How to Make a Thrifty Knock-off Outdoor Candle Chandelier

How to transform a thrift store brass chandelier from the 1990’s into a home decorating catalog worthy outdoor candle chandelier.

Over the weekend I started on a bit of Inside-Outside decorating on my deck so I can enjoy it more during the summer.  I love to be outside and am always on the lookout for outdoor decorating ideas.  I love looking at the pages of  home furnishing catalogs this time of year for inspiration.

I like to keep things simple, but make my outside space look inviting and comfortable. To get the look I am after and not spend too much, I bring my inside decorating accessories outside for a thrifty makeover. Everything I added to the deck can easily be brought back inside when not in use.

How to make an outdoor candle chandelier using a thrift store light. Step-by-step photo tutorial will show you how easy it is.
Outdoor Candle Chandelier Made Using a Thrift Store Light

My newest addition is a cheap fake brass chandelier that I picked up at my favorite thrift store. I transformed the chandelier to make it an outdoor candle chandelier and hung it from the pergola.

Outdoor deck set up for a party and showing a DIY hanging light.

The chandelier cost me $5.90 minus 25%; it was on sale.  The candles cost more than the chandelier. I bought them at Walmart for $2.88 each. They are real candles, but you could also use battery-operated candles. I am excited to sit out here in the evening now. The candles will add to the mood when we are eating alfresco or I am enjoying some quiet time on the swing with a good glass of wine.

Pink flowers on a patio table with an umbrella pole in the center.

Chandelier Before

Thrift store brass chandelier before getting transformed into a hanging rustic outdoor candle chandelier..

This is what it looked like right after I brought it home from the thrift store. I like the fact the candle bases are wide. When the existing electrical sockets are removed a pillar style candle will sit nicely on these bases.

How to Make an Outdoor Candle Chandelier Using a Thrift Store Light Fixture

supplies needed:

  • Hanging light and chain
  • Scissors and or wire cutters
  • 100 grit sandpaper
  • Spray paint and primer
  • Screw-in hook
  • Candles- These battery-operated ones are perfect and won’t go out when a breeze goes by.
Cut-electic-wires-from-candle holder
  1. Removed the candelabra covers and stash them safely away as they are in perfect condition and I can use them on other fixtures. I cut all the wires from the center of each candle socket and then removed the socket. They simply unscrewed.
Brass Chandelier sections taken apart to turn into an outdoor light.

2. It was easy to unscrew the top section from the bottom of the main body of the chandelier. I cut all the wires and pulled them through the chandelier to remove them, then screwed the chandelier back together again.

Chandelier taken apart to turn into an outdoor light.

3. This is the pile of electrical guts I removed.  See the price tag – $5.90 minus the 25% – I know I told you that already, but I love the fact that the thrift store discounts their already low prices. :-)

How to take a part a thrift store hanging light.

4. To keep the base of each arm on the chandelier intact, I needed new screw- nuts, but I ended up cutting each socket screw off with tin snips.  I needed that bottom nut to screw back on.

How to transform a thrift store chandelier to become outdoor lighting

5. If you don’t have tin snips – you will need to buy nuts that fit over the screws on each arm of the chandelier.  You can see the section that was cut off from the socket. I also thought I could cover the screws with a blob of hot glue to hold them in place if I could not find nuts to fit.

Candle-Base-on a thrift store brass chandelier

6. Screw the nut back on over the existing arm screw.  I had to slightly bend each base so it was level.

Transform this basic brass chandelier from the thrift store into on that looks like and expensive Pottery Barn outdoor candle chandelier.

7. Repeat the process on all the arms and it is ready for spray paint.

Pottery-Barn-Knock-off-Outdoor chandelier how to tutorial

8. Rub 100 grit sandpaper over the surface of the metal then clean well.

TIP: If new to using spray paint, check out these spray painting tips to ensure you get a perfectly smooth finish.

9. Spray on one light coat of Rustoluem metal primer on the brass and let it dry. You can skip this step if using a spray paint that is a paint and primer in one.

How to use thrift store finds to decorate your patio porch or deck.

10. Follow the timing on spray paint can label for re-coating times before spraying. Spray the fake brass chandelier with Rust-Oleum’s Universal Metallic Oil Rubbed Bronze Spray Paint. It is a primer and paint in one.

Outdoor decorating idea using thrift store finds

My new outdoor chandelier goes nicely with my outdoor furnishings and accessories.

Pottery-Barn-Knock-off-Outdoor candle chandelier

The throw is from my family room. When we are outside at night it can get a bit chilly, so this is nice to have. I made the pillows and no-sew cushion last summer.

My party baskets are in easy reach and at the ready.   Now all I wish for is a laptop with a screen that can be easily viewed outside. I would love to be able to work out here – that is the only thing that is stopping me.

How to make a Candle-Chandelier using an old brass 1990's chandelier found at the thrift store.

Have you decorated the outside of your home like the inside?  If you have I would love to see your photos as I would like to add them to my outdoor decorating ideas.


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  1. Hello Diane;
    Thank you for another great idea. My screened porch could use this great light fixture….however my ceiling height is about 12 feet and I am concerned about the wind effect at too high level. Did you try different levels of chain to come up with the right height that would work in your setup? Any ideas how low may be necessary to have the fixture be usable ? Maybe how high from the ground up to place the bottom of fixture? Thanks again for another great idea.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Kate – The length of chain can vary depending on the fixture. If you are placing it over a table, the bottom of the chandelier should be about 30″ – 36″ up from the table. If this makes the chain too long and it moves in the wind, I am not sure how to stop it from doing that. My chandelier was hung from my deck pergola over the table and didn’t require a long length of chain.

      If not being hung over a table, I would hang high enough so people won’t hit their heads. :-). This could be too high to light real candles or get to battery operated ones – unless you got remote controlled battery candles. I am not sure you can program a number of the candles to one remote, but you may be able to. You can see that this set only needs one remote:

      If these ideas don’t work, perhaps it can be hung in a corner where the wind doesn’t get to as much?

  2. This would also be nice with tuna cans and hurricane globes like you did with your tuna can candle holders on stakes. That way there wouldn’t be a problem with breezes. I can’t wait to get out and find a chandelier to rework like you did. Thanks for the wonderful idea.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Sue – That is an excellent idea to use the tuna cans and hurricanes on the outdoor chandelier I made. Thank you for sharing the idea. It would work very well.

  3. Sonja @ SustainMyCraftHabit says:

    Wow. What a huge transformation. The chandalier looks so fresh and modern now. Great upcycle!

  4. Making outdoor decor is SO much more fun and satisfying and unique than store-bought! Your chandelier is wonderful.

    I put a bowl-type candle holder into a decorative birdcage for my “chandelier”.

    I have a ’70s-style chain swag hanging light fixture where the socket points DOWN. Does anyone have any thoughts on how I can rig up a candle holder in this? I was thinking maybe wire and a tuna can, but I’m open to suggestions. Thanks in advance.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Anita – Your chandelier sounds very unique – love it…doing things in your own style. Wiring something to the socket sounds like the way to go so that the candle will be upright. It could be anything from a wire basket, mason jar, or as you thought a tuna can. You could make the wire holding up whatever you use in curli-cues so it becomes part of the design.

  5. Gigi Ables says:

    Just finished this project for my pool patio! I hung mine from a crabapple tree branch that shades the dining table. The metal dining table and chairs just got an update with paint too! I recieved the FREE chandy when my parents upgraded ! Cheap is GOOD, FREE IS BEST!

  6. this is such a great tutorial, i like DIY projects where its easy, fun and affordable to do and this definitely fits my criteria! really like your deck and pergola, was it built by yourself or you hired a contractor to do it?

    1. Thanks – I designed the deck on paper and then took the drawings to the Home Depot where they put it into their computer and a 3D design was produced. The print out also figured out all the material we would need. My husband built it. It is 17 years old. When we built it the Chippendale style railings were not available to buy, so I drew the design to size on a large piece of paper and my husband used it as a template to cut each piece of wood and fit each Chippendale section together. The Home Depot print out did not give us that part of the design. I posted a photo of it being built in this post.

      1. i never knew that home depot offers 3d rendering services, thats quite convenient. another tool thats good for 3d design is google sketchup if you’re interested to use in the future for other design renderings. How long was the whole process to built the deck and what type of wood did you use for your deck? For our own deck, it took about 2 years to built b/c its covering a pretty big area and we used composite wood for the side deck (which we love) and back yard deck we used pressure treated wood (which we regret b/c it gives you splinters).

        1. Building a nice deck definitely takes a long time but hey….in the end is all worth it right! and that’s the beauty of it! don’t know how you feel about posting link but i think this would be a great addition to your deck for cool summer nights ( we have one of these on our deck and we love it. Hope you’ll like it too! :)

  7. Great idea! Everything I have been looking at to purchase is too expensive and just not what I want. Your simple idea of making something with less that $20 is brilliant!

  8. AS another option, Wouldn’t this be great to incorporate with your tuna can hurricane lamps was well. Meaning use the tuna can and the glass cover instead of just the candle.

  9. Andrea Belrose says:

    Love your outcome. I am working on an outoodr candle chandelier that my mom gave me to hang over my outside table & chairs. I found a design inspiration from Ryan Gainey’s book “The Well Placed Weed” pg 140 where he attached a chandelier to a tree using a rope & pully system. The idea is that you haul the chandelier up when you entertain and release it down when the weather is bad. Mom says I need to rustoleum the chandelier. The hanging equipment and rope cost around $140.00 which I purchased from Home Depot. I purchased the pillar candles from Hobby Lobby for about $26.00 for seven candles. My mother says that I need to get a candle votive cover to cover the candles when I am using them so that the wind doesn’t blow them out. Does the flame on your candles blow out when you are using them outside? I’ve looked for covers on the internet but haven’t found any. I guess I could use LED pillar lights. Any thoughts? Thank you. P.S. Hobby Lobby also has some really pretty iron & stone tables to use outside at great prices!

    1. Hi Andrea-

      Wow what you are creating sounds really amazing. I wish I had a big tree in my yard, but I don’t. My candles blow out when it is very windy – like a storm is brewing. Where my deck is and the chandelier hangs is protected by my house and a line of tall pines. Most nights so far this summer have been humid and still. I have looked into the battery operated candles at WalMart and have heard great things about them. I may try one to see what the light looks like. They would be the perfect answer for you as they look exactly like candles and won’t blow out. Another option would be to add some sort of hurricane over each candle arm, but that takes away from the natural simplicity of the candles.

  10. Congratulations on making the top ten over at CSI!

  11. Nice! You definitely accomplished making the outdoor space inviting. Great job on the outdoor chandelier. What a deal!

    1. Thanks Amanda

      We get to live outside for only a few short months so I try to make the space as comfy and pretty as possible without spending too much. Now it is so hot during the day to go outside. I have to wait until the evening when it cools off. The candles do add the perfect ambiance.

  12. linda @ craftaholics anonymous says:

    Love that chandelier! What a great makeover! I’m stopping by as the guest judge from CSI Project!
    happy crafting,

  13. Hi! I love your outdoor space. Will definitely use the technique for the no sew cushion! I love the outdoor sideboard…can you give me any information on when you bought it at Walmart? Online or in store? I need one and it’s perfect!

    1. Hi Erin-

      I bought the sideboard a few years ago in the store. I do not think it was part of the Better Homes and Garden line. I wish I had the info on it, but I don’t. I looked on it to see if there were any kind of labels or manufacturer’s marking’s, but there isn’t. It comes apart really easily for winter storage and is super lightweight. I don’t think Walmart carries it anymore, but they may have something like it as they do seem to carry similar items year to year.

  14. Bookmarking this to remember! Love how you show exactly how to do it. This will be a summer project for sure!

  15. Diane, this is the best idea of the day. I am so thrilled how great this project came out. You are amazing.


  16. This is gorgeous and such a great idea. Love the entire deck and colors! :)


  17. This looks amazing!!! I might have to do this one day! Thanks for sharing!

  18. Rose Christopher says:

    Wow! I love it. I’ve got to look for a chandelier now so I can make one for myself! Thanks for sharing.

  19. This is so awesome. I love this idea and will be on the look out for an old chande for sure. Thanks for sharing with the party…have fun!

  20. Oh my goodness, I’d love to say that I paid any attention to your chandy but was totally distracted by the divine view you have from your pergola. You now have a new Australian follower xx Ava

  21. Perfect timing on this — I just bought a big chandelier at the ReStore and am planning to make it over! Thanks for the detailed pics on taking it all apart! Looks lovely on your patio!

  22. Jo @boogaloo says:

    I love this transformation! …off to my thrift store to find one!

    1. Hi Jo –
      Thanks – I am heading out to one today too. I hope you find some good stuff.

  23. I LOVE it! I can’t wait to go digging for one of my own to fix up!

  24. What a creative remake on the chandelier. Your outside living space is so inviting. A great place to gather, relax, visit.
    – Joy

    1. Thanks Joy-

      The weather has been so nice during the day here – I have been enjoying eating my lunch outside. Still trying to come up with a way to see my laptop screen out there too.

  25. Sandi Koele {Lucy Doo} says:

    Oh my goodness! I’m SO excited to have discovered your blog!! I absolutely LOVE the outdoor chandelier!! I’m going to keep my eyes open for one of those lovely “brass” ones at my local thrift store. Super!

    Keep the great ideas coming!

    1. Thanks Sandi-

      I am sure you will find one — there are a lot of them out there, but not as many with the wide base. Happy Hunting.

  26. says:

    Looks great! What time is dinner?

    1. Usually around 6ish. :) Thanks.

  27. great transformation!! if you like to “party” I hope you’ll stop by and join in on my blog party too!

  28. Diane, I LOVE this! Perfect for candles, and these are also so easy to find in Thrift stores and the Re-store. Thanks for stopping by today ;)

  29. abeachcottage says:

    Love your outdoors, it is so inviting :) Love what you did with the candle chandeliers too. Glad you added your link to Beach Cottage Good Life Wednesdays.

  30. Amelia @ Home Decors says:

    Nice idea Diane.

    Cheap but elegant chandeliers, lamp shades, coffee tables, and wind chimes are four of my DIY plans for this summer. I have many projects (for my living room and bedroom) to do this time around – now that I have more time for myself. My house and garden need some makeover. This type of DIY would be a great help for me.

    Thanks again! :)

  31. Simple Daisy says:

    Absolutely love it!!!! Great job and thanks for sharing:)

  32. Rita@martenssmily says:

    Wow, this candleholder looks amazing!!! Good Job!!!

  33. Heidi Woodruff says:

    Great post! I’ve made so many of these types of chandeliers! I’ve re-wired a bunch of them, so that I can plug them in outside (instead of them being wired in the house). I just use an extention cord, cutting and re-wiring it that way! I made 4 of them for our daughter’s wedding last fall….we had a huge tent on our property and a little barn to light up! It was wonderful! I’d love to make one with just candles, but we have too much wind here on the coast!

  34. love this idea. WE always have such a strong breeze here I am not sure I could keep the candles lit but am wondering if there is a way to maybe glue some glass shades on to protect the flame a little. I have the chandy in the basement- just need to get the details worked out!

    1. Hi Mary

      You could use the battery operated pillar candles. Walmart carries them in two sizes – short and tall. You would not have to worry about the breeze then.

  35. Ashlyn@Pinecone says:

    Your patio and pool are so pretty!
    Fab idea for chandelier outdoors!! The color looks great with all of your furnishings.
    Hope your week is going well!

  36. karen@strictlysimplestyle says:

    That’s perfect for an outdoor evening get together, very creative!

  37. I love this! Gorgeous outdoor space!

  38. LOVE you style! Quick question, do you bring in your candles in the day? I’ve had candles outside and they end up warping or melting entirely. Any tips or thots?

    1. Hi Samatha-

      Yes, I bring them in. It gets too hot during the day out there and they would just melt, plus if it rained they would get all wet. I keep a big wicker basket inside by the door. I use it to collect the pillows, throw, and candles. It is really easy to just place them back out when I go out and the basket looks pretty just sitting on the deck.

  39. Kelly @ View Along the Way says:

    I love your outdoor space. I want to be there, right now. :) Thanks for the tutorial on the chandy – I need to do something like this to hang above my tub since electrical chandeliers are a no-no.

    Found you from the A to Z linky party!

    1. Hi Kelly-

      What a great idea. I have a client who wants a chandy above her tub, but her husband won’t go for it because of the electrical hazard. I am going to show her this – it may be the answer. Thanks

  40. I just found your site and I must say I’m in love!!! Your style is fantastic. I can’t wait to spend more time here and check out your archived posts.

    1. Thanks Coleen – You have made my day :)

  41. Roses and Rust says:

    Very clever! Your outdoor area looks sooo inviting! Especially as it is midwinter here. Have a lovely week. x Sharon

    1. Hi Sharon-

      It is always so hard to imagine that the hemispheres are totally opposite of one another. Here in the north we are opening up our homes and serving Margaritas and in the south you are closing up and making hot soup. I hope to travel there someday.

  42. Oh that’s clever, you did a nice job fixing it up! Your back yard looks so beautiful!

    1. Thanks Candace-

      Thanks -I have been wanting one for a few years and finally found the inexpensive chandy that would work with the pillar candles.

  43. CrafterBerly says:

    This is insanely gorgeous. You have talent!

    1. Thanks. It was much easier than I imagined. It is one of those projects I wished I had done sooner.

  44. Wow! What a great idea! I love how it looks. I am going to try to remember this idea when I get get more serious about decorating a porch!

    1. Hi Rebekah-

      Do you have an inspiration file? So when it comes time to decorate each space in your home -you will have all your ideas at the ready. Have you tired Pinterest yet? That is my new place to put all the ideas I want to do someday or just dream about. It is addicting, but such an inspiring place to hang out online.

  45. LOVE it! Guess what is sitting on my porch…waiting for me to do this…an old chandy from the dump. This is the kick in the behind I needed to get moving on it! Looks great!

    1. Hi Holly-

      Thanks. Don’t you wish there were a few more hours in each day so we could get all things we want to do done? Some techy person needs to come up with an app that will add magical hours to our days with a press of a button. I would be the first in line to buy it.

  46. Stephanie@cre8tive says:

    I thought at first that you were showing an inspiration picture of how you want your back yard to look! It looks so beautiful! Magazine quality I’d say! So inviting and yet fun. Did you buy the battery operated candles?

    1. Hi Stephanie-

      No I didn’t, but I did look at them. They were a bit more costly so I went for the less expensive option. If it were really windy on my deck I probably would have splurged on them. I do like seeing the real flame on the candles – adds a warmer glow.

  47. The enchanted home says:

    WOW!! So beautiful and your backyard is gorgeous as well..what an elegant and inviting setting. I am so impressed, this was a great idea…stop by doing an awesome giveaway for a Kilim bench!

  48. Bella Michelle says:

    I love it! I have a couple of chandaliers upstairs in the attic (removed from various locations in the house) that I want to incorporate in my outside decor and this post just reaffirmed that! Your outdoor area is just lovely and so inviting.

  49. Hi Diane,
    What a fabulous idea!!! I love it and I would never have guessed what it had once been, just awesome! Thanks so much for the inspiration, maybe I will use it on my back porch.
    Hugs, Cindy

  50. Nita {ModVintageLife} says:

    The chandelier is great! It’s perfect for outside. I have a candle one already but have been searching thrift stores for one for a friend and not having much luck. All the ones I find are $50 or more and we want cheap like your’s. Guess I’ll just have to keep looking….. Your whole outside space looks so nice….I’m very jealous.

    1. Hi Nita-

      Thanks. I had been looking for sometime, too. Most of chandeliers don’t have the big candle base that I wanted or like you noted are too expensive. Thrifting is such a hit or miss pastime, but you know eventually you will find exactly what you are looking for.

    2. Nita,

      Try in your general area. Often times people will have chandeliers in their basements or garages that they haven’t thrown out for some reason and would welcome the idea of giving it away to someone who could use it.

  51. Love your outdoor space! I couldn’t do this cute light fixture. It is too windy where I live and the candles would blow out in two seconds. :( Oh well….it looks amazing hanging on your patio.:)

    1. Hi Lesley-
      I had to smile after reading your comment. The neighborhood I live in is called Winding Brook, but when the bulider’s were building the houses they dubbed it Windy Brook as gets very windy at times. My deck is blocked by the house, so it is pretty still. If is was windy – I would get the battery operated candles so I could still have the look, but not have to worry that the wind would keep blowing out the candles. They sell them at Walmart, too.

  52. What a great idea Diane! It looks fantastic! You have a very nice patio and pool area. I may just copy this idea when I finally get around to redoing my patio area.

    Thanks for sharing the tutorial.

    ~ Tracy

  53. Diane, that looks so good and I love your patio and pool.

  54. I am in love! The oil rubbed bronze finish is perfect. This is a great idea and I love your outdoor space, so relaxing.