Believe it or not, I have a drawer full of old drinking straws — superfluous craft supplies are an occupational hazard. So I was thrilled to see this straw chandelier project come across my desk, because now I can use them for something beautiful! As those of you who saw Aunt Peaches’ coffee filter flowers know, she is a genius when it comes to creating elegant designs out of mundane materials; so good, in fact, that often you can’t tell what the material is at first glance. This straw chandelier is no exception. It reminds me of the garland light by Tord Boontje — I love the energy of the little straw bursts and the beautiful irregularity of the shape. It’s a perfect project for a rainy day and is a snap to build. Thanks for sharing, Peaches! — Kate
CLICK HERE for the full how-to after the jump!
- one bolt of 24-gauge wire
- 120 drinking straws
- 1 yard of 10-gauge wire (you can also use an old wire lamp shade or heavy gauge wire coat hanger)
Cost: $2.50 + light source (depending how you configure your base, this can attach directly to an existing fixture, including an ugly, old ceiling light)
Time: 3–5 hours, depending on size and scissor skills (80% of time is spent cutting straws)
1. Cut straws into non-uniform sections, removing any bendy parts (is there a technical term for these?)
2. Use a small pair of scissors to make vertical incisions around the straw, leaving a 1-cm band in the middle. No need for precision here, just work toward the maximum number of incisions while leaving yourself something to grip on to later.
Note: you will find that straws from restaurants and soda fountain dispensers tend to be larger, sturdier and easier to cut than the ones you buy at the grocery store.
3. Run a 10” length of the 24-gauge wire through the remaining/unsliced tube and bend in half.
4. Use your fingers to twist the wire around itself, locking in the straw at one end.
5. Make your base by shaping the heavier 10-gauge wire into a loose spiral (wrapping around a sauce pot works well). You can also skip the spiral and go for a free-form bird cage shape, or just use and an old wire lamp shade. If you are hanging a pendant light through the base, use the lighter 24-gauge wire to form a star shape at the top, as this will allow you to slip the bulb in later.
Caution: whatever shape base you choose, just make sure there is at least a 6” open radius around the light bulb (you don’t want one of your straws touching a hot bulb!)
6. Wrap the twisted wire around your lamp base and secure. Note, 70% of the straws here are secured so that they remain suspended 4” off the base; the other 30% range from 1” to 10” to give it a more non-uniform, organic feeling.