Irma Vep chandelier

Irma Vep Chandelier

Triad Stage’s production of Irma Vep opened last Saturday. Anyone who has ever propped that show knows it has a ton of tricks and unique pieces. On top of all that, our production also had a massive Gothic ring chandelier. Our scenic designer, Robin Vest, drew a four-foot diameter chandelier with nine candles. I knew I would never be able to afford such a piece (even if I could find it), so it was off to the shop to construct it from scratch.

Steel frame
Steel frame

First up was the ring itself. I bent two bars of steel using my ring bender, and welded them into a single wheel connected by short rods of steel.

Vacuum forming bucks
Vacuum forming bucks

I needed some bobeches for under the candles and some scrollwork around the ring. I decided to fire up my new vacuum former for the first time and make all those pieces out of plastic. I already had some bobeches and a carved floral scroll-y piece that I was able to use as forms.

Formed plastic
Formed plastic

Each sheet of plastic fit one bobeche, one scroll piece, and one smaller bobeche for some sconces I was also altering. I pulled nine sheets, and then cut out all the pieces.

Wiring the lights
Wiring the lights

The candlestick holders were wooden pieces I picked up at the craft store. I attached them to the ring and then wired the whole thing together. The candelabra sockets had small tails of wire, so I wired three together, than ran some lamp cord up the chain to the center hanging piece. With nine candles, this meant I had three pieces of lamp cord running up the chains, and those three were wired together inside the center piece to another longer piece of lamp cord that the electricians could attach a plug to. The bulbs were 7 1/2 watts each, so the whole fixture was only 67.5 watts, which made lamp cord totally fine for this.

Painted pieces
Painted pieces

I spray painted all the plastic pieces before attaching them. Once everything was assembled, I drybrushed some bronze acrylic paint over the whole thing, and then it got some gold paint highlights.

Irma Vep chandelier
Irma Vep chandelier

It’s the spookiest, scariest chandelier ever!

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