Nature's Chandelier

(Photo compliments of this site)

Remember the first time you walked into a ballroom and saw the huge, glittering chandeliers? Weren't they splendid? Weren't you splendid sharing a room with them?

Well, for an event at Overlake Christian Church I wanted to turn a quite-sterile space into a room ready for music, for dancing, for gaiety. Unfortunately, a church budget would barely let us buy a used lamp from Ikea, so improvisation was required - but what fun!

To make my chandeliers I was inspired by the strong form of the still-bare branches all over Seattle. Why could they not form the base for the lighting? I called around and eventually found a tree trimming company out in Woodinville that had excess branches, so The Non-
Scotsman and I tramped down there one morning to fill his pickup. Little did we know that the trees would be piled WHOLE and that they would be piled on two-three feet of gooey mud! The Non-Scotsman, while carrying a whole birch truck, tripped and fell face-first into the thick brown slop - I haven't laughed that hard in weeks!

FSA (Floral Supply Syndicate) would be a good alternative to purchase branches, should your budget allow - manzanita are best.
The Northwest Wholesale Florist was kind enough to order me more than 500 glass crystals to my liking, and I had the makings for my chandeliers.

During this process, I found so many gorgeous things you can do with branches:

A clothes rack:

A minimalistic chandelier:

A bedframe:

However, we hung them in the attic of the church and proceeded to fill them with crystals.
(Our hard-won, free branches)

Then, I stole an idea from Anthropologie where you take sheets and tie them into long organic and vibrant columns.

Anthropologie doesn't tell you how many unpaid interns it takes to make one. Hours, upon hours, upon hours, of tearing and tying sheets in my condo. Also, it is harder to find good sheet colors at thriftstores than one would imagine.

(Sheets in piles)

(Sheets hanging from my window)

(Sheets in more piles)

(And still hanging)

But once you get enough of them they really are quite magical!

(Hanging on a glorious day outside!)

I'm ashamed I have no pictures of the final outcome at Overlake- but hopefully I'll get some soon.

I think what I keep learning is that "tight budgets lead to creative bursts, long hours, and satisfied sighs."


  1. I think you did a wonderful job! I love the sheets and how you used them. That had to be a hard task but it turned out lovely! I hope you do get pictures of the final project.

  2. I love you Rachel!

  3. wow the sheet project is awesome! how do you attach the individual pieces to the rope?

  4. Wow! I hope you do share pics, because what you have shared looks great and the rest sound good too.

  5. WOW! AMAZING Rach!! Inspiring as well! I need some creative time....

  6. of COURSE you would see something at anthropologie and try to replicate it... and succeed. the rest of us sane/normal people would see, revel and forget. that's what makes you special rach!

    p.s. we REALLY need to see each other already. this is silly.

  7. Jen - to attach the torn sheets you literally just tie them on, like you're tying a simple knot. Depending on how long the strip of fabric is, you might tie it more than once onto the rope. The ideal way to do this would be to dye your own fabric to the perfect colors.

  8. thank you! I have to try this :) It looks daunting but i'll be enlisting some help.. I hope you had some help too!

  9. ... and they were breathtaking friend.