Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Pinterest Challenge: Capiz-ed Out

Thank you Katie (Bower Power) and Sherry (Young House Love) for motivating me to finally chronicle my experience with faux capiz.  And yes, I do mean chronicle because this is not just a short story, it's a chronicle.

The Pinterest Challenge is simply an idea created by the ladies above to motivate Pinteresters to actually "do" the things they "pin."  For example, last winter I did a few projects with ornaments, I started making monogrammed onesies,  I helped update my mom's Georgia house with fabric art, and this summer I painted a duvet.

For a long time now, I've been wanting to try my hand at DIY-ing a Capiz style light fixture.  Like this one (the real deal) from West Elm, which runs about $130....a little out of my price point.
I've seen a ton of DIY tutorials via Pinterest or other DIY blogs, like this one from Classy Clutter:
I mean, seriously, can you tell the difference that the top one is real shells and the bottom one is made from wax paper and costs under $10???  I think I'll try the latter!  I got so ambitious I bought the wax paper and circle cutter and then I think "-capiz light" stayed on my to-do list for 6+ months, so forgive me if I forget some of the early details...I started this back in May.

So, here's what you need:

Wax Paper (3-4 rolls) and Parchment Paper (1 roll)
A circle puncher
And an iron and board

The first thing you need to do is iron a few layers of wax paper together.  I chose to do make mine 3 layers.  You'll need the parchment paper to protect the iron and ironing board from the wax.  So, it's basically a wax paper sandwich with parchment paper on both ends (like the bread).
I used 3 entire rolls of wax paper, making each 3-layered sheet the length of the ironing board for ease of ironing.
Then, I waited for a nice day and a hopefully long afternoon nap and set up camp on our patio (which clearly needed weeding (just another thing to add to the to-do list!).
...and I started punching circles....
I ended up making two piles, one that had perfect circles and another that had less-than-perfect circles.  In the end I used both, the not so perfect ones actually helped make the capiz look more real.

I also found that folding over the wax paper into strips to get more punching done at once was a little harder to punch but was no more or less reliable in making perfect circles.

Many of the circles got stuck on one side of the circle cutter, leaving a snaggled edge.  I don't know if that side of the cutter just wasn't sharp enough or what...but, like I said, I used them anyway.  After a few hours of punching and a few hand cramps later, I had a zip-lock baggie full of a million fake capiz shells.

Pause for a month or two and then I resumed my project.  I don't know why this project took so long...usually I'm a do-er and a finisher, I do not like leaving things half-done.  Anyway, I broke out the old sewing machine and just started sewing the capiz shells together.  I just sewed them into big long strips of millions of circles.

The sewing actually didn't take that long, it was tedious and mindless, but very easy to just feed circle after circle into the machine.

When I was done, I cut them into strips of 8 circles each.
Now, I had a pile of a million circle strips.

Fast forward a few days when I resumed by using this old bread basket I found at thrift store for $1.

 I just hot glued strips of circles all over this bad boy.

I started at the bottom and moved toward the top, going around and around in circles.
And I just used a tiny dab of hot glue on each strip since I didn't want to make the fixture a ton heavier.

From what I could tell, it turned out awesomely (is that a word?  it is now!).
It looked just like the pictures!

And then came time to hang....
Remember how every project (well, almost every project) has a can of worms hidden somewhere???

Hanging it was the can of worms.

In fact, this is how my newly created capiz sat for a few months after I had given up trying to hang it.

In case you care about the details of hanging it....here is what I started with....
...once I removed the old light fixture, which was by the way an original to the house (a la 1950).

I used the existing screw thinking if I somehow attached the bread basket to the screw I could just screw it back in to the old fixture.  That way I wouldn't have to mess with the electrical by getting a new base.

So I got out my handy dandy fishing wire and zig-zagged it all around until the bread basket was secure and centered on the screw.

When I went to hang it, I wanted to make sure it was low enough that the wax and hot glue wouldn't be too close to the bulbs and in doing so, the bulbs would all be exposed.  This was not what I had in mind....

The overall effect was great, but unfinished....booo.

Back to the drawing board.  I decided to get out the old and trusty 1950's light fixture.  Since that seemed to cover the bulbs so well before, maybe I could re-use it.

Here's a look at the outside...vintage, but not really my style, so I definitely wouldn't be out anything if I ruined it in trying to make it a capiz fixture.
So I went ahead removed all of the strips from the bread basket, re-glued them to the 50's style light shield, and the result.....

....an awesome capiz light!
I actually like how using the old fixture as a base made the light even wider...since we put it in our living room, which is a fairly open space, I think the big-ness of it fits well.

Here it is up close and lit-up....

And here it is in the day light.  As you can see, no bulbs exposed...yay!

And here she is all lit-up again....
I find myself staring at it, or even walking through the living room and turning it on just to remember how much I love it!  A few strips have fallen down and I was worried at first that the hot glue was melting and eventually they'd all fall off...but it's been up a few weeks now and no more stragglers have lost their way.

Quick side note, I wasn't home to witness this, but apparently a few days after it went up, our beloved four legged friend, Cooper, finally noticed it and got very scared of it.  Nate said he all of the sudden looked up at it and had a barking fit until Nate could calm him down and convince him it was just a light.  I'm guessing that before the calming, there was probably a little bit of egging him on:).

All in all, it was a successful project, and I'm so glad it's done.  It would not have been half as hard to use an old lamp shade or a fixture that would obviously fit back up.  It's not a project I'll be tackling again anytime soon, nor do I see it becoming a hobby of mine to sell on Etsy, but it is definitely a project anyone can tackle, as long as you have the time:).


  1. That turned out really pretty. Slow project, but worth it! I has the same kind of experience working on and off for a few months on a tedious project.

  2. I made one of these awhile back, too, and I'm right there with you; so tedious! I used cup hooks to hang mine from the ceiling, but I like your solution, too. You can peep at it here if you want:


  3. This turned out so great!! I'm so inspired to make one of these to hang in my pantry :)