Happy Friday, friends! So, I know you’re looking forward to some creative time this weekend, so I thought I’d share something to get your ideas flowing. This is a project I’ve had on my mind for a while. Well, ever since we moved into our Leverkusen home. We had no light fixture (or light for that matter) in the kitchen for the first couple of months. Then, we bought a simple light bulb on a wire from IKEA, and that’s been it for the past 2 months. So, needless to say, it was time to finally finish this part of our kitchen.
I know I say this a lot, but this is the best project ever. I mean, it just looks so cool, I didn’t even expect it to look so good, but it does. And I love it! Apparently, I’m really into geometry these days, as my hubby pointed out. I’ve been browsing geometric pendant lights
on Pinterest, and ran into a couple of Himmeli wreath projects that gave me the idea to use the straw technique for this project. It worked like a charm (well, after some tweaking).
This is what you need:
- Cocktail straws (mine were wide, and 13cm long)
- Crafting wire
- Wire cutter (or you could use your scissors for the wire cutting, if possible)
- Thick felt
- Glue (for mounting the fixture)
First, prep your materials. You’ll need 18 long straws, 12 half straws, and 12 quarter straws. Be as precise as possible with the cutting, as it does affect the end result a little. My first fixture kept getting a little tilted, so I made another one, and made sure to cut the straws all exactly the same length, and I think it helped, cause the second one is much straighter. It does still need some bending and straightening once it’s done, but we’ll get to that part.
The process is way harder to put into words, than it actually is to do, but I’ve tried to make it as clear as possible. So, in the pictures you see a lot of colors. In every photo, the straws added in that step are black, and each preceding step has it’s own color, so you can get a better idea where you are at. Later, I only highlight the parts that are relevant to the step at hand. But, note that the color for that particular set of straws is always the same for easy reference once we get to the second story.
Cut a long piece of wire. I found that 3m was an ok length to work with, longer than that, and it starts to get tangled. Whenever you run out of wire, just wrap it around the corner you end at a couple of times and leave a tail. Then cut another piece of wire and attach it to the corner where you have to continue adding straws. When you’re done, just tuck the wire endings to a nearby straw to hide them.
1. Add 3 long and 1 half straw onto the wire and connect them into a rectangle.
2. Add 1 half and 2 long straws, and connect up to the orange rectangle.
3. Add 1long, 1 half, 1 long straw and connect to the next corner of the orange element.
4. Add 2 long, 1 half straw and connect down to the next corner of the orange element.
5. Feed the wire back through the short straw of the last added element (blue).
6. Add 1 half, 2 long straws and connect up to the next corner of the previous (blue) element. Then, add 1 long, 1 half, 1 long straw (yellow) and connect to down to the next corner of the element just added (red).
7. Almost done with the first round. Add 2 long and 1 half straw, and connect down to the corner of the red element.
8. Feed the wire back through the half straw of the last added element (purple). Add 1 half straw and connect to the green element, forming a hexagon.
9. Feed the wire up through the green elements long straw. Add a long straw, and connect to the purple element, creating the upper hexagon.
10. Add 1 long, 1 half, 1 long straw, and connect down to the mustard yellow straw. Feed the wire up through the just added element.
11. Add 1 half straw, and connect to the next rectangle (marked with light pink).
12. Add 3 quarter straws, and connect down to the next corner of the light pink element.
13. Repeat steps 11-12 twice with the next elements, so that you’ll have 3 levels of connected hexagons. By this time you probably already no system. feed the wire up through the last-added quarter straw, add a quarter straw and connect to the next little rectangle, feed the wire through the upper quarter straw of that element, add another quarter straw and connect with the next little rectangle until the fourth hexagon is formed. Secure the end of the wire by wrapping it a couple of time, cut and feed the tail into a nearby straw.
14. Hide all the wire ends.
What you’ll probably notice now is that the finished pendant doesn’t look that pretty, it sort of lopsided and the straw ends are a mess. So, you product right now looks like the one on the left above, yet, you want to make it look like the one on the right. Believe me, I was pretty frustrated at first, since all the DIY versions of Himmeli wreaths and similar geometric pendants looked so much better than mine. But, I figured out a solution.
All you need is to cut some Tetris pieces out of felt. Cut a 2x2cm piece of felt into a cross, and then replicate another 11 of them. So, all in all 12 crosses. Then cut another cross, but cut one side off, so it’s more of a T. Make a total of 12 of those as well.
The way this works, is that you need to feed the ends of the crosses into the straws at each joining point. Use the cross where 4 straws meet, and the T where 3 straws meet. Makes sense, right! After you’ve done them all, I promise you will see a huge improvement. What this also does, is hide all the visible wiring. When you look at it from afar, it seems like it’s one continues fixture.
Now, the fixture might still be a little crooked, so place it on a table, and bend it which-ever way needed to align the sides of the 4 hexagons, and make sure they are level, until your happy with the result.
For the wiring of the light, we use the cheap IKEA light sockets. My pendant came out just a tad too wide at the top, so it wouldn’t stay on the wide plastic above the light bulb (I have no idea what that part is called). So, I found a metal ring from another light fixture we have in the basement, and glued it to it, and placed that one between the two parts I can’t name. if your light has a wider placement thingy, you might be able to just take that off, place the pendant, at put it back on as a stopper of sorts. Ok, I hope this whole paragraph make at least some sense to someone.
I’m super proud of our new kitchen light fixture. It’s awesome! Seriously, it looks like something from a high-end modern design store, yet the whole pendant light (with the wiring) cost me around 7€. Win!
This project seriously got my creative wheels spinning. I started to come up with more and more ideas to make for our home. Something I thought about was how there are so many tutorials of DIY home decor out there, but how a lot of them use materials I just don’t have access to, or that are so expensive, that I can’t make them on my budget. So, I was determined to come up with project that could all be made with very common materials, which would be free or cost very little, and make awesome decor out of them. Boom! An e-book idea was formed. So, for the whole week I’ve been in creative overdrive, sourcing materials (which also meant going through our garbage bin), and making projects. I’m so excited to get this e-book ready and out into the world.
I’m hoping to be done by the end of next week. The e-book will contain 10 projects, plus extra tips and ideas for altering the projects. And the cost will be around 5-8€. What do you think? Are you as excited about it as me?
Also, I’m sending my lovelist (aka the mailing list) one of the tutorials for free. So, if you haven’t signed up yet, you might want to (fill in the form in the sidebar, or click on the tab below). (Or, you might not, that’s ok, too. We’re still friends.)