DIY Brass Chandelier Makeover on the Cheap

Mish Volonino
by Mish Volonino
When i saw the listing for this older brass chandelier for $5 i jumped on it. little did i know it needed to be rewired. this is something i have never done and honestly it sat in my dining room for many weeks because i was intimidated taking on wiring myself.
I finally asked a friend to show me what to do, watched youtube videos and spoke with several men at Lowes and Home Depot. I purchased the necessary wire and completed the whole wiring in less than 2 hours. it really wasn't so bad. everyone told me don't worry about the grounding wire so i didn't.
I really didn't know where i was going with this chandelier. I had one direction but didn't like the results. I started off with Annie Sloan Clear White paint. I then did a washed dry brushing of a darker FolkArt Chalkpaint. you can see more clearly the photo below.
I just wasn't digging the color. So i decided i wanted some contrast on the arms. that is where I painted a mix of flat black, shiny metallic bronze, and flat brown...sponging the paint on.

I chose to add dark wax with a heavy hand on the entire lamp, except the arms.
Once the coloring was to my liking i use the smallest drill bit i had and drilled holes on the candle plates on top and on each candle base. I drilled four holes in each candle base. it was pretty easy too.
You can see the drilled holes above.

I was lucky enough to come across a large bag of wooden balls at a garage sale for $3. I grabbed them. didn't know exactly what i was going to use them for but knew one day they would come in handy. well this was the project for those wooden balls.
I used Hemp String to tie a few lines of wooden balls to see if i liked the look. I did but i didn't like the color. so I measured out all the lines i needed and hung the lines from a hanger with clips and spray painted them first with Rustoleum Primer and Paint in a satin cream color. Once they were dry I heavy handed them with Annie Sloan Dark Wax.
Heres the photo below showing each line as i finished waxing them
I started to string the lights on the chandelier but felt i needed some wood spindle drops like the gorgeous lights you see in high end home decor photos. So i ran to Hobby Lobby and purchased two small bags of spindles. I didn't like the spindles alone so i drilled a small pilot hole on top of spindle. I squirted Gorilla Glue in, threaded some Hemp string into the hole then strung one single round wood bead on top. I added some pressure for approximately a minute to set.
Once all the spindle drops were dry i painted them the same way I painted the wood bead strings. While those were drying i went to work on the candle sleeves. i love the look of Jute twine wrapped candle sleeves. I use Elmer's blue glue to wrap the twine. it holds great, dries clear, and dries quickly.

as you can see in photo below, I use clothespins to secure last twine wrap on top. once its all dry i clip very close with super sharp scissors.
So pretty much everything was ready to be assembled. I have to say i love the way this came out. I might add a few more spindle drops.

In total, this project cost about $15 (if you have some of the products on hand, like paint, glue, jute twine). Even if you had to purchase wood beads and jute twine, the whole project would be under $30. that is a bargain for a very trendy and one of a kind chandelier.

its easy to find these brass chandeliers.

hope you like the end result.

This little chancy will be hung above my bath tub. can't wait to hang it.
Yes, you can do it too!
Frequently asked questions
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  2 questions
  • Cristina Cristina on Mar 02, 2016
    You don't have a picture or/and brands and where to purchase all of the paints do you? Also what kind of paint brushes did you use?
  • Michelle Jones Michelle Jones on Jan 29, 2019

    I bought a lovely little French style chandelier at our annual Mighty Metchosin Garage Sale in May of last year. (I volunteer for the entire week before the sale sorting and doing set up as well as both days of the sale so I see great things beforehand). It not only needs to be painted but it also needs rewiring. Now, I have rewired all the simple lamps purchased at auctions and second hand stores that currently live in our house but a chandelier....? Stumped. I was just about to take it in for professional rewiring when I saw your post. There are You-Tube videos? Bless you....right after I finish the wicker work on our little table benches (auction find), I'll be tackling the light. I am inspired to try this on my own. What can go wrong? Right?

    Fabulous job....I want a new career in rescuing 1960/70s lamps!

Join the conversation
3 of 49 comments
  • Dks9542782 Dks9542782 on Sep 11, 2016
    Jaw dropping gorgeous!
  • Mcgypsy9 Mcgypsy9 on Sep 11, 2019

    Love it very much! I have several chandeliers that I’ve picked up over the years. The one I really loved also needed rewiring and so to this day it’s sitting there waiting for me. You’ve given me hope. I was told I would have to take it for rewiring and it bummed me out so I set it aside. I will be re thinking this project for sure! Love your work!