Brass, Wires, and Paint, Oh My! …Up-cycled Chandelier DIY

The Good Things: basic electrical work, refurbishing items, and adding charm to our kitchen.

Part of me dies a bit when I paint over wood. But Painting over Brass? Welll…. not so much.

Though I’m no stranger to ‘upgrading’ light fixtures. I’m pretty obsessed with the new DIY trend of painting brass light fixtures.

So when I found a FREE chandelier looking for a good home, I quickly scooped it up.

Ain’t she a beaut?


She also had these hurricane type glass looking covers (5 plastic and a glass one that was, of course, 1/2 inch smaller than the other 5)

The original plan was to remove the candle type holders and replace with shorter lightbulb holders for a more modern look. Local Hardware stores carry them in various sizes for about $12 for a pack of 2 ( 3 packs x $12  $36) On this particular day, my local hardware store only had two packs of  2-inch holders. The combination of impatience, having about 10 minutes of time before preschool pick up, and the general dislike of spending money… I decided to forgo the lower light holders and hope for the best.

side note- If you have a fully stocked hardware store, $40ish bucks, wire cutters and a screw driver you can do it (I promise!)

Basic Electrical Wires for Lights

Screen Shot 2015-04-20 at 2.49.55 PM



Ground/Bare Copper

Via This Old House


In this case, you pull the black and white wires through and screw them around the corresponding screws (most electrical anythings, including the new sockets come with instructions)  the copper ground screw in the socket provides the ‘Ground’ …so super easy, right?! 😉

So before all of that, you need to have a rehabbed glamorous light.

1/ clean off the light and *lightly* sand away any rust/dirt/etc.

2/use painters tape to cover any exposed wires (except the wires that run through the chain)

3/ Tighten everything as if it was about to be hung and

photo 1

4/ With any kind of metal painting you want to PRIME. Trust me, it will never dry right and it will make a mess if you don’t.

4/a- I have also learned to actually follow the recommended rules (shocker I know)

4/b- only use spray paint when it’s above 50 degrees, not humid/raining (if you’re outside- and you should be outside!) always, ALWAYS use thin layers…and let dry in-between coats (40ish min is the minimum)

For this go I went with Rust-Oleum Painters Touch Ultra Cover 2X Flat White Primer ($4ish)

Screen Shot 2015-04-20 at 3.10.20 PM

p.s. I was so happy with the flat white look, I actually decided to just use the primer!

photo 3

When it is COMPLETELY dry figure out the length that you want or need and cut the chain (or in my case woman-handle it with any tool you can find) until it’s the appropriate length.

Then… Instal! For some “how-to” help I’d recommend:

The finished product!

(step 2 touch up ceiling paint)

photo 3photo 1

5/ Once installed look for any blemishes/unpainted areas. If you see any grab a piece of cardboard hold up behind and spray.

Not bad for a $4 light!

Off with you! Go give an old light another chance!


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