I recently discovered Pajaki chandeliers, and fell immediately in love with them for their cheerful appearance and because they represent a wish for health and happiness. What better way to welcome you to my new blog than to hang this traditional Polish paper-and-fabric craft chandelier and tell you how I made it.
From this comprehensive post on Design*Sponge, I discovered Laura Normandin’s purchase on her blog, WREN Handmade, and this large version on Oh Happy Day. I followed Sarah Neuberger’s (The Small Object) advice and purchased these Swedish straws (I couldn’t find a substitute for their lovely natural color) but otherwise had everything else I needed on hand. There seems to be so much variation in these chandeliers, I felt free to kind of wing it.
Prep work: My foundation ring is the inner ring of a largish wooden embroidery hoop which I wrapped with 2 yds of 2-in-wide cotton fabric. A small amount of fabric is also needed for 6 single-layer spacing flowers to be attached to the ring and to make leaves for the 6 hanging flowers. The size of the ring determines the finished size of the chandelier. Mine required 14 tissue paper flowers made according to Martha Stewart (though mine are much smaller: 4 layers of 6-in-wide tissue): 6 attach to the ring, 6 hang from it, and 2 hang from the center top. The Swedish straws arrive in 8-in lengths and need to be cut into 1 – 2-in pieces. This isn’t the most satisfying thing to do—the straws can be fragile— but you’ll have plenty. You don’t need to cut them all at once, just enough to get started. The same goes for the paper circles: I used cardstock, envelopes, and construction paper in several shades of pink, blue, and natural and a scalloped paper punch to make a small pile, punching out more as I needed them. Because I wanted to see one set of colors from the top of the chandelier and a different view from the bottom, I used two circles back-to-back. Thread a long doll needle with transparent nylon monofilament and get started with the assembly!
Put some evenly spaced marks on the wrapped ring wherever you want the long top lengths to attach (there will be a flower at the base of every length). I knotted one end to the ring and then measured off the length I wanted plus 5 extra inches for the tie-off. Start stringing, alternating straw and paper until you reach your goal—I attached a clothespin to each finished end to keep the pieces from falling off before each strand was finished. Gather them together, thread all six end-lengths through a bead and then knot them together on a small curtain ring. Find a place where it can hang freely—it makes the rest of the construction so much easier.
Attach 6 of the flowers to the ring with a few stitches into the wrapping. To make the hanging flowers, knot one end of the monofilament thread and run the needle through the top of a flower and out the back; then add the fabric leaves, and alternate the straw and paper circles until you reach your desired length (mine was about 4 straw-lengths). Attach a hanging flower between each flower on the ring and attach a single-layer cloth flower to hide the stitching. A nice touch to fill the space in the middle of the top: Make two more hanging flowers, one shorter than the other, thread their filament ends together in your needle and take it up through the bead to be tied on the ring with the others. We’re almost there. The flowers are all in place and there are only the loopy sections to add to the bottom. Those are made the same way as for the strands on the top, alternating straw and paper, and they can reach across the bottom from one flower to its opposite or run around the outer edge. The loops can be as deep or as shallow as you’d like. Have some fun with it; once you get going, you’ll see so many possibilities and think of many occasions where you could use one of these lovely chandys.