November 23, 2023

Poor Girl's Cardboard Chandelier Tutorial

This was my entry for the "Green" theme of the So You Think You're Crafty challenge. Not the So You Think You're Crazy one.
I love the juxtaposition between what we think of as garbage and what we think of as fine art. Since I try to go green whenever I can, I thought it would be interesting and beautiful to create a chandelier using cardboard--something which would normally be cast away after use.
Wouldn't this be cute in a kids' playroom or clubhouse? And yes, you can actually burn candles in it (adults only, of course). Though I'd recommend those LED tea lights.
There's no cardboard above the flames, and the candles sit on baby food jar lids, so it's not that risky.
~Scrap Cardboard
~Cardboard mailing tube (at least 3" diameter)
~Hot glue gun/ glue sticks
~16 gauge wire
~Pliers/wire cutters
~blunt/tapestry needle
~Scissors and/or utility knife
~jar or cup to use as a template for the candle holders
~metal lids from juice cans or baby food jars.

1. First, measure your cardboard tube to be 12" long, then draw a line around it and cut it with a handsaw. You may need to sand the edge if it's too rough.
2. At one inch down from the end, make 6 evenly spaced holes in the tube. I drew them with a pencil, then used a hammer and nail to poke the holes, but you could also use an awl.
At the other end of the tube, poke 3 evenly-spaced apart holes about 1 1/2 inches in from the end. These will be used for hanging the chandelier.

3. on to the wire. Cut 6 pieces of wire, each 45" long.
4. Bend the wire into an curved shape like you see on the arms of a chandelier. Once you make the first one, use that as a guide for the others. You'll then push one end of the wire into one of the 6 holes at the bottom of the tube, then thread it up through the inside of the tube, folding it over by an inch or so over the top.5. When you have all 6 arms threaded and secured inside, it's time to move on to the candle holders. Take a jar (I used a baby food jar) or cup and wrap the wire around it in a spiral shape.
Then pull the spiral a bit on the bottom, forming a cup-like holder for the metal juice lids or baby food jar lids to sit on.
6. Now it's time to cover the wire. Cut 12 strips of cardboard, roughly 30" long by 1 1/2" wide. They should be long enough to cover the wire arms of the chandelier.

7. With the cardboard strips, you'll sandwich the wire between them, using hot glue to hold it together. I seem to have lost my photos for these steps, or else forgotten to take some due to my tendency to become consumed by craft projects. You can see it below somewhat.
8. Once you cover the main arms, cut 12 more strips, 1 1/2" wide by 12" long. These will make embellishments in between the arms (as shown above) and under them. Taking one strip, tightly curl it around a pencil, forming a curl. Then hot glue one end to the tube in between each arm.
See the curl underneath the arm above? You'll glue another curled piece of cardboard there on each arm too, making it super-fancy.

9. Next, make a scalloped detail for each candleholder. Cut a piece of cardboard long enough to go around the holder, and wide enough to hide the wire spiral. Cut scallops on one end,
and hot glue it to the wire around the candle holder area.
10. Now on to the "crystals". You'll need to draw either a freehand circle of about 1" diameter or find something to trace onto a piece of stiff paper. Then cut it out and use it as a template to trace and cut out roughly 140 (!) cardboard circles for the drapes of crystals.
It sounds like a lot, but it really didn't take me that long to do (maybe 30 minutes).

11. When these are cut out, string them together using the jute and the tapestry needle. Cut about a 24" length of jute, leaving a 6" tail for tying on both ends. The needle easily slides through the airy part of the cardboard, between the two sides.
You'll be making 12 lengths of beads, using 12 beads per strand.

12. Tie the strands onto the chandelier. I tied them all at the top to the wires bent over the tube, then let half of the strands drape down, tying them to the bottom of the wire on the candle holder. The other 6 I tied to the top of the candle holder, onto the wire.
13. To make it even more chandelier-like, I added more crystal-like embellishments under each candle holder. I folded a piece of 2"x4" paper in half, and drew half of a droplet shape along the fold. Then I cut it out and traced 6 of them on cardboard.
Then I strung it and one single round bead onto jute and tied it to the bottom of the wire from the candle holder.
Oops, this one is missing the round bead. I did add it later. I'm so bad at taking photos for tutorials!

14. To finish, I added 6 more 1.5" by 12" curls along the top of the tube, two 1.5" wide bands around the middle to hide the ends of the cardboard strips, and a few extra beads I had. All of these I hot glued to the tube.
15. I slipped the metal lids onto each wire holder, adjusting them to pinch the lids in place. I then added 3 pieces of jute for hanging, knotted them together, and hung it up. Be sure to remove any hot glue threads, unless the cobweb look is what you're going for.
Truly a chandelier worthy of a Paper Bag Princess. Now if I could only convince my mother to let me hang it above her table at Thanksgiving.


  1. You really are creative!
    It looks wonderful.

  2. I love this! It's so cute!
    I'm tempted to do it and spray paint it red or black and hang it in my living room!

  3. that is something I NEVER would have thought up! How neat of an idea.

  4. Ok - totally didn't guess that was your craft!! I can not believe you were able to create that! I bow to you fully now.

  5. i think i know you just TOO well

    i voted for both this and the crown!

    toooooo weird!

    LOVE this- to me it was THE epitome of the green contest!

  6. This is amazing. I could see this in a kit that people can pop out and assemble. Nice work! Would be cool for outdoor parties in the summer.

  7. Holy Amazing, Batman! This is totally awesome and I totally want to make one! You have inspired me! Thanks!

  8. It's fun to see which crafters made what each week! I loved this one!!

    Can't wait to see which turkey craft is yours! Good Luck!

  9. WOW! That's very cool. Where did you find the time to make it, though? Kudos! :)

  10. Oh man I love chandeliers, and I love cardboard, this is so fantastic!

    I'm so going to try this, but with little beads instead of carboard crystals, and I might spraypaint it black.

    Although I do live the cardboard look!

  11. I would just like to take some time out Thank everyone for doing what you do and making the community what it is im a long time reader and first time poster so i just wanted to say thanks.


I'm a good listener...comment away!

Related Posts with Thumbnails