Sticky Situation: A DIY Gumball Machine Chandelier

I created this odd little project for a contest I entered, the Good Housekeeping Flea Market Makeover. The assignment was to make something original from an item or items from a flea market, garage sale, or thrift store. Most of the points were being awarded to originality. I drove myself crazy trying to come up with something different from all the other entries, which were mostly refinished furniture. I still didn’t win, but I got a unique chandelier for my porch. Works for me!

I started with this candelabra thing and two gumball machines from Goodwill. I love gumball machines. I buy them every time I see them. Weird, I know. They’re just so fun!

I unscrewed the candelabra and removed the candleholder cups. Then I painted it bright red to match the gumball machines.

The only light on the front porch comes from our little porch light. I thought it would be nice to have some extra light for when we sit out there at night. I know how to replace light fixtures, but wiring a new box is completely out of my realm. This chandelier would have to be battery powered. I found these battery operated stick lamps in a two pack from Joann Fabrics for around $5. I had a coupon, so they ended up being less than that.

I took the gumball machines apart. Because I needed to remove the top screw, which holds everything together, I had to glue on the glass globe and the bottom metal plate. These pictures show hot glue. That DID NOT work at all. I peeled it all off and super glued it instead. Much better.

I took off the bottom stand part of the light. Then I attached the light to the metal pole with a few rubber bands. That way the light could be moved around to accommodate the gumballs.

I used the drill bit pictured above to make a hole in the top of the gumball machine large enough to fit the light bulb through. This was probably not the best way to do this, but I’m all about improvising with what I have on hand. I think a hole saw probably would have been a better choice.

Ah, look at these mauve flowered beauties. Straight outta the 90’s.  $1 each. Thanks, Goodwill.  I took off the piping and covered them with some leftover chevron fabric.

I used some picture hanging wire (painted red) to attach the gumball machines to the now upside down candelabra frame. Then I hung the contraption from an eye bolt with some more wire. I filled the machines with gumballs when everything was in place, then added the lampshades. Done!


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