How to make a chandelier using patio lights

How to make a chandelier using patio lights



When I was still in the dreaming stage of my Hawaiian Treehouse, I pinned this amazing oversized lantern chandelier. The contemporary hut is in Brazil and designed by Fabio Galeazzo. I have no idea if it’s custom or how much it costs. I’m a sucker for bold lighting and once I started building I knew I had to find a way to recreate it. My major problem was the lack of resources. Had I been in Idaho I could have found large lanterns at a dozen stores. They needed to be quite big so shipping was out of the question.

target lantern

Eventually I found these outdoor solar lanterns at Target. They measure 13.38 ” H ; x 13.38 ” W x 12.75 ” D and cost $30. I knew I would need quite a few which quickly added up but because I had tried using so many other things that just weren’t quite right I bought the four they had in stock. I bought three more as they got them.  They come in brown and black and I bought both so I would have enough.




I wasn’t able to remove the “candle” from the lantern to paint it. So I molded tin foil around the candle and used a metallic gold spray paint to transform the mismatched lanterns. Tin foil works great for drawer pulls or door knobs too. To hang them I simply wrapped a aesthetically pleasing rope around the roof line beam and tied knots around the lantern handel.


As I mentioned before these were solar lights and since this was an indoor fixture and the solar panel was adhered to the lid of the lantern I couldn’t salvage that part. It was a little heartbreaking removing the solar batteries and drilling a hole through the actual panel but it had to be done.  Next I bought some cool patio lights for $20 at Target as well and popped them through the holes that I drilled. I spray painted the cord gold so it would blend in with the rest of the fixture. Now all I had to do was place the now connecting lids on top of the lanterns.

I put and outlet box on the other side of the bedroom wall near the ceiling. I ran the patio lighting cord up to the beam and across the top where it plugs into the outlet. It works much like a 1970’s house where it was vogue to not have ceiling fixtures and everyone used lamps and the light switch powered the wall outlets. My outlet is just on the ceiling instead so the fixture is not hardwired but still plugs in. The light switch is above the nightstand so you can turn them off in bed.



Once I had them hung over the bed I didn’t like seeing the little screws and hardware so I found some little craft mirrors for a couple dollars and used liquid nails to adhere them to the bottom.

Tropical Treehouse Bed

lanternlighting.jpgTreehouse Windows

I’m so happy with the result. My total for the 7 lanterns, rope, patio lights, spray paint and mirrors was $251.00. Not really what I consider cheap but for such a unique statement fixture I think it was worth it. My cell phone camera can’t capture it but the way they light up the house at night is absolutely stunning!


16 Responses to How to make a chandelier using patio lights

  1. Karen says:

    I’m impressed!! Sometimes having the right look is worth the price!

  2. Thank you for all the awesome information! I found the blog a few weeks ago while researching Big Island tiny homes!
    Amanda in Oahu

    • kristiewp says:

      Oh great do you plan on building one or buying?

      • Amanda_Oahu says:

        I’m hoping to buy one. I’m undecided between a piece of land and a very basic structure I can sleep in or a small house that would suitable to rent on airbandb or
        Both option have their pros / cons . I’m leaning more towards the land and ultra basic structure i don’t have to worry about keeping filled.

        • kristiewp says:

          I get that. I travel for work for months at a time and people always ask why I don’t rent out my Idaho tiny house. I like having a space that is just mine filled with the things that I love and it’s very personal to me. So renting it just isn’t worth the money. I knew the Hawaii house was going to be less about me and more about having a place for friends and family and I designed it as such.

  3. Amy says:

    Absolutely beautiful. :)

  4. brandi says:

    Will you give us a $. breakdown on your Hawaii treehouse ? also info on lessons learned etc?

  5. Brandy Graziosi says:

    I love the fixture and your Hawaii treehouse. I just found your blog from a post on facebook. I am trying to convince my husband to go tini or atleast small…..its a work in progress. Is your treehouse for rent? Perhaps with such a lovely example I would have a better shot at convincing him. Great Job.

  6. Robin says:

    Kristie, I love the Hawaii house!! I have a few questions, when you built did you need a permit? And when you bought the property how did you do the closing without going there? This is something I want to do but I have so many questions. Thanks

    • kristiewp says:

      Hey Robin,

      So in most of the country you don’t need a permit if your structure is under a certain size (usually 200 sq ft.). It’s considered a temporary structure. Mine is about that size however building unpermitted on the Big Island is a lot more commonplace than the mainland.

      I saw the property on craigslist and called on it immediately. I ended up talking to the seller for quite some time and although I had a good feeling about him I checked out some things online to make sure he was real. He suggested using a law firm to make everything legal and I did my research on them too. It ended up costing several hundred dollars for them to do the paperwork but I felt better about the transaction that way. I should also mention that the seller wasn’t living in Hawaii he was in Illinois and I was in Idaho ha!

      • Robin says:

        Thank you!! My goal is to move there within the next year, I found a lot in the Kaohe Homesteads that I would love to have. I would love to build a tiny house.

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