Creating your own plant chandelier may seem intimidating, but it's actually rather easy once you break it down into manageable steps. The best part? You can make a chandelier to fit your style and space, and it's entirely customizable for all plant parents.
Not only does a plant chandelier add a dramatic element to your space, but chances are no one will have a chandelier like the one you have. Plus, you have total bragging rights about making it yourself.
Whether you want to create a living fixture that looks like it's magically suspended from your ceiling or create something a little funkier, we've got you covered. We spoke with carpenter, DIY expert, and creator Rachel Metz of Living to DIY with Rachel Metz on YouTube to share how to create one of these breathtaking plant displays.
Meet the Expert
What is a Plant Chandelier?
Just as you could imagine, a plant chandelier is a fixture that hangs from the ceiling of your home or from the top of an outdoor structure, like a pergola or gazebo. Some are entirely made of plants and have a supportive structure underneath that the plants hold on to, while others are made with parts from an actual chandelier.
Depending on how you structure your chandelier—using a base or an actual old light fixture—you'll want to select plants that can grow in the space you give them. For example, climbing and trailing plants would work better if you're using something like a wire base to build and hold your plants, but any plant could work if it'll be in a pot incorporated into the structure.
Before you get started on assembling your chandelier, consider a few things first. Where are you planning on hanging your fixture? And how? If you are hanging it in a room or spot that doesn't get a ton of light, that will determine the kinds of plants you can use on your chandelier.
Supplies You'll Need:
- A chandelier or similar light fixture
- Construction adhesive or strong glue
- Spray paint
- Terracotta plant pots and saucers
- A ceiling hook with a strong anchor
How to Create Your Chandelier
Rachel Metz of Living to DIY with Rachel Metz on YouTube shares with us how she created a gorgeous chandelier out of thrifted materials for her friend's backyard makeover. She also shared some advice about the process, hopefully making it easier for you all to create your very own plant chandelier.
"This may sound strange, but I’ve always wanted to make a plant chandelier," Metz says. "When I got the opportunity to add a pitched pergola to my friend’s house, the space was essentially begging for it."
Step 1: Score a Bargain Chandelier
To start, Rachel thrifted a standard chandelier from her local Habitat for Humanity. Thrift stores are a great place to find fixtures and supplies from projects other people were working on that you can use. Plus, they're almost always cheaper than going to the hardware store to buy everything you'd need—and you get to give a light fixture a second life.
Step 2: Remove Electrical Wiring and Excess Glass
The chandelier Rachel used had a chain to hang it from the ceiling, and since she wasn't going to hook it up to any electricity, she removed all the wires and electrical from the fixture. She also removed the sockets where the light bulbs would screw-in, as she no longer needed those either.
Then, she removed the glass shades from the fixture. "You can actually donate those back to Goodwill or Habitat for Humanity," she says. It's a great way to reduce your own waste and give someone else a chance to use the parts of the chandelier that you couldn't.
Step 3: Clean the Chandelier Well
If you're going to paint the base of your chandelier, the most important step in this DIY process is to clean it. Dust and grime will affect the way your paint goes on, and to ensure a smooth and clean paint job, you want to make sure you get all the yucky stuff off. Use a damp cloth or towel (and some multipurpose cleaning spray if you'd like), to clean off the chandelier, making sure to get into all the nooks and crannies.
Step 4: Get Painting
Rachel then moved on to painting her chandelier. Spray paint is the best option, as it adheres to so many different types of materials and textures and gets into all the little crannies of a light fixture, but you could use a brush to paint if you wanted to. It will take longer, however, and you may notice brushstrokes on your piece.
To keep the spray paint from dripping, spray the paint in short, even strokes across the surface of your chandelier from a few inches away. Being too close can cause the paint to pool and drip, which you don't want. Let the chandelier dry entirely before picking it up to inspect it, making sure you didn't miss any spots. If you did, it's no problem at all! Just touch it up with a spritz of paint.
Step 5: Add Plants Saucers to Chandelier
Now the fun part: Begin using construction adhesive or super glue to the areas where the light bulbs used to be in your fixture. Place plant saucers on these little spaces (you may have to prop up your chandelier somewhere so it's upright), and apply some pressure. You could use clamps to hold the saucers in place while the adhesive drys if you want. Continue adding saucers until you run out of space.
Step 6: Situate Your Plants in Their Pots
Now you get to plant! Place your place in terracotta pots that fit in the size saucer you used. This is no different than how you would regularly pot a plant. Before adding your pots to the chandelier, you're going to want to hang the fixture up and make sure it's secure. If you're hanging it from the ceiling, make sure to use an anchor that holds a large amount of weight—you don't want this falling from your ceiling.
Then, use a sturdy hook to hang your chandelier from the chain it's attached to. Give it a good look, make sure it's sturdy and where you want it to be, and then admire your work.
Wondering how to water your plants? Grab a ladder and a watering can. It's that easy! Or, if you're feeling extra crafty, create a pulley system to lower and raise your chandelier.
Step 7: Secure the Pots to the Saucers
The final step is adding your pots to the saucers. Be careful during this and maybe ask for an extra hand, because the pots will be off-balance until they're all on there. If you'd like, add some adhesive to the bottom of your planters for extra stability.
Finally, take a step back and marvel at your handiwork. "This is my favorite part of all the DIYs I do," Metz says. "I call it 'oodling at yourself.' It’s when you sit back after whatever amount of progress or the final DIY and take a second to be proud, inspired, and in awe of your hard work." We couldn't agree more.