups and jars any more, but began to look more and more like the pendants I was trying to steal.
Once the glassware was painted and assembled, it was time to attach electrical cord to hang them by. You can get electrical cord from a place like Home Depot or from your children’s annoying electric toys. Either way, it is not expensive.
You could also use ribbon or cording, but I wanted the chandelier to look like it could actually work, even though I had no way of electrifying the thing.
I strung the electrical wire through metal jewelry findings like this and secured the ends with excessive amounts of hot glue.These were attached to the pendants with even more glue. I did not want them coming loose. They were going to be hanging over my sleeping head, after all. Now that the pendants were ready, it was time to attach them to a board. My husband rustled up a piece of Hemlock and cut the 1×4 to about 2 1/2 feet long. I stained it a dark espresso color, added a coat of polyurethane, and drilled holes to string the electrical cord through so I could attach them.
Using these handy little clips to hold the pendants, I arranged them the way I wanted by suspending the board between two chairs and fiddling with the design until I liked it.
The excess electrical wire was trimmed and held down as flat as possible into more globs of hot glue. Those babies aren’t going anywhere.
Now, I really wanted my chandelier to light up, even though I couldn’t actually add electricity to it. So I ordered some remote control LED votive candles. Only, they didn’t come in time. I had to go to the store to get some cheap LED votive candles just for this post. See?
I stuck one in each pendant using Velcro dots to hold them in place.
When everything was done, we hung the chandelier up in the cove that holds our bed. I’m working on the pillow thing. Don’t look at that yet.
It may not be Pottery-Barn-perfect, but my chandelier also didn’t cost Pottery Barn money. The entire project cost about $30, including the back-up set of candles.
And even though it didn’t come from the store, my version of the Paxton Glass Light Pendant makes me feel like I’ve gotten a little bit closer to living the Pottery Barn Land dream.
Now I just have to figure out how to get moss to grow on my fireplace.