Sunday, May 1, 2016

Easy Teacup Chandelier

When I was dreaming and planning the Shabby Chic Soap Shop I looked for ideas everywhere. When I saw something I liked and wanted to replicate, I saved the photos and links in folders both on my computer and in my Google Favorites. I looked at all sorts of things, and while browsing on Pintrest, saw many chandeliers made with old teacups. I knew I had to make something like them for the shop.

My ideas always seem to start out very grandiose. That is until I hit a road block and have to alter my plans. I wanted to use copper tubing as the chandelier arms, conceal the wiring, and hold the teacups and saucers. Then, I'd paint it black, then white, then sand in spots and apply aging washes until it looked perfectly shabby. Great idea, right?!?

Let's digress into copper tubing for a moment. Specifically, cutting it without crimping and mucking it up. I made several attempts with the affordable "tubing bender" that the manufacturer of the tubing also manufactures. It was a miserable and costly disaster. It did not bend the copper tubing into a perfect J. It just barely bent it before it BROKE COMPLETELY AND GOT STUCK IN THE BENDER APPARATUS.  Is it me? Really?

The instructions say that you can heat it up first. What? Then melt the skin right off of your hands while trying to bend the HOT METAL in the now conducted HOT METAL of the bendy thing? AND! Don't you think that they should let you in on this before you purchase? 

Pretty copper tubing will not be in my immediate future. Until I can afford the MicroMark tubing bender for real hobbyists, I'm not going to try this again. Humph...


Beads, precious!

Gathered all of the possible Plan B materials...

Drilled wiring holes into the tiny plastic teacups and saucers...

Starting parts...

Strung wire through the parts... Did not realize that these cups and saucers were so tiny. Otherwise I could have used smaller candle bulbs... Oh well, still cute...

Made 10, 5 for each chandelier...

Played and played with bead arrangement. Liked it, then didn't...

Too small?

Not sure... I'll keep working at it and post again once I figure it out...

Meanwhile... Started working on more trim. This time for the roof soffit/facia in anticipation of the diamond speed shingles that I hope to receive this week.

Trimming out that curve on the back roof was going to be a bitch real challenge. I could not come up with any creative remedy, so, I just got out a big box cutter and made it square.

I am out of molding in that size, so that means I am also waiting on package #2 this week.

I finished up all of the roof edge moldings (that I had material for).

On the bay roof: Should I wait to roof it in the diamond, or make a faux metal roof?

I have more sanding, filling, painting, repeat to come, so I can keep working while I wait for packages......

Have a great Real Life week my Mini Life friends!


  1. Hi Jodi! I think that you are really onto something Fabulous with your teacup chandelier! I found a tutorial that may be of some help to you to help you realize your dream. I hope that it helps-

    Meanwhile, I have to say that the soap shop is looking Amazing! I can't believe that you have achieved so much in such a short time.
    and I'm in AWE! :D

    1. So do you think the wires wrapped around the "arms" would look okay and maybe even add to the look like hers did? Especially if I painted everything white? I have both 20 and 18 gauge wire, so I could totally give it a try. Thanks so much, E! I really appreciate your posting the link!

  2. Aww, bless your cotton socks, no it isn't you. Bending hollow tube isn't as easy as the manufacturers suggest. I've always had to put the wiring inside the tube before bending - that way the wire supports the tube by filling the hollow. The bending takes gentle coaxing - use the heat from your hand to sloooowly push the metal around a form (the shape you want). Or...follow Elizabths suggestion and use solid tube and wrap the electrical wiring around the outside of the chandelier arm.
    Don't think of it as a disaster. You're learning all of the time and the tea cup chandelier is a gorgeous idea. You're doing really well and the shop looks fab! =0)

    1. Thank you, Pepper... Kisses and Hugs!!! I shall Try, Try Again! I'm going to try the wrapping method, as the one E sent the link to is only half scale and looks pretty stinkin' cute!

  3. Hello Jodi,
    You live, you learn! In the end, no matter how many bumps are in the road, you managed to create a lovely chandelier! It looks a tad small in the picture, but I think if you lowered it a little, if that is a design possibility, it might work. Keep at it!
    Big hug

    1. Thanks Giac! I will! If I can figure out a good way, I'll post for all to know as well!

  4. I've tried that bender and there is no way it actually works. I've read that if you put a piece of wire inside the tube before you bend it, that will help keep it from crimping. Another thought is you could buy a chandelier and bling it up with the tea cups. The shop is looking good! I like the idea of the painted metal roof. I think it will keep it from looking too busy, but I also think the shingles will look nice too.

    1. Thanks for the solidarity against the worthless bender and the great suggestions, Cyd! I would be surprised if anyone ever got that contraption to work. There are no video to watch, so I doubt it's abilities. Maybe I need to start lurking model train blogs to learn the Super Secrets of tubing bending. Hmmm...
      Roger on that roof - You make a great point about it getting too busy...

  5. Oh I love the idea of the teacup chandelier...I agree it looks a touch small in the picture. I have trouble with the tubing crimping and bending... Have you considered some little rubber tubing? Like stuff keyboard and mouse cords, (or old phone chargers) use? Then you just insert your wires and some thick jewelry wire and bend them into the shapes you want. It's rubbery so you'd have to prime it then paint but if you could find the tubing in a pale color (instead of black like the stuff I recycled) it might be easier.

    Just a thought. Love how the window looks against the shingling. And the inside is so fresh and elegant!

    A metal roof could be fun. They come in so many types and colors these days.

    1. Rubber tubing... That could really work. I am going to have to think about this...
      I think you and Cyd are right - I'll go with metal. Maybe same color as the fascia only coated in a satin varnish to give it a metaly look?

    2. Ooooooo I would have never thought of using Rubber Tubing! I shall have to file that idea away for future reference too! :D

  6. What a great bunch of ideas, trying something and asking for help is a wonderful way to learn when the community is so giving and talented. As a reader and newbie I feel like I'm getting an education for free. Thank you Jodi for always trying new things. Your experiments are entertaining and informative.

    1. Thank you, Shelley! We are a part of a very special, talented, smart and encouraging community! Sharing our passion is as equally important to me as being able to make my mini dreams come true. You say that you are a newbie, but we all are. There are so many branches of craft involved in our hobby that we each evolve into them at different times. Thank goodness we can tap into the knowledge of the ones who've gone before for advice, and be there for the ones who are just arriving! It's amazing and wonderful!

  7. Love, love, love the idea of a tea cup chandelier! I think you did really well to persevere after the level of challenges you faced. I think it looks really cute as is and can hardly wait to see how you finalize it! - Marilyn D., Oromocto, NB, Canada