DIY Chandelier


Those of you who read this blog regularly are familiar with Pink Tool Belt.  She has a clean potato bin.  That is the kind of person she is.  She’s the kind of person who cleans her potato bin regularly.

The tools that fill the workshop in her basement?  They’re hers.  Her husband borrows them they odd time but they belong to her, wearer of the pink tool belt.  She has all your basics like drills, hammers, screwdrivers, a jigsaw, a skill saw, a compressor and nail gun, a table saw, drill press and everybody’s favourite, the sliding compound miter saw.

She’s the one who showed me how to frame my chicken coop and came over every couple of days to work on it with me until I told her to go away because I wanted to built it myself and she was taking away all my fun.  Then she came over every 3 days instead of 2.

Pink Tool Belt is not poor.  She has plenty of money. I know this because she never buys no name potato chips. But part of the reason she has plenty of money is because she does everything herself.  She built her own bed.  This is a person who BUILT HER OWN BED.  And I’m not talking about taking apart some cruddy old skids and nailing them together again in a different way.  I’ll show you her bed one day. It’s fancy and flourishy.

It shouldn’t have come as a surprise to me that she would build her own chandelier out of junk.  But it did surprise me.  Cartoon surprised, where your eyes google out of their sockets and your tongue unrolls out of your head.  You see, Pink Tool Belt is like me in that she is alarmed at how much money outdoor lighting costs.  You may remember that refusing to pay for outdoor lighting is how I came up with my Glowing Outdoor Orbs.

Her creation is a bit more ambitious.  When she realized she wanted/needed a light for under her pergola in the backyard she figured she might as well just make one with some crap she found in the workshop, plus a few things she had to buy.

Because who doesn’t figure they’ll just whip up their own light source from beads and wires and stuff?

Behold Pink Tool Belt’s DIY Junk chandelier.  This is what it looked like before she painted it, so you can see all the bits and parts.





So what is everything and how did she do it?  More importantly, how did she find time in between cleaning her potato bin to get it done?




She made her own jig out of a piece of wood to bend the copper tubing into shape so they’d all be exactly the same.  Ditto for the wire up top.  The finials are pieces of wood my father did on his lathe years and years ago, which she saved all this time.

The pictures I’ve shown you so far don’t give you a good idea of the size of this thing.  It measures 3 feet across but weighs surprisingly little what with it being made out of plastic pots and all.




She painted it and gave it a bit of an antique finish.




It wasn’t until she hung it that she realized it’s a bit big for the table and a bit low, so after I took my shots she raised the chandelier up a bit and starting honing a big hunk of marble she has squirrelled away in order to make a new, bigger table.  Just kidding.  I think.  Who knows with her.  I could very well go over to her house next weekend and discover she’s built a table, new chairs and a self cleaning potato bin.






Yup.  Built her own chandelier.  Bed.  Tables, chairs, benches, rugs and more.




But all that manual labour has taken it’s toll.  Look at her.  She’s hideous.






Now if you’ll excuse me I have a dirty potato bin to grab a potato out of and a bed to make.  And  just to clarify for Pink Tool Belt in case she’s reading this, by “make” I mean pull the sheets and duvet up.  No need to come over and help me with that.


  1. SunGold says:

    Har. I felt diy-fab because I recently made blackberry vinegar and dried apples by the gallon. Then I read this. Time to clean my potato bin. Oh, wait. I haven’t built it yet.

  2. Kim says:

    It’s just not fair dammit! The women in your family have it all; Brains, Beauty, Talent and Fabulous Hair. PTB is fab but you’re still our fave Karen!

  3. Nancy says:

    Can you both do a tutorial on how to wire that beauty? I like collecting all of the parts but when it comes to the electrical I’ve tried to google it so many times and it’s never clear to me to do a multi bulb light fixture!! I’ll hold my breath until I see the post!

  4. AnnW from the US says:

    But of course she’s great, she’s Betty’s daughter!

  5. Elen G says:

    Gobsmacked. That is all.

  6. Kim C says:

    Hideously talented! Love the chandelier and the garden too. I really hope your sister will let you show us the bed someday. :)

  7. Ruth says:

    Love the chandelier – the proportions are lovely. And I even like the antique finish except…

    Chandeliers are about the bling, baby. About light and reflections. Even outside. Bring out the crystal, let it glitter and confuse the butterflies and hummingbirds.

  8. Linda says:

    That was funny! And gorgeous!

  9. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    Since I saw Betty at work with a hammer…I’m assuming you girls got your DIY skills from your Daddy…lol..But don’t feel bad Betty..they got their good looks from you..I’m not sure if I like it best before the paint or after…but I am sure that I like it…Great job PTB…

  10. Melissa in NC says:

    Wow, talk about good genes…you and Pink Tool Belt are incredibly talented and so resourceful. I’m in awe.
    What a lovely spot PTB has there under the pergola surrounded and beautiful yard. Love the chandy.

  11. Nancy S in Winnipeg says:

    To paraphrase Red Green “If they don’t find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.”

  12. Susan U says:

    I have a sister who just may be Pink Tool Belt’s separated at birth sister. That would make us related.

  13. Deb Miller says:

    In, how ashamed I now am of my previously-believed-to-be-fabulous DIY projects! This is one of your funniest posts, yet, Queen Karen! And that chandelier – Oh my Gawd! And seriously, I want to be hideous just like PTB!

  14. Teddee Grace says:

    Talented family! It’s beautiful! I notice it is exposed to the elements. What was done to make it weatherproof? I can see from the edge of her flower bed that she’s a neatnik!

  15. Ev Wilcox says:

    The light is wonderful, but I don’t understand how it is impervious to rain! Please please explain, as I need one that is impervious too! You two are awesome! Your parents sure did well! Thanks Karen.

  16. jainegayer says:

    Yes, she’s every bit as hideous as you and so is her hair!

    Beautiful, both of you and so creative.
    I too was wondering about the rain on the chandelier. I like the size of the chandelier over the smaller table.
    It’s unexpected and different.

  17. kelli says:

    Y’all are definitely the DIY-in-your-DNA divas, wow! That chandie is stunning. As is her yard/pergola. As is she herself. The pink toolbelt kills!

  18. Tigersmom says:

    Wow! I thought the picture pre paint job showed some very clever scrounging for materials coming together in what would be a far too rustic/industrial look for me. And then BAM! I’m not usually one for antiqued finishes either (I find they just seem to make things look as though they are just really dirty) but the finished product is really beautiful.

    I, too, am wondering about the rain worthiness of this puppy, tho.

  19. mickey says:


  20. Jennie says:

    I love the fact that PTB used wood your father turned by hand. I have tools from my grandfather’s wood shop displayed in my studio. That sense of continuity makes this lamp special for me. Repurposed and loved, guess that’s the message from our generation.

    • Mary W says:

      I agree Jennie that using the wood from her father is the best part. I’m sure he would be happy to see that they were used and what a wonderful reminder each time she sits under it. Your grandfather’s tools are another way to remember our heritage and stay connected and it just feels warm and happy to look up and see one of a kind family things. I’ve saved my fathers uniform buttons and other “things” that hang on uniforms to make into some display but haven’t come up with the best idea yet. Maybe a shadow box to hang next to my grandmothers tatting tools and pieces that I have.

  21. danni says:

    …at first I was thinking you had finally gone off the deep end, it just looked like a bunch of crap like kindergarten macaroni art, but…. taDAAAAAAH!!! holy shit!
    I’m now going to punch myself in the head for even thinking that.

  22. Paula says:

    Wow!! I thought I had done well by just spray painting an old chandelier. What a resourceful and ambitious family. I’m with some of your other readers too, Karen, can we have your and your family’s hair secrets?

  23. Angela says:

    Love the chandelier! But I want to see more of her yard. Beautiful!

  24. Barb says:

    Pink Tool Belt is beyond awesome, just as you are, Karen!! Beautiful shots, by the way, of that beautiful chandelier.

  25. Louise says:

    “But all that manual labour has taken it’s toll. Look at her. She’s hideous.” LOL! Such a sisterly thing to say!

  26. Amazing! But it has taken its toll alright ha ha!
    Only yesterday I came across an article on making your outdoors look well, and a porch chandelier was one of the ideas!!!
    Someone is robbing your stuff!

  27. Kim says:

    Pure Awesomeness!!! What a talented bunch!

  28. Grammy says:

    I’m just imagining how devastated Betty must be, lovely as she is, to have such hideous daughters. She must have spent all your school years just working mightily to make you three girls presentable. It would have taken a toll on a lesser woman.

  29. Dagmar says:

    This is why I read this blog religiously. I get excited when. I come up with funny ways to use house-hold leftover junk. Like when we had an old shelf from a mini fridge that served no purpose after it took too much room; so I re-purposed it by hangining it up in the washroom (our knobs have the same white laquer-but it is hidden out of view anyway) and now it is a magazine rack, holds hot curling irons, flat irons etc. So I cannot build !!! But watching you and your family at work makes me want to at least “TRY”.
    Thanks Karen and Karen’s sister…and other people

  30. Stephanie says:

    Geez the females in your family have great hair! Super jealous. Every one of you has the healthy smooth hair of a sixteen year old.

  31. Dana says:

    I bow down before her greatness.

  32. gabrielle duval says:

    From your description of her abilities, I was thinking that just maybe P.T.Belt should be writing this blog.

    Now that I’ve seen what she accomplished, I’m thinking I am not be worthy to read it!

    What did your mom sprinkle on your cornflakes before school, anyway??

  33. MissChris from South Africa says:

    Wow – what a talented family you are – and beautiful to boot!!!

    I love love love that Chandeleir – I really want to try and make one too!!

  34. Cynthia Jones says:

    Yep, hideous like Bridget Bardot , both of you.

    Please don’t tell me she did the work while wearing that pure white crochet slip of a dress, with not a mark on it.

    Did I ever ask you if you knew of Rust Paint? I love rust paint. I have a photo of my door I did with it. I will email it to you, though I think I already did. Never mind.

    Tell Pink Tool Belt she will love it. I am steampunking my electric hot water system as we speak and will be painting it with rust paint. It makes anything look like it is made of old rusty iron.

    Check your Memails for the photo of my door.

    PS On clucky hens, I read to throw fragrant herbs (and probably some DE) under clucky chooks to deter mites. I say this cos you weren’t wearing gloves and you know I am paranoid about mites.

    I guess I should go take some photos of the stages of steampunking the hot water system now.

    • IRS says:

      I trust that you mean Ms Bardot at the height of her fame, when she was truly beautiful. For decades now, BB has reaped the rewards of baking in the sun; she now looks like well-worn luggage. But PTB, by contrast, looks like she has slathered on SPF 1000 every time she went out. Or maybe it’s just Betty’s good genes.

  35. Laura says:

    Show us that jig-bending-copper-tubing part!! Pretty please?

    • Denise Leavens says:

      So glad you asked, Laura! I had the same question and then thought I should go an Google it myself. Only problem is, I am abnormally (for me) easily distracted of late. I know from recent experience that I’ll look it up and it will lead on a interwebs journey that may lead into next week!

  36. IRS says:

    Nicely done! When I saw the first picture of it, before the paint job, I thought it looked well put together, but, I’ll be honest, pretty crappy. But with paint, the transformation was amazing. I am assuming she spray painted it. Since the materials used range from metal to wood to plastic, and maybe some used chewing gum and cat hair for all we know, what primer and paint did she use? I know that Rustoleum makes a spray paint that is supposed to be good for every surface including plastic (and it’s the plastic that most spray paints won’t stick to), so I am thinking that perhaps she used that. Like Becky above, I am also curious as to how the chandelier is weather proof. There is no solid roof above it, so I would be really worried about that. I know that all sorts of paintable sealants are available, but still………Nobody needs a zap of electricity up the ass when they’re just trying to enjoy some nice barbecued roadkill. And another thing, does PTB intend to let this chandelier hang outside permanently, or disconnect and take it in every winter? Our Canadian winters are pretty harsh even on powder coated enamel objects that were made for the outdoors, let alone on spray paint. Maybe it’s just me, but if I’m going to haul my ass off the couch to spend hours and hours making something like this, I want it to last longer than I will. I would certainly consider making my own light fixture, but probably only for indoor use.

  37. Elaine says:

    Wow!!! Just like you, Karen, my mouth also dropped wide open …. very wide!!

    I just keep scrolling back and staring at it! What an amazing project; you two sure were born with a lot of talent. I look forward to your humorous (educational too!) posts and check my Inbox before going to bed every night. Thanks for the laughter!

  38. Teresa J says:

    Pink Tool Belt is awesome!! I love her yard too. You both are fantabulous!!!! And how is Fish Pedicure doing? We know Betty just had a wonderful birthday and your yoga niece just had a great garden put in by her very special aunt. Wanna keep up with all the news!!!! LOL

  39. Becky says:

    What keeps rain from getting in between the bulb and the electrical parts? Will there be a tutorial on how to do this?

  40. Kathleen says:

    That is really lovely.

    And you are right, she is hideous! ;) Just like you. Must run in the family!

    Have a wonderful week, Karen.

  41. Ishrath says:

    Luckily I waited before going on bended knee to ask you to marry me… I think I’m in love with Pink Toll Belt instead.

  42. Paula says:

    Looks great, both her and the chandelier! I bought mine from a junk place and it is solid brass and I paid $40 :)

  43. Gillian says:

    My goodness, that’s incredible!!! …also the type of stuff I’m always wanting to try but, never do.

    Except, I did make my own loft bed. It was great! I say great because I moved and didn’t need it right away so my Dad started using it as scrap. My beautiful, hours spent sanding, custom made purple wood stain, designed by me, Adult Bunk Bed.

    Anyhow, I SHOULD start a blog! LoL.

    I ? your posts.

  44. Julia (mumo3kids) says:

    Now go on over and take a picture of it in the actual dark!!

  45. Marion says:

    this is so amazing and beautiful – pleeeeeease explain how she did the paint! did she also do the pergola herself ( with help) ?

  46. Edith says:

    Wow….you guys definitely are related and have the DIY extraordinary gene!

  47. ronda says:


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