Sunday, September 8, 2013

DIY Mason Jar Chandelier

So, after I had purchased my new house I went to work on replacing all the light fixtures in the house. I couldn't live around that horrid polished brass, you all know what I'm talking about. When it came down to the kitchen though, I decided I want something quirky and different from your typical breakfast light. You see, I work in a lighting store so I stare at those fixtures all day everyday.
When I finally decided I wanted a mason jar chandelier, I went on the hunt to find some inspiration. I didn't want to buy one for $400 when I know that I was fully capable to make one on my own. I came across a DIY that gave you step by step instructions at Kara Paslay Design. This is truly the best one I found. Now I made a few changes to my design which I'll tell you below, but feel free to use her site as well.
Before we start, I am not an electrician and don't assume responsibility if your house burns down using my instructions. If you are not comfortable, HIRE AN ELECTRICIAN!!

What you'll need: 

Mason Jars
I used 6 for my chandelier you'll need to decide how many.
You can find these at Hobby Lobby for about $2.30/ea but I purchased mine when they were 50% off.

Wire (18-2 lamp cord)
I found this at Lowe's. You have to know what you are looking for.
Make sure you don't purchase speaker wire, it looks almost identical.
I purchased about 18'-20', you'll want to plan out your project before purchasing.

Tapped Hex Nuts that will fit you nipple.
I used 1/8-IP

Steel Nipples
I used 1/8-IP
The original DIY tells yous to buy a long one then cut them down. I just purchased a packet that had multiple sizes. You can find these at Lowe's by the lamp parts area (usually on an end cap). I used the smallest size, about 1" long.

Wire Nuts

Keyless Sockets
I used the medium base since I wanted to use the Vintage style bulbs in mine. You can also fin them in candelabra bases.

Tin Snips

A marker or pen

Drill with a Drill bit.


Decorative Aluminum Metal Sheets
This is something different the original didn't use. They had you drill holes in the tops of the mason jar lids, but I wanted something more decorative then that. You can find these at Lowe's or Home Depot for about $18 for a 12" x 24" sheet. I actually got mine at Hobby Lobby for $11.99, 50% off. There are several designs. I used Elliptical.

Hose Clamp

Canopy & Mounting Bracket
These can also be found in the lamp parts section at Lowe's.

Ceiling Medallion
Completely optional. I used one just to add a little something to the ceiling. Also found at Lowe's or Home Depot.

Now to the steps...

First things first. The first thing I did was remove the lid from the mason jar. You will find the flat piece is loose. Lay this on top of your aluminum sheet and trace out 6 circles (or however may jars you are using.)

Then, use your tin snips to cut out the circles. Always remember to be careful when handling metal, you can cut yourself although this part is fairly easy.
You now have a cut out decorative circle that will fit in your mason jar.

Now, use your drill to drill a hole into the center. Easiest way to measure what size you'll meed is to hold your drill bit parallel to your threaded nipple. You want the drill bit to be larger then the solid piece, but a little smaller then the threads. you want the nipple to fit snug into your hole. Make sure you have something to put underneath when drilling, like a scrap piece of wood. Now, I suggest wearing some work gloves & clamping the metal down. I foolishly rushed this part and didn't take these precautions, and the drill caught hold of the metal and spun it, slicing open my thumb. Please learn from my mistake here.
Now you have your finished decorative lid.

Next, we are going to prepare the wire for our sockets. You will want to measure out what lengths you are using. I had each one at about 2' long. You will then need to use a razor blade to split the wires apart (down the center between the 2 wires but be careful not to cut into them.) This is actually easier then it sounds, just be careful not to cut yourself.

Once you have done that, use either wire cutters or your razor blade to strip the coating off each wire. I stripped off about 3/4"-1". You will now have a pig tail.

Next, you are ready to wire your sockets. First thing, screw your nipple into the hole of the socket. Thread your wire into the nipple and pull excess through just to make it easier to wire. The silver screw is your neutral & the brass is hot. As far as the wires, the ridged wire is your neutral & the smooth is your hot. I suggest saving this picture if you ever plan to do any wiring, it really comes in handy.

Now, loosen the screws on the socket, be careful, they are short and its easiest if they are still attached. Now, wrap the correct wire around the screw & tighten the screw back down. pull the excess wire back through the nipple, careful not to pull too hard ass you don't want to pull the wire out from the screws. Repeat for each socket.
Now, pull the wire through the cut piece of aluminum and push the nipple through as well. Use a hex nut to tighten down to the metal. You can paint this if you like since most nipples & hex nuts are brassy but you really won't see it once its hanging.
Once you have done this, add the rest of the lid and attach the glass part of the mason jar.

Now, pull the wires through the canopy. You can try and hang and adjust to the lengths you want them but I found it doesn't stay. This may be snug depending on how many you are doing. You may need to drill the hole bigger. You just want to make sure you don't cut into the wire, but you do want the hole to big snug not loose.

Once you have done this, grab a friend and hold up. Now you can adjust the lengths you want them to hang. Use the hose clamp to put around the wires, and use your screwdriver to tighten it onto the wires. Get as tight as you can.

Then, use a small piece of wire, about 6" (it's always to best to do longer then you think because you can always make shorter.) you will strip both ends making a pig tail. Make sure you put the     wires through your mounting bracket before attaching. Wire all neutrals together & all hot wires on one end. The other end is to wire in your ceiling.

Now, make sure you turn off your power before wiring. Get help, I had both my parents helping me. One person will need to hold the jars which is a job in itself. Now wire the other ed of the pigtail to your house. (If you are using a medallion, put this up before wiring. I forgot and had to redo.

Now attach your mounting bracket to the junction box in the ceiling, and then attach the canopy using your screws and decorative nuts that came along with it.

Tada! You are done.
I used like I said the vintage style bulbs in mine which are only 40W. I suggest not using a higher wattage bulb since these will get hot.

Hard to get a good picture with it on.
Please feel free to comment with any questions. Also, I am not a licensed electrician

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