I’m excited to partner with Inventables today to share with you a fun outdoor project that’s been on my build list for over a year. (Yay for knocking something off of the list – just 9.999 items to go!)
Just in time for warm weather – well, at least here – I’ve dusted off the modified pergola and spruced it up with a new table, decor, and chandelier. If you recognize that table, it’s from the Concrete and Wood Geometric Collection I partnered with Jen Woodhouse to build recently.
Side note and word to the wise: If you decide to build a concrete topped dining table make it hollow or something. It took size people to move it outside to the pergola, where IT SHALL NEVER BE MOVED EVER AGAIN.
As I said, I partnered with Inventables on this one. They make home-based CNC machines. I have the X-Carve, and will be the first to admit that I have not yet tapped it’s full potential. (That’s one of the items remaining on the aforementioned list.) Sure, CNC’s are great for making signs and what not. But I love to play with how they can help make furniture easier, more replicatable, and more precise.
This chandelier is an excellent example. It’s an easy-to-set up project that really requires nothing more than a couple 31×31″ pieces of 3/4″ plywood to get started.
Here’s a quick overview of how it goes together:
Here’s what you will need:
Plans via Easel
2 – 31×31″ 3/4 plywood
1 1/2″ edge banding (optional)
paint or stain (optional)
3/8″ forstner bit
2 – 5′ sections of small link chain
4 small screw eyes
1/2″ straight router bit
*This is a sponsored post. A big thank you to the awesome team at Inventables for making it possible to put this and many other DIY CNC projects out there for anyone to use. This post does contain affiliate links as well. You can read more about that here.*
How to build a DIY Outdoor Chandelier using the X-Carve by Inventables
Cut two pieces of 3/4″ finished plywood to 31×31″. This is the maximum size that can fit on the 1000mm X-Carve machine. At least, to fit within the clamping space easily. You will carve the two sides of the chandelier one at a time. I used a 1/2″ straight cut bit in the interest of shortening the carve time. The outer and inner circles are set to carve only 1/2″ depth, and then be finished with band saw or jig saw. This was both because of the length of the bit and to avoid having to change the bit mid carve, again in the interests of time.
Using Easel file, cut the two sides. The file is the same for both sides. I found it easiest to carve it this way and drill the light holes later, rather than creating them in Easel, but you can add those in if you prefer.
Drill 24 3/8″ holes with forstner bit. I found it easiest to drill these by hand, but you could also have the CNC do it.
Cut out the outside and inside of the circles. I used a bandsaw for the outside edges and a jig saw for the middle.
Drill 24 3/8″ holes around one side with a forstner bit. Just eyeball them as evenly spaced as possible. Alternately, you can have the X-Carve make these. I found that it was a simple matter to drill them (actually, I switched lights – see below – and had to add more.) I do like that it shortens the carve time, though.
Lay the cord and lights into one side, poking the lights through the holes you drilled. (With the bulbs off so they will fit through.) I used tape to hold everything together. Just do whatever gets them in.
My original plan called for using larger cafe-style lights. However, those lights have a large cord with unwieldy attachment points that just didn’t work. So I picked these up on Amazon, and this tutorial is catered to this particular set.
Carve a small channel where the electrical cord from the lights will lay. You only need to do this on one side of the circle. (I used this knife.)
Glue the two sides together and clamp for a while. Then sand the outside and inside of the circle so it’s all even.
Apply edge banding, if desired.
Flip it over and paint the bottom and sides. Allow to dry, then flip back to the other side and paint. I used these bench cookies by Rockler and they did a fantastic job of supporting the piece even when I klutzed into it.
Attach the chains using chains. screw hooks. and the O’ Ring. I really should have a better photo of this. All it is is four screw hooks equally spaced (I have six light holes between each), then two 5′ lengths of chain attached diagonally. I picked up this size chain at Lowes. The link is for size reference. I brought the points together at the top evenly, then used an O-Ring to hold them together and hang the whole thing from a screw hook in my pergola. I did have to cut the O-Ring with a dremel to hook the chains through it. I’ve linked everything so you can see what sizes I used.
Screw in the lights.
Hang in your outdoor space, then chill and enjoy the ambiance.
I have the cord to mine run up one of the lengths of chain, then snaked across the top of the pergola rafters.
I hope you enjoyed this simple DIY project and that it saves you some money on outdoor lighting. If you want a nice outdoor space without spending big bucks be sure to check out how to build my modified pergola. It attaches to the house eliminates the need to dig footers or remove patio pavers to secure.
This project is part of a outdoor build challenge and is one of several diy projects that will improve your outdoor space. Be sure to check them all out – I’ve linked them all below, and follow these amazingly talented blogging friends for more awesome DIY builds!