Sunday, January 27, 2013

Milk Jug Dollhouse Capiz Shell Chandelier Tutorial

Finished and ready to hang

It took enough time, but the capiz shell chandelier is complete and just awaits electrification.  It got easier to line up and iron the disks with practice, but it was still tedious.  It turns out that to melt milk bottle plastic, you need the iron on maximum heat, which is a different setting than for orange juice top rings.  Which is different again than needed to melt the plastic that makes up notebook dividers.  I know because I have tried to iron them all. 
Begin by hole punching a milk gallon jug more times than your grip will allow, and then many more times.
Line up the circles.  Try to limit the number
you are trying to fuse at once.
Line up the disks - it helps to work on a dark surface since they're small and nearly invisible - and cover with parchment paper.  The fewer disks you are working with at a time the better.  I found that three was about the maximum that I could do quickly.  Any more would shift too much to maintain a modicum of reason.

Next, plop the iron down from the
top.  Don't approach from the side
as you would normally iron, because
it could shift the disks.
Put the hot iron on the parchment from above.  It helps to use the edge of the parchment rather than the center, because the circles will move at the lightest grazing.

You will know when the
circles are fused because
 the paper will become
more transparent when
 they are melted
When the circles turn transparent, that means that they have melted.  If the disks have stayed lined up, they should be fused.  Let them cool before you attempt to remove them from the paper.
Repeat, repeat, repeat.
If you'd like longer "strands",
 put groups of three
slightly overlapped, and iron
 where the two groups meet

When you have enough groups of three, line up and iron these smaller groups to create longer chains.
String your strands to a frame, or create a frame
out of strips of milk jug.

I pierced my frames with a hot pin, then made
a frame from wire.  I will electrify it next.
You could string these to a wire frame, or, for a more static fixture, you can cut out a length of milk container and fuse the strands to that.  You can even electrify your chandelier, as I plan to do.  How you arrange you circle strands is up to you.  You could even do a full-sized version using hot cookie cutters instead of a hole punch.
 I think that milk jugs are quickly becoming my favorite medium!  Transluscent, malleable, and free.  How much better could it get?


  1. That is just a brilliant. It turned out so well!

  2. that is totally amazing and looks great! creative genius if you ask me!

    oh... my partner has instructed me (and it worked) that turning a punch upside down on a hard surface and pushing with your palm is actually easier than the 'usual' way. If you haven't tried it that is what I used when I was trying to punch out flowers.

    1. Oh, thank you for that tip. Next time!

  3. Truly brilliant! It really looks like the real thing. Great idea and execution.

  4. What a gorgeous mini chandelier! I'm really glad I found your blog! xo Jennifer

  5. Thanks for the turorial. I love this!

  6. Very cute! It looks like the real deal! I might give this a try!



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