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Monday, February 13, 2012

Take Three and That's a Wrap: The Tole Chandelier Project

Last fall I posted here about a fabulous tole chandelier I scored for $5.99 at a Goodwill in Philadelphia. I considered it the find of a lifetime...until I foolishly tried to strip off the [bad] former paint job. I blogged about the trials and tribulations here, but let's just say, that after all that paint stripping and toothbrush scrubbing, and not getting the results I was hoping for, I decided it was time for Mr. Chandy and I to take a break. So he was relegated to my storage room- stripped down, unwired, unloved- for the better part of fall/winter.

Until a few weeks ago, when I decided that the chandelier I'd been living with for the last year just REALLY had to go.

I had always planned to paint the chandelier gray. I like how it ties into the marble top of my Saarinen table. I guess absence makes the heart grow fonder, because after slapping some primer on my long lost friend, I decided he wasn't looking so bad.

So I proceeded to give him a few coats of glossy gray Rustoleum. Later that week, I set out my tools and went to work rewiring the chandelier. It had come with its original wiring, but after seeing how old and rusted out the chandelier was inside, I knew that I wouldn't ever want to risk using it that way. And actually, re-wiring a chandelier really isn't that hard (and is very inexpensive). It's sort of like rewiring a lamp...just doing it six times.

In a nutshell: you cut six smaller lengths of electrical cord (one for each arm-) and one long length of cord that will connect the little cords and run up through the chandelier and connect to the ceiling. Run each little cord through each arm. So on one end, the cord will connect to the chandelier socket (left). On the other end the cord will stick out of the bottom of the chandelier, where you'll attach it to the main cord (right). Of course, a lamp cord actually has two cords fused together- a "hot" side and a "neutral" side that you then attach to the corresponding sides of the socket, and the corresponding power supplies. Hot wire/neutral wire issues are uber-important when wiring a lamp, so I'd definitely google a tutorial if you're interested in doing this (however, it's definitely really easy).

As you can see, at the bottom of the chandelier, I gathered up all the "hot" wires, twisted the stripped ends together, and topped them with a plastic connector (red = hot). Then I did the same with the neutral wires.

So the bottom of the chandelier looked like this (before putting the decorative cap on to cover all that mess). Now it was finally time to hang the chandelier and see if all my hard work paid off!

Speaking of uber-important, seriously, do not pass go, do not collect $100, until you do this- turn off the power supply to the fixture before taking down your old chandelier and/or installing a new one!

Since I was just replacing an existing chandelier, the brace and electrical box were already in place, which made things a lot easier. I connected one end of the chain to the chandelier, and then hung the other end of the chain on the support that was already in place. Next, I threaded the cord through the chain towards the ceiling. I then ran each side of the cord (ie, the hot side and the neutral side) through the little holes in the chain support.

Then I connected the appropriate chandelier wire to the pre-existing wiring. 

After that's done, you just slide the canopy up and secure it so that it covers all that mess on the ceiling. I was kind of nervous at this point about whether all this would really work, so after turning the power supply back on, I only put one light in the chandelier to test it! But lo and behold, we had LIGHT. I couldn't believe it! Here it is by daylight.

And here's proof that it actually works!

Not only has the new chandelier majorly improved things aesthetically, but the lighting is much better than before- I think my old chandelier was LCD or fluorescent or something and it always gave off an unnatural glow. Now I actually want to sit at the kitchen table.

So there we have it, the $5.99 Goodwill took a little bit of time, a little bit of love/hate, and a few trips to Ace, but this is one DIY that was definitely worth it!


Melissa said...

You mean business, don't you?! I'm so nervous about wiring, but this gives me (some!) confidence. Your dining room looks so beautiful!

traci zeller designs said...

Yay! Now that is a serious before and after! It looks fantastic. Of course, I cannot even imagine rewiring a chandelier and installing it myself - there's a reason I have my electricians on speed dial - but I am beyond impressed that you can do it!

Bethany said...

oh wow - its BEAUTIFUL!!


kayce hughes said...

Beyond worth it!

Anonymous said...

Now that is some serious electrical work. Your directions are so clear, it actually sounds feasible even for me. Great color choice, too!!

Vickie H. said...

Good job! You were right: that old chandelier was AWFUL!!

Jodi said...

Congratulations this looks amazing. And thanks for the tips on rewiring. I have been wanting to give it a go.

Haus and Home said...

Great find. Nice work redoing the color and electrical!!!

Crystal Chandelier Professional said...

Great job you did. Make it like new again. Very creative and unique. Congratulations! Keep up your unique works.

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