Make-it-Yourself: Branch Chandelier
Our dining room does not have overhead lighting. At first I thought it was quaint, but as last winter crept in, and we could hardly see our meals, I decided a chandelier was in order. However, we don’t have electricity in the ceiling, and until we are ready to blow up the whole dining room/kitchen mishmash (something I can’t wait to do), we needed a temporary fix.
Enter our Aspen Branch Chandelier!
This was a crazy, almost-free solution to our lighting problem, AND it is a fantastic decorative element in our home. Honestly, I’m not sure I will replace it when we renovate this room. I love it so much!
Right now our branch chandelier is adorned with Halloween ghosts, witches, pumpkins, and bats which we made together as a family. Bambino takes great delight in decorating the branch for various holidays. At Easter we hung our blown eggs from the branches. For Bambino’s birthday: Japanese lanterns. At Christmas time and through January: glass icicles, snowflakes, and our collection of feathered birds. And for Valentine’s day: glittery hearts!
The idea was inspired by a common element in Reggio Emilia classrooms — a branch hanging from the ceiling from which student artwork is hung and changed out seasonally. We just added Christmas lights to solve the lighting problem, and created a fantastic focal point for our dining room.
We created this using items we had around the house. In fact, the remote controlled outlet was the only thing we had to purchase. And we can now see what we are eating!
a dry branch cut to length
We have a LONG dining room table, so our branch is long, but you could do the same thing with a shorter branch.
Ours is measured to be almost the same length as our dining room table.
rope or cord
at least 2 hooks (we used these ceiling hooks)
We used two strands.
You could use battery-powered lights and dispense with the extension cord.
extension cord: we used white so it would disappear into the ceiling
ribbon that matches the rope or cord
A word about the branch: we didn’t happen to have one, but I put a posting on one of our local Facebook groups, and I immediately had several offers of free branches. I actually picked up three of them not knowing which would work the best. We settled on this Aspen branch — it was dry and wouldn’t drip sap, and it was really interesting as well as being the right length. Oh, and it was free!
Wrap Branch with Lights
It is far easier to put the lights on while the branch is on the ground, so wrap the branch in lights. Make sure the plug ends up near the end where you will run the extension cord.
Alternately: you could use battery-operated lights or fairy lights instead of running power to your branch. This would be simpler for many homes, but you will have to replace the batteries. So if this is your solution, be sure your battery packs are easily accessible.
Install Hooks in ceiling
We used double-prong ceiling hooks because we had some in the house from another project. But you could use just about anything. If you are actually going into the ceiling, it is important to mount your hooks into a stud. We have exposed beams, so that was an easy solution for us. We just mounted the hooks on the inside of the beams.
Hang the branch
Using jute rope, we hung the branch from the two hooks. First, we made equal loops of rope for each end. Then once it was hung, we adjusted the ropes until it was level and at an appropriate height. Once we liked where it was hung, we secured the knots and trimmed the rope ends.
Run the Extension Cord
Because we have a pony wall between the kitchen and dining room, we were able to run the extension cord along the ceiling and drop it down into the cabinet above our microwave — where we just happened to have a free outlet. Maybe you do, too!
In the cabinet, we installed the remote controlled outlet for easy on and off.
Cover the Extension Cord
I covered the white extension cord with ribbon that matches the jute rope so that the white cord isn’t obvious. This may not be necessary.
Trim Your Branch
Once it was all hung, we trimmed the branch so that it wasn’t a hazard. And in fact, I have pruned it more than once over the last year that it has been up. Now it is just about right!
Putting up a Branch Chandelier is an easy DIY project that adds more than a little character to any room in your house. If you don’t need the lights, hanging a branch is even easier. This project is so versatile, I can imagine using it in a variety of other ways:
in your child’s room as a place to hang artwork
in your crafting space for drying flowers, paintings, or other projects
with solar-powered lights over a table on a patio or porch for pretty summer dining
in a laundry room to hang orphan socks or delicates while they drip-dry
instead of a Christmas tree for a small home or apartment
If you put one up, be sure to tag me on Instagram (@midmodernmama). I would love to see it!