Found materials and small trailing succulents can be combined to make a charming chandelier.
With this project I wanted to capture the softening light of a late summer day and bring it in for the cold and dark season to come. This chandelier adds the romance of a warm blanket on a cool autumn evening to any room. It is a free-spirited creation, made with a found branch, old glass yogurt containers, some ball chain, tea lights, and one Senecio radicans. Senecio is an easy-to-grow succulent that makes a wonderful hanging houseplant. Other plants that would work are Senecio rowleyanus, Ceropegia woodii, rhipsalis, or Sedum morganianum. For the hanger, I used an old branch that was the base of a shrub that had died. The wood had been drying for a few years, so it had a nice aged look. It works well because it has multiple branches and is well balanced. You could also use something like a bicycle wheel or other metal object in place of the wood. When you hang the glass jars from the wood, arrange them so that their weight is evenly distributed along the hanger so that the branch (or other object) they are hanging from remains level.
- A found branch or other object with an interesting shape (A)
- Eyebolt (B)
- 3 feet of chandelier fixture chain (C)
- 30 feet of antiqued-brass beaded-ball chain (D)
- 8 to 9 small glass jars (E)
- Antiqued-brass connectors for the beaded-ball chain (F)
- 6-inch Senecio radicans or other small hanging plant (G)
- 5 battery-operated tea lights (real tea lights may be used, but use them with extreme caution due to fire danger) (H)
- Drill (I)
- Drill bit that matches the size of the eyebolt (J)
- Wire cutters (K)
- Pliers (chain pliers if you have them) (L)
Predrill a hole in the top of the branch, or in the spot you’ll be placing the eyebolt. I recommend holding the branch lightly to find its natural balancing spot, and predrill the hole in that spot.
Screw the eyebolt in the hole you’ve predrilled.
Using the wire cutters, cut the length of chandelier fixture chain that you’ll need to hang the chandelier from the ceiling.
Attach the chain to the eyebolt and use the pliers to close the gap in the link.
Wrap a piece of ball chain around a jar just underneath the lip and cut the chain to that length.
Attach a connector to one end of the ball chain, wrap the chain around the jar under the lip, and attach the other end of the ball chain to the other side of the connector, so that the chain is secured to the jar. If it is really hard to get the ball chain in the second end of the connector, open it a bit with the pliers, but be sure to close it completely once you have secured the chain.
Make a handle from which to hang the jar. Loop a piece of ball chain about the same size as the one you just made between the jar and the already attached ball chain. Attach a connector to the end of the second ball chain and then to another ball about eight balls up, or as close to the first end as you can. Repeat this on the other side of the jar, so that you’ve made a loose handle across the top of the jar. Repeat steps 5 through 7 with the remaining jars.
Cut a length of ball chain, between 6 inches to 15 inches (so that the jars hang at different lengths), for each of the jars you’re using.
Attach each length of ball chain to the handle of each jar by looping the chain around the handle and then using a connector to attach the end of the chain back itself, as close to the end as possible.
Break the senecio into four parts. Plant each part in a jar.
Place tea lights in the remaining jars.
Attach all of the hanging jars to the branch in various spots by wrapping the ball chain around the branch and using a connector to attach it back to itself. Check periodically during the process to see how the weight of the jars is distributed across the branch. The chandelier should be balanced and hang evenly when you are finished.
Let the senecio almost dry out between waterings, and water them less frequently during their dormant season (fall and winter). The glass jars do not have drainage holes so be careful not to overwater them. If you put too much water in the jar and see water pooling at the bottom you can gently turn the jar upside down and allow the water to run out of the jar. Be alert to any signs of mold; if you do notice mold developing remove the plant from the jar, clean the jar thoroughly, and replant the plant using new soil.
Indoor senecios prefer very bright indirect light. Avoid hanging them near air conditioners and radiators.
Fertilize during spring and summer one to two times with a general houseplant fertilizer diluted by one half the recommended solution.
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