DIYdiy projects

diy project: brenna’s paper capiz shell chandelier

by Brenna

i love wax paper for packing lunches; i wrap sandwiches in a piece of wax paper and tie it like a present with a little cotton string. it’s so much better looking than a
plastic bag. wax paper comes in handy for more things than i realized, like rolling it up to use for a funnel, or how about rubbing a piece of wax paper on the top of your
shower curtain rod to cut down on that terrible screeching in the morning…problem solved. but who knew that if you iron layers of wax paper together it looks remarkably similar to a capiz shell? this discovery brought me to today’s project: the faux capiz chandelier. hung over your dining table, or outside at an outdoor dinner party, it is an easy solution to a dramatic light fixture and will look phenomenal in either setting. i hope you enjoy making your own as much i did! –brenna

CLICK HERE for the full how-to after the jump!


– hanging planter basket
– white spray paint
– ribbon
– scissors
– 1-2 rolls wax paper
– 2 big pieces of parchment paper
–  iron
– hot glue gun & glue sticks
– circle cutter (i didn’t have any luck with a “punch”)
– cutting mat


1.  spray paint your planter basket. let dry.

2.  start making the capiz shells. lay out the two pieces of parchment paper on your ironing board or on a clean dish towel on the floor or table. (if you use your floor or
table, just make sure it wont be damaged by the heat of the iron)

3.  cut three pieces of wax paper about the same length. mine were about 18”. sandwich the three pieces of wax paper between the parchment paper. the parchment paper allows the wax to stay within the layers of paper, helps it stick together, and gives the wax paper a smooth finished surface.

4.  iron the paper sandwich on a low setting. remove the layered wax paper from between the parchment, and repeat.

5.  set the circle cutter to cut 2 ½ inch circles. with the circle cutter, cut circles from the layered wax paper on your cutting mat. it helps to tape the wax paper down to
the mat.

6.  cut ribbon pieces and attach the ribbon to the planter basket. the length of the ribbon will depend on the method of attachment to the basket… (single or double strand). my lengths were between 7 (single) and 16 inches (doubled). you can attach them to the basket either by hot gluing the end of a single strand to the basket wire, or by folding the ribbon in half, and creating a knot over the wire. start at the bottom, and work your way up.

7.  once you finish one tier of ribbon, attach the capiz shells to the ribbon with a tiny dot of hot glue near the top of each shell. i alternated two and three shells on each ribbon and only attached shells to every other ribbon. overlap the shells by about ¼”. finish an entire lower tier, then move on to the next higher tier.

8.  once you cover the hanging basket you are done! you can attach a simple bulb of you want this to be a source of light. hang in your desired location, stand back and

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  • I absolutely love your idea and can’t wait to try it! I did something similar with a tomato cage, tissue paper, wood stain, shoe polish and dimensional paints. I know it sounds weird, but I was trying to make my own” faux goat skin” Moroccan lamp. It worked out great. I’d send you a picture but I don’t see a place to post. Thanks!

  • Please PLEASE let me know where I can find/order this hanging planter! I can’t fidn one anywhere!


  • Such a great look and so many nice comments. What a nice group of girls you all seem so happy to share. One question. Any thought on what you could use to make a rectangle one. Thank you!

    • If you have access to a Cricut Die Cutting Machine, you can set to the size and cut circle, square, or whatever shape you wish.

  • Where did you find the right hanging basket? I can’t find any with horizontal wire. Please write back!

  • hi all!
    just a thought, i see a lot of questions about where to find the hanging basket, or what to use as a substitution/ different shape…
    try a thrift store lamp shade… take off the cover, turn it upside down, and you are left with a frame, maybe add a horizontal row of wire if need be… i think it would work if you cant find a hanging basket.
    good luck!!

  • Love this idea! I want to have some of these at my wedding in May of next year. The only problem I’ve ran into is that my three layers of wax paper aren’t sticking together. I’ve tried using a higher heat setting on the iron but that didn’t work either. Does anyone have any tips for me? I’d appreciate it!

  • Brenna, you have inspired me. I really wanted this light from West Elm but don’t love the price. http://www.westelm.com/products/large-rectangle-hanging-capiz-pendant-w425/?pkey=e%7Ccapiz%7C3%7Cbest%7C0%7C1%7C24%7C%7C1&cm_src=PRODUCTSEARCH||NoFacet-_-NoFacet-_-Common%20Rule%20Top%20Wide%20Kitchen-_- . I have purchased a couple tall rectangle baskets that I am going to strip down to the wire and add more, then paint and add a sewn string of faux capiz shells. I still have to figure out how to attach a hanging light to it (we do not have a fixture where I want to put the light). Wish me luck!

  • I wonder how pretty a stain glass look would be by doing the old melting crayons trick??? I think this is such a pretty project! I could even hang it on my shade arbor outside!!!

  • Excited to do this for my kitchen chandelier light fixture! thank you for such an amazing (and economical!) idea!! :)

  • @Brittany- This happened to me too when I bought a brand from costco by Kabnet- So I took it back and bought the more tradional brand at Walmart and yes it works!!

  • I’ve searched high and low for the hanging basket with no luck. Home Depot, craft stores, local nurseries, everywhere! I don’t know if I trust myself to make it out of wire either. The search continues…Also, I recommend a high quality circle cutter. I bought one from Michael’s that was off-brand and it was awful and just cut only part of each wax circle.

    • I happened on the hanging baskets at dollar tree, California. It needs a wire added but otherwise perfect for this project

      • One thing I’ve discovered about Dollar Tree. They have an amazing array of products but the selection is not the same at each store. I shop at one that has great book lights. When I needed one in Austin, TX, I search the town over and ended up paying a whole lot more at a different kind of store.

        • DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT buy cheap wax paper from Dollar store. It is crap! What a waste of time! Doesn’t stick together at all. Ironed it on high even and still doesn’t work. Just terrible!

  • I did see a few hanging baskets @ Walmart the other day when I was looking for a form for mine, however i opted to go with a mesh type chandelier that I got from Goodwill. I just cut the mesh type material out of it and used the form. It’s working well but I’m still not done, it’s taking forever its seems bc I didn’t get a circle cutter and i’m doing all the cutting by hand. ay ay ay…but i know it’s gonna be well worth it and it beats paying the higher price.

  • …estou de folga hoje e amei seu blog , maravilhoso; beatifuld . Gostei principalmente do lustre ou luminaria ou candelaria. Muito agradecida que Deus abençoe voces todos…. I don”t speak inglish

  • I have been making my own designer wrapping paper using waxed paper for many years. It is very interesting because you use flowers from your garden and create a lovely personal touch. Roll out about half a metre of paper (shiny side up ,not always easy to tell tho) arrange suitable flowers, leaves,bits of thread or anything that will lie flat; then place another sheet of waxed paper over this (shiny side down) and carefully iron with a moderately hot iron all over. Iron again to make sure the wax coating has melted between the sheets.
    Ferns, pansies, impatiens, small rose petals, violas or any small flower is suitable. Maybe the rose petals would look nice in this lamp design too. It is worth a try and an easy way to make lovely wrapping paper in a hurry!

  • How do u think using pearlized spray paint on some of the wax paper before you iron them together would look? Or using some pearlized or irridecent vellum card stock? This is so pretty by the way, going to have to make one myself :)

  • I bought a capiz shell hot air-ballon & part of this ballon has capiz shells with black spots on it, looks ugly to me. Is it possible to paint this shells? Some are not messed up, but most are. What can I do? Please help! thanks!

  • I wonder if this can be place over an existing small ugly chandelier. I live in a rental.

    I saw this same chandelier idea on another DIY and they used color sample cards from Home Depot. They used about 4-5 different colors in the same palette and layered the darker color at the top and the lightest at the bottom.
    Thanks again!

  • So clever…so shabby chic…I must tell my friend who has her entire vintage 1800’s victorian home done in shabby chic

  • My biggest issue is that I attached the ribbon doubled over just like you did in the pictures, when you say attach the shells to each ribbon, do I glue the two strands of ribbon together or glue another set of shells on the second doubled over ribbon as well? You had said you had done every other ribbon, does that mean you kept the doubled over (2) strands in between each row of shells free or just one strand on every doubled over line of ribbon free? Sorry if it sounds confusing but I want mine to come out like the one in the picture and I’m not sure how to proceed! Thanks : )

  • I thought this would be great for my grandson’s winter wedding, with twinkle lights and ice blue ribbon.

  • Brilliant, I live in the Caribbean where raw materials are either too expensive or altogether unavailable. So happy that I saw this as I have to decorate a small hall for a Christmas Ball for Elementary school kids with no budget at all. Thank you Thank you. More more please!!!!

  • Oh I don’t have a circle cutter and there are none on the island any suggestions on cutting the circles??? Please help soon I really want to try this……..

  • I tried to use a circle cutter and it was terrible. Noting seemed to work, then I dug my Cricut out and set it to a 1.5 inch circle….ITS PERFECT. Why didn’t I think of this before. Huge time saver. You can some something mindless like watch TV and let the Cricut do all the work! I making a bunch of these for my winter wedding decorations!

  • I decided to do star shapes instead of circles for my baby’s room, and I cut the shapes out before I ironed the wax paper together. Now that they are cut out they won’t stick together when I iron them. Any advice?

  • Can you use the waxed paper discs that you can buy for making jelly and jam? I don’t know if a few ironed together would give the same thickness but it would save cutting out.

  • I think I’m going to try this, but instead of ribbon use fishing line and pierce right through it to take out the hot glue step. Thanks for the wonderful ideas!!!

  • This part of the directions confused me “i alternated two and three shells on each ribbon and only attached shells to every other ribbon.” Can you reexplain for me?

  • My sister asked me for a 2 inch punch, which I do not own so I made them on my cricket with the “Plantin SchoolBook” Cartridge. I couldn’t get the wax paper to stick so I taped it to the cutting mat on all sides and it works perfectly! So much faster than the circle cutter. Thanks for the great idea!

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