Tuesday, August 24, 2010

How To Make Beer Bottle Chandeliers

Hello, loves! Please welcome my HUSBAND Mike to the blog today as he outlines how to make beer bottle chandeliers. Take it away, my love!

How to make beer bottle chandeliers without spending a bajillion dollars.  

You will need:
  • Beer Bottles, 14 to 20 per chandelier. You are going to ditch the labels but the color of the glass is important if you care about the color of the glass.
Beer is proof that god loves us and wants us to be happy-- Benjamin Franklin. 
  • Stucco wire corner pieces, one makes 3 to 4 chandeliers. They are available at home depot like places and come in 8 and 10 foot lengths.
This stucco siding forms the structure of the chandeliers.
  • Tape, a lot of it. The color is again important here. Black duct tape works great, but whatever you want works.
  • Christmas lights, one strand per chandelier.
  • Wire or heavy twine to hang the chandelier with.
  • Tools: heavy gloves, wire cutters, scissors.
First. Goto home depot and buy the wire stucco cornering. This is heavy wire,braided and reinforced to hold up the corner of a stucco wall. We use this because the beer bottles are going to fit into those holes, see! They come in 8 and 10 foot lengths. It's by the chicken wire and lumber but you don't want chicken wire because it's flimsy and it won't hold its shape with the bottles inserted. If you don't have real wire cutters this is going to be a bitch to cut so buy some they're not expensive. Flatten the corner pieces by putting them on the ground outside of home depot and jumping up and down on them repeatedly while yelling in an incoherent rage. Now nobody will mess with you. Cut the now flattened strips in thirds(big chandeliers) or fourths (smaller chandeliers).

Flattened, cut stucco cornering is in the wheelbarrow.
Second: Get drunk. Get drunk on interesting beer so the bottles are cool looking. I drank a lot of Sierra Nevada so I had a lot of brown bottles, which worked great, but green looked fantastic, and even clear bottles would work well. Or mix and match. You get the idea... B picks out my clothes, so mix and match is about as deeply as I can articulate the color schemes you might come up with.

Third. Remove beer bottle labels and glue. Soak the bottles in very warm but not boiling water for about 15 minutes. Too hot water can make the glue tough to remove, and each type of label has it's own glue and ideal temperature and time so experiment (perhaps while doing step two.) I had a lot of beer bottles ( and wine bottles, stay tuned!) to de-label, so we filled a trash can with a hose and soaked everything in there, which worked fine. Saint Pauli girl beer is a good choice. The labels came off like wet bandaids, it comes in nice green bottles and is from Germany and has boobs.

Fourth. Use a round thing like a wine bottle as a mold to bend the wire into a circle. Attempt to line up the wire pattern where the wire overlaps. Use the tips of your wire cutters to bend the exposed ends of the wire around loops so that the wire is secured in a circle, and will not unravel. This is an excellent time to put on those heavy gloves.
I am finishing a "halo" of wire by bending loose edges around the loops. 
Fifth. Prepare the openings for your beer bottles. Use the wire cutters to make an opening for each beer bottle by snipping the straight, reinforcing wires. Don't make the opening too loose. The best fit for the bottles is when you jam them in there and they fit snugly. Hardcore Christians and other virgins look at this as practice for the honeymoon.
Beer bottles being fitted to the wire at the bottom of the frame. 
Sixth: String lights and secure them with tape. Start with the end of the Christmas lights you plug in and secure the plug with tape so it is accessible. Then, from the inside of the halo, put loops of lights with four lights each through each beer bottle hole, and secure each loop with tape (not against the wire!)
A chandelier with Christmas lights in place at the bottom of the frame.
Seventh, insert bottles. Lights go inside(duh). Secure each bottle around the neck where it exits the wire with a good amount of tape. The more tape, the less mobile the bottles. The more mobile the bottles, the more likely you'll dash out someone's brains at your wedding, so don't skimp here. Give the chandelier a good shake when you're done. If a bottle is moving position, give that fucker some more tape.
Sara is using a paintbrush to push lights into the bottles. 
Steve (right) is beginning to put bottles into the wired "halo". 
Eighth: Make a hangar with wire or string. Attach at 4 points. Alternatively you could put this at the top of a lamp stand without much difficulty but put some weight on the bottom because this thing is heavier than a lampshade. We strung ours together on some strong rope and hung them above the dance floor. We used additional Christmas light strings to bridge the gaps between the chandeliers.

Completed chandeliers roped and ready to take to the venue. 
Ninth: bathe in the adoration of your admirers. As we were unloading these after the wedding, some crazy lady asked if I was carrying an art piece. “Uhh...no. They were the lights at my wedding. Beer bottle chandeliers” “They’re beautiful, they should be in a gallery!” (Ok crazy lady)

The chandeliers lit up at night.


  1. "Hardcore Christians and other virgins look at this as practice for the honeymoon."
    Ha! Good one.
    Anyhow, beer-included, what's the price breakdown for one of these bad mothers? And would you recommend using non-beer bottles (such as other glass containers) to achieve the same effect?

  2. "Flatten the corner pieces by putting them on the ground outside of home depot and jumping up and down on them repeatedly while yelling in an incoherent rage. Now nobody will mess with you."


  3. A.S.H.

    The price for one chandelier is around 20 dollars. The stucco siding is about 8 dollars, some tape is 5, and the lights cost 6 at biglots. You get enough stucco siding for 3 to 4 chandeliers with each piece of stucco, so the per chandelier cost will go down the more you make. ( I made 10 for 100 bucks, including the rope to hang them above the venue) If you don't drink beer anyway, you can get ultracheap beer bottles at a local recycling place. Anything that's glass and has a hole to put the lights in would work just as well as beer bottles, but only if it's possible to secure it to the frame. Wine bottles are a little too heavy for this, I expect. You could probably make them work, though, just use fewer bottles and more lights in each.

  4. Michael - your friend in the hat looks disABLEd. Is that true?

  5. 1) CHOPSTICK, dude - not paintbrush.
    2) Disappointed that you failed to include the picture of yourself in midair, on the brink of annihilating a cardboard beer carton.
    3) I just unsealed the trash barrel that still contains leftover bottles (and water) yesterday. I'm pretty sure the odor can most accurately be described as that of "dead baby."

  6. Awesome I love this I will be making these for my wedding :D

  7. Even though I knew from the beginning that this wasn't quite what I was looking for, I couldn't stop reading it. Not only did you guys make me laugh out loud at my computer, but now I really want to make one of these!

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