Please come on into the foyer, it’s so good to see you! You may notice last time you were here you bumped your head on the chandelier in the entryway. I recently took it down and replaced it with a beautiful flush-mount light from Joss and Main, scroll down for reveal. And I did not toss or donate the old light, but DIY’d it into a a silverware chandelier!
Old Chandelier Before
Even though we received a lot of compliments on the old chandelier, it gave off an amber glow and the glass pieces were brown. Altogether the combination made the entryway dark, so I decided it needed to be revamped! It was also a constant reminder of how old the house is and not in a good way! 🙂
As I inspected this light, I realized I could take the glass pieces off and replace them with something else. Silverware chandeliers have always been on my mind, so I thought this is my chance to incorporate one into our home! I decided to take down the fan in the kitchen and replace it with the DIYed silverware chandelier from the entryway. Then we bought a new light for the entryway.
What I did first was look for plated silverware with a vintage look. Fortunately the weekend I started this project was also the weekend of community garage sales around our neighborhood so I was able to get a bundle for $20! I took them home and began cleaning them up.
How to clean tarnished Silver…
The lady whom I bought the silverware from gave me a tip on how to clean real silver in an easy way. All you do is boil water in an aluminum pan with baking soda. I put about 1/2 cup in per liter of hot water. You may also add 1/2 cup salt and use aluminum foil if all your pans are stainless steel. Then I placed the silverware in a few at a time and let the chemical reaction clean them up for 20 minutes. You do need to keep an eye on the pan as it can overflow because of the foam it creates. Then I rinsed and polished them with Goddard’s Silver Polish just to make sure I got them really clean and pretty.
How to drill through silverware…
Once they were squeaky clean I drilled a hole into the ends of each one with a metal bit and a 20v drill. I first hammered another bit with a pointy end a few times to create a little dimple. That way the drill didn’t slip. It’s best to work on a piece of wood as the drill will run straight through into whatever is on the other side. I found an old drawer divider which helped hold the pieces in place.
The thing with DIY’s is you not only want to repurpose or upcycle an item but you also want the new version to be more functional than it was before. Even though a silverware chandelier is really cute, I’m a busy person and don’t have time to re-shine the silverware every time it tarnishes. I began to think this DIY wasn’t going to do me any favors if it required constant upkeep. So I decided to look up how to keep silver from tarnishing. What came up were other protective polishes but I wanted something more than that. I also looked up how to paint silver and I found sort of funny results. Basically other people had asked in forums if they could paint silver. The responses were, don’t paint it, sell it. But I think the people asking were crafters who wanted to repurpose silver for wind chimes, chandeliers, knobs, etc. So on behalf of other crafters out there, I chose to try it myself and let you all know how it went. My process below is for silver that is not intended to ever be used for food or drinks again. I do not recommend painting or using any harsh chemicals on silver that is to be used for eating or drinking. This is purely for crafting and creating.
How to paint silver for crafting to keep it from tarnishing…
I suggest using Rust-oleum Crystal Clear Enamel in Glossy. I first tried Valspar in clear satin, but the satin resulted in the silverware looking more like pewter once it dried. I was unhappy with this result, so I scratched off the satin and painted again with Rust-oleum, which is made more for metal anyway.
This is what Satin looks like. The spoon on the left is painted and the right is not.
This is what I ultimately used. It dried in 15 minutes.
As you can see, it didn’t alter the metal at all. Just clear and pretty.
Next, I painted the main piece silver.
TIP: When painting a light fixture, remember to cover the electrical parts with tape.
Then I just hung each piece of silverware back onto the main frame. It really was quite simple and fun to do!
UPDATE: I added a few strands of capiz shells! I thought the chandelier needed just a little something else, so I took a wind chime apart and added a little beachness to the fixture. What do you think now?! Most recent photo at the bottom.
Thanks for liking my newest feature in the kitchen! Once the kitchen gets an overhaul, I’ll show what it looks like from afar. But it’s really romantic and gives an adorable feel to the kitchen. Baby steps!