Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Easy Teacup Chandelier - Take 2 and 3!

While work continues on the roofing and the exterior trim of the Shabby Chic Soap Shop I received my new Du Bro tubing bender. I had to try it out, so this lead me down another rabbit hole...

If you'll recall from my Easy Teacup Chandelier post, I had an epic failure at my attempt to bend 1/8" copper tubing with the K&S Tubing Bender kit. It has been pointed out to me by kindred souls over at the Greenleaf forums that it was probably just user error, because they have no problem using them. I was using copper tubing, and they were using brass, so that was probably what accounted for the diverse results.

The Du-bro bender included four 3" pieces of 1/8" brass tubing. It bent like a dream! No crimping, no breaking. Here you can see all four pieces perfectly bent into beautiful J's!

Okay, so it works perfectly on brass but how about copper?

Not so much. It actually crimps and breaks the metal. Now I am sure that if I insert a piece of solid wire into the tubing and heat it up a bit before bending (as was suggested to me on the forum) I may have better results. Another challenge for another time perhaps... For now, we'll stick to the very accommodating brass rod.

But on to my progress on the chandelier...

I needed a central brace - something a little decorative. Hoarders everywhere will rejoice when I show you some really old stock I had saved for "just in case"... Veranda Posts!

I got out the trusty old bead container and started to create something of a shabby chandelier using these and other "parts".

These two bead caps glued together will serve as the base of the center wooden dowel.

I am using a combination of E6000 and The Ultimate Glue to see what sticks, pun intended (snicker)...

These will be the parts that support the saucer and attach them to the brass J's. The toothpicks are simply an attempt to keep things lined up and uncrooked:

Here is the dowel being glued into the bottom bead caps. I was very generous with the Ultimate glue here. It will dry clear, and the whole assembly will be painted white, so a little messy was okay.

The J's will have to be attached to the top of the chandelier somehow. A large bead cap seemed like just the thing - only, I needed to make the holes larger so that the 1/8" rod would fit into them. I just used the Dremel with the drill attachment to open them up a bit. You can see how one of the four has been enlarged.

Next, I needed to assemble the candle bulb, cup, saucer and support bead caps to the J's. This meant fishing the candle wires through each component. I found that a little persistence, going slowly, being willing to back the wire out a bit then push forward with gentle pressure helped to coax the wires to manage the curve and pop out blissfully from the end.

Closer up...

Now to add the top to the dowel with the base. I decided maybe screwing it in might be better than just glue. Drilled the pilot hole, widened the hole in the bead cap, then screwed it down... The screw sticking out the top will serve as a spacer - you'll see what I mean in a later step...

Okay - time to add the arms - in this model there will only be four. The photo below gives you a rough idea, though a messy one, of what I'm trying to accomplish...

Getting there is a fiddly and messy business. Hopefully, once completed and painted shabby white, it will add to the flavor of the look for the shop that I am trying to achieve. If not, I have plenty more brass, plenty of beads, plenty of veranda posts and plenty of will to try, try again... The teacup chandelier experiments will continue...

Meanwhile, check out what materials and details I've revealed to use in the HBS Creatin' Contest 2016 page. Kit bash and layout are coming in early June if all goes well!

*** UPDATE ***

Here is the chandelier after I glued it:

Sloppy, huh?

Here it is after I painted it:

Sloppy, huh?

Um... Yeah... It still needs work so I decided to just start all over again... See my little brass rods all cut to the perfect length and everything? Then I tried to bend them...

Then I learned something new - after the new brass tube (that the hubs so nicely picked up for me from the hobby store) bent and broke just like the copper tube! Apparently, you need to do something called ANNEALED to the metal.

Yep - I read all about it. Apparently, if you are trying to harden the brass, say if you are making bullets, you heat the brass with a torch until it is cherry red and immediately knock it into water to cool it quickly. If you want it soft, you heat it to cherry red with a torch and then let it cool slowly, like let it air cool. Then it is supposed to submit to being bent into a nice looking "J" with no crimps and no breaking. So, to sum up this post, this is an ongoing experiment, and I will post again about my annealing experience and let you know if I actually made a purdy chandelier...


  1. Nice Work Jodi! Your investment in the tube bender really paid off because your teacup chandelier is going to look GREAT! :D

    1. Thanks E! If not, then maybe Take 3 or Take 4 will! I'll keep at it!

  2. Replies
    1. It was intended to be easy... I'll see if I can get it to easy so everyone can happily make one of their own! :O)

  3. Hello Jodi,
    I think you are doing a great job. It might be a road with a few bumps in it, but I know you will make a chandelier that is at par with your amazing work. I can't wait to see it painted, because this chandelier is looking great.
    Big hug

    1. Thanks Giac! I promise to keep trying until I get it "right"!

  4. The new tube bender certainly does the job on brass! The tea cup chandelier will be perfectly delightful once painted and hung in position in the Shabby Chic Soap Shop. It's exciting to see how you have put together saved elements to create a lighting vision for the room...looking forward to seeing the decorating continue. By the way...fun concept for the contest! Cheers, Alayne in Winnipeg

    1. Thanks Alayne! I am so glad to put things I have saved to use. This justifies more "saving to use later"! I'll keep making prototypes until I run out of material or make just the perfect one!

  5. Wow! That looks like it's going to turn out great! Can't wait to see it painted.

    Three Little Pigs revenge? Oh man I'm really looking forward to this!

    1. Thanks Sheila! I think I may get to paint it today - after my chores are done ! :O)

      I'm glad you're excited about the Three Pigs too! It makes me happy that we are sharing our contest build experiences together!