DIYdiy projects

diy project: packing peanut chandelier

by Grace Bonney

this fantastic diy idea comes from the lovely mollie dash and her boyfriend bryan. bryan decided to make this chandelier from packing peanuts– something some of us accumulate more often than we’d like. rather than throw them away (only if they’re non-recyclable, of course), why not turn them into something like this? click here for the full project and instructions, or just “click read” more below.

click here for mollie’s project post on her blog. thanks, molly!

Mollie and Bryan’s Packing Peanuts Chandelier

What You’ll Need:

1. Large box of packing peanuts
2. Half gallon of wood glue
3. Large clear trash bag (leaf bag)
4. Medium-heavy gauge copper wire for hanging (18 ga.)
5. Needle nose pliers for hanging
6. Sewing needle
7. Fishing line


1. Place peanuts in garbage bag.
2. Lightly pour in glue and shake bag to coat peanuts
3. Let sit several days to dry
4. Repeat glue and drying process several more times
5. Let sit a final time, until thoroughly dry. Remove from bag. Peanuts should be molded to the sides, but slightly loose in the middle. Shake out loose peanuts.
5. Thread through top with copper wire and attach to lighting fixture.

++ Please note- to avoid fire hazards hang the lamp a safe distance away from bulbs and use the lowest wattage possible++

6. Thread a few peanuts on fishing line and attach to bottom of chandelier.

From Mollie: “These are my instructions from observing Bryan as he worked. So I’ll be happy to answer any questions if I can.”

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  • Wow! I’ve been seeing some really innovative chandeliers lately and this one is wonderful! I may have to have a DIY chandelier in each room! :)

  • This is such a smart idea!! However, I’d be very concerned about fire damage even with a low wattage bulb…

  • I would go one step further and use a cleaned coffee can / new unused pain can to place the bulb kit in to prevent the risk of fire.

  • We’ve had the lamp up several months, and have never had a problem with it overheating. It sits about six inches below the light fixture, and the light is on a dimmer.

  • Huh, I just can’t wrap my mind around this one. It’s not really chandelier; it looks more like a bunch of that expanding insulation hanging from the ceiling. It’s certainly different, but not my style.

  • As much as I’ve tried, I cannot like this chandelier. It actually looks like…a glob of hanging peanuts. I would also be concerned about fire.

  • with the addition of some dust it’s a fire hazard for sure. having lost our home as a little girl to fire–no risk is too small.

  • it’s a low wattage bulb.

    the mass of peanuts scooped out at the top, providing 12″ of clearance around the bulb.

    a LED bulb like the evolux (http://www.earthled.coml) type would decrease the “fire hazard” being that they don’t even get as warm as the human body.

    they also draw less than 1/10th of the power of comparable incandescent bulbs, and take forever to burn out.

    but LEDs aren’t infinitely dimmable like incandescent lighting. I like the warm color of a dim tungsten globe.

  • ah- I should note that the bulb doesn’t actually sit inside the chandelier. It might be confusing from the photos. I posted a shot of the top of the lamp on my blog just now. Hope this helps!

  • Interesting – looks like popcorn to me! Another packing peanuts reuse idea is to collect them until you have a good amount and then take them to your local packing/shipping store or UPS/Fedex where they will reuse them – we’ve gotton free copies and faxes here and there for it – but that’s just an added bonus of keeping them out of a landfill.

  • This wouldn’t work in my space, either, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a really cool way to upcycle regular ‘trash’. Kudos on the creativity, Mollie!

  • Kind of looks like an exploded popcorn ball…but, still…I think expanding on this idea might get you a conceptual art installation at MOMA.

  • this trend is weird and I don’t really get it? But i bet there are a bunch of other cool things you could do with packing peanuts

  • had a “wild hair” about making a lamp.

    started by gluing peanuts into a ball-like shape.

    Then it sort of started looking like a cartoon Portugese Man o’ War.

    So I continued in that direction.

  • when I first saw this, I thought it might be made by slightly melting the peanuts in the oven using some kind of large metal bowl for the shape. I will have to try it and see what happens.
    My .02


  • SERIOUSLY. Let’s hang the off-gassing fire hazard up with a dimmer (which uses more electricity than a non-dimmer light). Maybe this is magic organic peanut wrapping and when you said low wattage, you meant, LED, but still. Glad we’re not neighbors. Nice to look at, though.

  • Loved it, sent me back to a very innocent time, when as a child, did deep water free diving off of a tuna boat for fun and exploring; of “hey let’s go see what’s under here”. on the way to the surface, Encountered a smiler, glorious sight, of a Portuguese man-of-war,/ Jelly Fish,being it was mid-noon, great light shone thru surface; yep, it was a glorious sight. It looked like a luminous cluster of budding moon flowers; just like your chandelier. I love it! and what a wonderful usage of the popcorn/packing, to be discarded material. Kudos

  • OK. time to bring clarity to all the rumor, pseudo-science and spin.

    EPS —expanded polystyrene— is chemically stable and biologically inert. i.e. – no off-gassing.

    It’s melting point is 392 degrees Fahrenheit. It burns at 662 degrees F. You need an open flame, high wattage lamp or direct hot-wire to ignite it.

    It will produce CO (monoxide) when ignited, but less than the same amount of wood.

    So keeping it at least a foot from a low watt bulb (as the above example is configured) is a safe proposition.

    As far as dimmers using more power. That is a misleading statement. Yes, a 100w bulb on a dimmer set to put out the same amount of light as a 60w bulb will consume 75w of power.

    But that is still less than the power consumed than a non-dimmed 100w bulb.

    the extra energy is expended as heat at the dimmer.

    That minor inefficiency is offset by the versatility of a dimmed fixture.


  • bryan and mollie…forget what everyone else said. the chandelier is awesome..it’s a brilliant idea and it looks perfect in your apartment. i wish we were neighbors because you could probably give me great ideas like this all the time. a xanax’s temper is a greater fire hazard than that terrific contraption and anyone who doesn’t like it can go polish their Franklin Mint plates for the fourth time.
    very nice job. very cool idea,.

  • I was searching the site for DIY chandeliers and I am so thrilled that I came across this. obviously it is a conversation piece and I would love to have it in my home. very creative idea guys!

  • Not something I would like to have in my house – not my style… although, I think this idea has potential, perhaps if they were painted, or even arranged differently – to those who like this.

  • My grandson-in-law loves my 1970’s hanging lamp that looks a lot like your lamp. Mine is made out of something that looks like glass but isn’t. Anyway I’m making this for him. Thanks