When I was in college, I did a light study using acrylic sheets, The experience stuck with me and I've been wanting to create something with those same pieces of acrylic ever since. That study has been on my mind the past few months and the holidays seemed like the perfect time to fabricate!
Given the medium, a flower shape made the most sense to me. I had a whole plan that involved an old wooden map, paper mache and hydro dipping. After playing around with the acrylic sheets for a couple hours making petals, I decided the flower art wasn’t exactly the right choice. However, I wanted to create something with the petals I had already made, so after consulting a friend, I decided a pendant light would be perfect...
I just love how it turned out!
I'll show you how I created this beautiful, elegant pendant light, that is now getting shipped to my friend that gave me the idea to turn it into a light fixture - just in time for her birthday/Christmas!
YAY!! Lets get started...
1. Make Petals
I used the Acrylic/Plexiglass sheets that I had (11" x 14" x 0.03 ) left over from my college project (these Acrylic sheets on Amazon are the same dimension) and started making petals.
The technique I found that worked best to make them look natural and organic was to start by heating up the corners with a heat gun, and then (quickly) take a pair of scissors and round all four corners. After the corners were rounded, I started to apply heat to the straight edges of the sheets, staying about 2-3 inches away so the plastic buckled but didn't burn. I did this all the way around the edges and then let the sheet cool until it was hard - about 30 seconds.
Next, using a glove (I found that one was easier to work with) on the hand holding one corner of the acrylic sheet, I applied heat until the sheet buckled almost in half. From here, I turned the heat gun on and off, molding the sheet into a petal shape that resembled the natural bend of nature. Be patient during this part, the sheet needs to cool while shaping so take your time to get the curves just right without burning your fingers.
Heat the corners until they can be cut with scissors, then heat all four edges till they buckle. Grab a corner and heat the sheet until it buckles, and then adjust until you're happy with the shape.
I used three full sheets, two half sheets and then played with the size and shapes after that. For the bottom of the light fixture I had about 7-8 petals.
2. Paint & Hydro Dip
Hydro dipping is the slickest way to get a cool design with whatever colors you want. If you haven't tried it before, practice on a few scrap pieces first until you get the hang of it. Check out Hydo Dipping on YouTube. THERE'S A TON of videos, so watch a couple and then test it out!
I decided for the pendant I'd make a few pieces a solid color and a couple 50/50, 30/70, dip and solid. I made one or two totally dipped and also left a couple clear. I used two colors, gold and antique silver, for this project and was very happy with the end result.
Hydro Dipping Process. Fill a bucket that you don't mind getting paint on and is big enough to dip the entire petal in. Spray paint into the bucket (alternating colors), grab petal and dip into the water, then remove. Use a stick to gather the left over paint off the surface after each dip.
3. Attaching Petals
After the paint was dry, I brought the petals inside and arranged them so the bigger pieces were clumped at the top and the smaller pieces spaced out at the bottom to make it look like petals were falling. I marked where I wanted the holes for the clear lacing to be, and then stacked the petals one on top of the other to keep the order.
I started with about 4 feet of Rexlace Clear Crafters Lacing and then used decorative push pins to keep the pieces in place. To thread the pieces together, I heated my mark on each petal and then used the push pin and a razor blade to create the hole to push the Rexlace through. Definitely use gloves - this job will burn your finger tips OFF! Let the hole harden before lacing , the Rexlace is plastic and will melt if it gets too hot. I threaded the pieces and used the push pin as a sort of clamp to keep each petal where I wanted it on my Rexlace piece.
Heat area where the string will go through the petal. using gloves to push the pin through. Usie the tip of a razor blade to make the hole big enough for the Rexlace to go through. Once cool, push the Rexlace through the hole and use a push pin to hold the piece in place.
I took a small pair of needle nose pliers and wire cutters to bend the metal part of the push pin, making it a hook. I wrapped the Rexlace around it a couple times and then used a touch of super glue to secure it. I didn't do this with every piece, some pieces are just laying on each other, if I wanted a gap in between petals, I used the push pins.
Bottom of pendant complete.
This is what I ended up with. I attached it to my ceiling light to see what a light source would do to it - VERY PRETTY!!
4. Base & Light source
This part took me a minute to figure out. I initially thought I'd need a base for the light but I decided to integrate it into the petals and it worked out like it was meant to be from the beginning.
I used a full acrylic sheet and a metal strainer to help mold the petal, using the heat gun to create a flat circular place for my lights. I bought this multi light, from Amazon, unscrewed the mounting plate from each piece and then actually broke off the adjustable arm with a pair of pliers. This left me with just the light.
I eye-balled the placement of the light sources. I marked around the light with a marker, heated up each mark individually and used a razor blade to cut an "X" into the circle while hot. Once it cooled and hardened I checked to make sure each light source fit properly before cutting off the excess material. I placed each light source in and then super glued them.
To give the lights a more finished look, I went around them with some painters caulk, smoothed it out and waited for this to dry.
Secure light source with super glue and painter caulk.
While the super glue was drying, I created a few more petals to go on top of the one holding the light source to make the light more integrated ,hide the light bulbs better and give the fixture more of a glow. I made three more petals, molding them to droop a bit so they covered more of the light. I did not dip these last pieces, just painted the petal that held the lights, silver and frosted the edges in gold. The other two petals I painted gold.
Once dry, I carefully punctured a hole in the middle of the petal holding the lights with my razor blade, and threaded the Rexlace piece from the previously assembled petals to the light source petal. I did not apply heat to this hole because I didn't want to mess with the petal in any way that would reshape it. I used a double hook that was laying around in my garage but you can use just about anything to secure the petals to the light source petal. I used the light source wires to thread the last petal pieces onto the fixture and let them drape the fixture.
Make hole to attach petal cluster to the light source. Add the remaining petals onto the cords of the light source.
And there you have it. ALL DONE! Now to ship it off to its new home, where I know it will be loved and cherished!
If you make your own petal pendant light, I'd love to see it! Tag us on Instagram @reddesignedinteriors and #reddesignedtutorials.