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How to Make a Thrifty Knock-off Outdoor Candle Chandelier

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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. 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 http://www.freecycle.org 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

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