Wednesday, February 29, 2012

d.i.why not? mod bubble pendant light


today's the big day!  so happy to finally reveal  the results of my first diy of 2012.  i like to call it my mod bubble light! took me long enough, right???  i don't want to jinx myself by exclaiming that my run of recent diy disasters have finally come to an end!  this is the 3rd pendant light i have ever created and made (the first was brass and the second wood) and i think it really is true that the 3rd time is the charm!  i love it an i hope you do too!  it seems fitting to start the year (yes, i do realize that it is almost 3 months into the year...) off with a bang with a diy light.  especially since i am in the midst of my lighting design class!

so, a little background on where i got the idea for this light... as you all know i have been an intern for a while now.  one resource THE designer uses for cool vintage lighting, furniture and accessories is this fab website called 1st dibs.   now, it's WAY out of my price range (it is not targeted toward mere mortals like me, especially 40 year old interns!!  it is more for the pop stars and corporate ceo's wallets.) however it provides really great inspiration when shopping for pieces from local markets and thrift stores.  i can spend hours and hours trolling this site and dreaming about possibly finding something just as fabulous at one of my local haunts for a fraction of the 1st dibs price.  the ny times printed a funny article a few months back that focused on 1st dibs envy.   the writer did such a great job describing all of the feelings that i get every time i visit that site! i encourage you to visit 1st dibs and then read this ny times article! i guarantee you will relate as i could! anyhoo.... so, as i was saying... i was trolling the site and i happened on this beauty.
an austrian glass and brass chandelier from the 1960's that could be mine for a mere $1800 (actually cheap by 1st dibs standards).  when i spotted it a few months ago i immediately pinned it to my pinterest lighting board!  and since the store that sells it is located in la i had to see it in person... and i have visited my light more than once and, yes, it is just as amazing as in the photos online which made me even more determined to figure out a way to create a diy light that resembled this! 

i knew i needed to design something that had all of the elements that i love about this.  the structured mod design, the translucent golden look and the clear bubbles!  and i wanted to be sure that a lot of light would shine through those bubbles and reflect off the golden finish!  and i wanted it to look as amazing turned off as it does when lit! oh, and i live in a very old apartment building with crumbling plaster walls that are almost 100 years old so everything i hang from the ceiling needs to be lightweight (which the original glass chandelier is not)!  i think i achieved all of that..

so, here are the tools i used:
  • 5 dozen acrylic bubble ornaments (you can find them online in the off season or at michaels stores at christmas time.  i was lucky enough to find mine at a place in downtown la called the craft depot)
  • 4 sheets of stiff 12" x 18" plastic canvas (the same stuff you use for needlepoint crafts! at michaels they are .49 a sheet!)
  • thin brass wire
  • gold metallic spray paint (i used my trusty rustoleom metallic gold)
  •  60 zip ties (one bag from my local 99 cent only store)
  • 2 - 12" diameter embroidery hoops
  • balsa wood and dowels
  • lighting kit (mine was from ikea)
  • e-6000 transparent glue
and here's how to make it:
  1.  spray paint your plastic canvas on both sides
  2. assemble the acrylic bubble ornaments - they come in halves and i used a tiny bit of e-6000 glue to attach the sides to each other
  3. spray paint the top of the zip ties
  4. use your brass wire to weave the edges of the sheets of plastic canvas to each other so that you have one long flat sheet
  5. thread each bubble ornament onto a zip tie in order to attach to the plastic canvas, tighten, and trim the excess tie off (the great thing about the grid of the plastic is that you can be sure everything is symmetrical and evenly spaced!)
  6. wrap your plastic canvas around the embroidery hoop (i only used the insides) and attach the ends together using brass wire.
  7. wrap the circumference of the top and bottom of the cylinder with brass wire (securing the embroidery hoop inside of the plastic canvas in order to help in maintain its shape)
  8. add a dab of e-6000 glue to attach the globe ornaments to each other in their vertical rows (otherwise they will flop around)
  9. cut the balsa wood and dowels to fit snugly under the top embroidery hoop and make a hole to feed the light fixture through (i followed the same directions as on my wooden pendant but reinforced it with dowels glued to the bottom of the balsa wood)
  10. hang your light and jump for joy at how super fabulous it looks!!

this week i was nominated for a homies award from apartment therapy in both the diy and home design blog categories.  ballots must be cast by this friday! if you like what you see on my blog i would love for you to visit  apartment therapy and vote for me in both (you're allowed!) or whichever category you choose!  i am quite a ways away from the top vote contenders but just getting the votes i have gotten is pretty cool! hard to believe that this time last year i was a newbie blogger!

for those of you just tuning in and wanting to know more about me you can by going here... and if you didn't already know... i created a facebook page... check it out and "like" it! and follow me on twitter and you can even follow my boards on pinterest too!

until next time...

the (formerly almost) 40 year old intern


  1. OMG! It's like Lady Gaga in a pendant light! :)
    super cute! Who would've thought there was another use for plastic canvas other than those mailbox ornaments from the 80's?!

  2. i think i am going to try a wider one for my dining room. this is awesome!

    1. you should totally make one! send a photo of the finished piece! would love to see it! xo

  3. That is SO COOL! I just pinned some images last night on DIY drum shades and I'm adding yours to the list. Love it!

  4. tanya and jennifer - thanks for the great compliments! xoxo

  5. such a great idea. I really like your blog. I like gals who FIND a way to get what they want and save money in the process. Way to go. Looking forward to seeing more great ideas.