How to change the candle covers on your chandelier, and give it a new look for almost free!
Our home, when we first moved in (in 2005), was the picture of vintage 1971 style, and not in a cool, retro way.
The sweet lady who lived here for the entire 34 years of the house’s life had never changed out one thing, since it was all perfectly to her taste. The brown double-ovens with the orange decals on the front, the yellow epoxy/shell countertops, the red shag carpet, the medieval-looking wooden light fixtures, even the swingin’ wet bar in the living room.
Sadly, it was not quite to our taste so it all had to go, little by little, as we claimed the house for ourselves.
Except for one thing. I loved the little chandelier that hung in the breakfast nook. It was classic, black, and best of all, free. So we kept it and moved it into the dining room.
The only problem was the candle covers were literally falling apart. Over time, they had yellowed and turned brittle, and the edges were now chipping off. I looked high and low for the right size candle covers, but couldn’t find anything that fit the bill.
Finally I realized that with a few scrapbooking supplies and my ever-faithful bottle of Mod-Podge, I could make my own. It was such a handy project I thought I’d teach you how in case you need some fancy (or just unbroken) candle covers for yourself.
These candle covers are quick and easy, except for requiring a bit of fine-motor skills and dexterity. If you’re a scrapbooker, you may already have all the supplies you need.
To make your own candle covers, you’ll need:
- Mod Podge
- A paint brush
- A paper cutter, or a good pair of scissors and a straight edge
- A sheet of scrapbook paper that matches your decor (I bought two sheets since I don’t have a great track record of getting things right the first time)
DIY Candle Covers Step by Step Instructions:
- Remove the light bulb from each branch of the chandelier.
- Pull the existing candle cover up and over the light bulb socket.
- Lay the candle cover on the paper to measure the height (or you could get all scientific about it and measure it with a ruler).
- Cut a strip of the paper the same height as the candle cover. Be sure to turn your paper the right direction before cutting, so that any writing or patterns will be right-side-up when you stand the candle cover up.
- Roll the strip around the cover to measure the length of the paper. (Or if you prefer the science-y approach, measure the circumference of the candle cover and add about an inch.)
- Cut the paper. It really doesn’t take much for these little guys!
- Check to be sure you measured correctly.
- Roll the paper around the candle holder and paint a strip of mod podge about an inch wide along the leading edge of the paper.Then glue the paper to itself like an old fashioned hand-rolled cigarette, making sure the ends line up evenly. (I wouldn’t know anything about this from experience!) This is a little tricky, but important to the finished look of the project. Repeat, if you missed it the first time around.
- Paint an even layer of Mod Podge all over the outside of the new candle cover to seal it.
- Once they are dry, slip the new candle covers over the sockets, replace the bulbs, then stand back to admire your new creation.
It’s a little detail, but you know what they say about details. In design, I find that it really comes down to little details like these to make a house look “finished” and put together.
Here are a few tips before you get started.
First, pick a paper that has a small pattern, or maybe just a texture effect on it. There’s not enough real estate on the candle covers to support a busy print.
Second, I left the old candle covers inside my new ones, just to add some structural support, but that’s not really necessary.
Finally, make sure the new candle covers don’t actually touch your light bulbs. I don’t know how fire proof they are, and I don’t want you to be the one to find out the hard way!
As always, I’d love to hear from you if you try this project for yourself. And let me know if you run into any questions along the way. I’m happy to help!
Saturday 31st of August 2019
Love it❤️ and your adding a better light to my dinning area. When you took off the candle cover did you have shut off the electricity or just had the chandelier off. Ty and I look forward to your reply
Tuesday 10th of September 2019
Thanks Barb! No I didn't have to shut off the electricity, just unscrew the light bulbs and gently side the sleeve up and off.
Monday 8th of February 2016
I absolutely love the finished look of the covers, and the paper you used is perfect! I'm wondering if you have a link to show how this chandelier was used in a room? Thanks! From Nova Scotia, Canada ☺
Monday 15th of February 2016
Thank you Lisa, that's a great question! I looked through all my archives and couldn't find a good picture. (Blogger fail!) So I took a couple and shared them on Instagram. You can see them here: https://www.instagram.com/thepalettemuse/ and I'll try to update this post soon as well, in case you're not on IG.
Saturday 15th of August 2015
I've just done this with an embossed white chevron paper. It looks fabulous on a white chandelier. Thank you so much for this idea
Friday 21st of August 2015
That sounds gorgeous! I'm so glad to have helped. Thanks for leaving me a comment!
Thursday 7th of May 2015
Thanks so much for this! I've been looking for a way to replace the broken sleeves in a thrift-shop treasure! I might add some glue gun wax drips down the sides when I upcycle mine! Thanks again!
Thursday 7th of May 2015
Here's my update. I linked back to your blog! Thanks for the inspiration!!!
Friday 3rd of October 2014
Very cool idea and I love the results! Exactly what I need to do with mine...they aren't breaking but instead are brownish near the bulb from the heat. Which makes me wonder if putting paper on them might be a fire hazard. Thoughts?
Saturday 4th of October 2014
Thanks! Glad you liked them. Yes, I'm a tiny bit concerned about a fire hazard for you. Mod Podge isn't especially flammable, but having paper that close to a bulb that gets so hot may not be the best thing. You could try making the cover a little shorter, so it's not as close to the bulb, or even switching out bulbs to a lower wattage. Mine are usually only turned on when we're in the room, so I don't worry so much, but I don't want to talk you into a fire hazard! :)