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Beeswax Candle Covers and Satin-Wrapped Bulbs for Chandeliers

I’ve been working on a lot of little small projects around the house lately. One of the projects I have going right now involves the chandelier in my dining room.  In a previous post, I mentioned there was a little story that goes with this piece so I thought today might be a good day to share it.  Do you like little stories?  If so, grab a cup of coffee or a glass a wine and I’ll share my chandelier tale.

Many years ago I worked as a sales person with a shutter company that made plantation shutters.  I worked there for five years and absolutely loved it.  The owners were super nice folks.  Each year they set up a booth at the annual home show held in Atlanta at the World Congress Center.  As part of the team I would man the booth for around four hours on my designated day.

Once my shift was over, I would always make a beeline to visit one particular booth at the home show.  The booth wasn’t very large and didn’t contain a lot of product but what it did have sparkled with a gorgeous fire.  It contained a handful of beautiful crystal chandeliers.  I oohed and aahed and dreamed of the day I could buy one for my dining room. (Tablescape available here: Thanksgiving Tablescape with Nature Themed, Tiered Centerpiece)

Thanksgiving Tablescape
There was one particular chandelier that was always my fave.  If I had dreamed up or designed the perfect chandelier in my head, that chandelier would have been it.  It was way out of my price range, priced right around a $1,000 and this was around 15 years ago.  Not sure what that would be in today’s dollars.

I thought about that chandelier a lot and each year when the home show came back, I would stop by to make sure it was still available.  All the chandeliers in the booth were custom made by the man who ran the booth.  He could make whatever kind of chandelier a person wanted.   (Tablescape available here: Thanksgiving Tablescape)

Thanksgiving Tablescape

 

After several years of working at the home show and stalking my fave chandelier, the time finally came when I was financially ready to buy it.  I searched for the chandelier booth, praying the chandelier guy would be there.  I always had a fear in the back of mind that by the time I could afford my chandelier, he would no longer be around and I would have missed my chance.  Happy Day!  He was there and so was my chandelier.

We talked and I found out he was actually a farmer from a small town in Georgia.  During the winter when he didn’t have a lot going on, he created beautiful chandeliers using the very best crystal.   It seemed kind of odd, buying a crystal chandelier from a farmer, but I just had a gut feeling he was telling me the truth.  The sparkle, the fire, just everything about them spoke of quality.

Thanksgiving Tablescape

He told me the story about how he came to design the chandelier I loved so much.  He said a customer came to him once with two pictures torn from a magazine.  She told him she liked THIS feature from one chandelier and THAT feature from the other chandelier.  She asked him to build a chandelier incorporating both, and he did.  I could just kiss the woman who did that because it was perfect.  He told me the chandelier I loved was his number 1 selling chandelier.

He gave me a little discount, can’t remember now how much or why…may have been a discount for ordering at the show.  I gulped hard and wrote a check for $1,041.00 which included tax and delivery of the chandelier to my home, as well as installation.  A few weeks later, I got a call.  The chandelier was ready. (Tablescape can be viewed here: Christmas Tablescape with a Colonial Williamsburg Apple Lemon Tree Centerpiece.)

Christmas Tablescape with Colonial Williamsburg Centerpiece

I’m not sure what I expected…did I expect him to come walking down my walkway carrying a big ole chandelier in his arms?  He arrived with several boxes and inside each box were the parts to the chandelier, all carefully stowed away for the trip.   First he hung (hanged?) the body of the chandelier and then carefully assembled the rest of it here in the dining room.  It took him an hour or so to hang it and to build it.  It was exciting watching it fill out and come to life and it didn’t disappoint.  It was just as pretty in the dining room as it had been at the home show.  (Thanksgiving tablescape can be viewed here: Thanksgiving Tablescape with Spode Woodland)

Thanksgiving-Table-Setting-in-Red-Dining-Room

 

Buy One Spectacular “to-die-for” Piece for Each Room of Your Home

One of my little decorating philosophies, if you can call it that, is to have at least one really fabulous, “I’d-marry-it-if-I-could” piece in each room of your home.  If you have at least one really beautiful, quality piece in each room of your home, no matter what else you use in that room, it will elevate the whole space.  That’s something I slowly learned as I’ve decorated the rooms in my own home.

In my home you may find a coffee table from a local antique/thrift store that only costs $92, sitting right along side a quality piece by Baker or Council Craftsman.   I think those kinds of rooms are the most interesting and they have a sense of history inherent in them.

Shop the antique and thrift stores and give your rooms a soul by incorporating those less-than-perfect, time worn pieces.  If you find a piece you love but it’s out of your budget, ask the shop owner if you can pay for it over a few months.  I did that with the dresser in my guest room and the grandfather clock in the entry.   They are normally very accommodating and happy to work something out.  You’ll cherish those pieces forever and they will become family heirlooms passed down from generation to generation.  (Stepping off soapbox, now.)

Back to my chandelier project…over the years the candle covers on my dining room chandelier have gradually darkened.  It didn’t really bother me that much since it was a natural aging process and didn’t look that bad.  But, (you knew there was a but coming)

 

Beeswax Candle Covers:

A few months ago I was reading the blog, Things That Inspire and Holly mentioned two things she really loves incorporating into her chandeliers: wax candle covers and silk-wrapped bulbs.  Have you heard of those?  I had seen wax candle covers but never really knew what they were.   I had never heard of silk wrapped bulbs.

I purchased a wax candle cover from a local Atlanta store on Saturday, just to see how it would look on my chandelier.  We knew it would need to be cut down a tad since my candle covers are around 4 3/4 inches tall and the wax one is 5 inches tall.   It’s a bit too “fat” but it was the only size they had.

Chandelier-Update-with-Wax-Candle-Covers-and-Silk-Wrapped-Bulbs

Do you see it there on the right, with the little drippy things running down the sides?  Original chandeliers were lit by candle-light and that’s what the wax candle covers are simulating.  Wax covers can vary in price.  Online they are pretty reasonably priced as compared to buying them in a lamp store.

Chandelier-Update-with-Wax-Candle-Covers-and-Silk-Wrapped-Bulbs

 

Resin Candle Covers:

It also turns out, they make resin candle covers that look very much like the wax ones.  Here’s a photo of one below.   The owner of a lighting/antique store I sometimes visit told me he absolutely will NOT sell the actual wax covers because they are always trouble.  He said dust sticks to them and they are impossible to clean.  I know how dusty my chandelier gets, so I can’t imagine trying to get dust off a beeswax candle cover.  Plus, they can melt from the heat of the bulbs.  I noticed online it said you can only use a 25 watt bulb with them.   That would probably be the deal breaker for me…more on that in a sec.

My antique/lighting store friend also pointed out, the “drips” are more prominent on the resin candle covers so when you’re standing looking up at a chandelier, you can see them much better than you can on the beewax candle covers.    He was right!   He had several antique chandeliers on display in his shop with the resin candle covers and they were beautiful!  So, I decided to go with the resin covers and not the wax ones.  They should be ordered this week so hopefully I’ll have them before too long.   They also carry them in a darker shades for bronze/brass chandeliers.  Lots of choices.

If you love the look of the resin covers, I found a place online that will cut them to the exact height you need.   It’s called, Lumiere Candles, Inc.  They also carry them in standard sizes which are a bit less.

Update: Lumiere Candles saw a post I wrote about the resin covers I ordered from them and placed on my bedroom chandelier.  You can read that post here:  Resin Candle Covers and Silk Wrapped Bulbs for the Bedroom Chandelier.   They e-mailed to say, when ordering from them, if you use the code BNOTP at checkout, you’ll receive 10% off your order.  And just so you know, I’m not affiliated with Lumiere Candles and do not receive anything in compensation from them.

 

Satin or Silk-Wrapped or Spun-Thread Bulbs:

Now, about those silk or satin-wrapped bulbs, also known as spun-thread bulbs…have you ever heard of them?  They are bulbs covered with a a satin finish or silk-like thread made from silicone thread that’s been spun around the bulb.   It gives the bulbs a warm glow like that of an old gas light. Here’s how Satco describes the satin-wrapped bulbs at this site:

  • “Satin string bulbs simulate the feel and charm of an old style gas light. The unique, silk-like threading wraps around the bulb and distorts the image of the filament into an elongated glow. Perfect for use in outdoor lanterns and exposed bulb chandeliers.”

They are a bit pricey, but I’ve been told they last for a long time.  I ordered 15 of those, 10 plus 5 spares.  I hope I didn’t order the wrong wattage.   I read the thread really tones down the light and since the chandelier is on a dimmer, I ordered them in the 60 watt size.  It was going to be either that or the 40 watt size and my antique/lighting store friend suggested going with 60 watt bulbs.  Another reason I don’t think I’d be to happy with beeswax candle covers…they recommend you only use 25 watt bulbs and 25 watt satin-wrapped bulbs would be way too dim.

 

Chandelier in Dining Room of Historic Brumby Hall:

Speaking of chandeliers, check out this gorgeous specimen in historic Brumby Hall.  Wonder if those are satin wrapped bulbs?  The tips are almost always exposed on the satin wrapped bulbs and they sort of look that way on this chandelier.  Ummm, I’ll be paying more attention now when I’m on home tours, watching for the satin wrapped bulbs and wax candle covers.  (Tour Brumby Hall in this post: Elegant Dining in Brumby Hall)

Dining Room in Historic Brumby Hall

 

Do you use wax candle covers or the resin candle covers? How about the satin-wrapped bulbs?  If not, do you think you’ll try them?  I hope I like mine.  If not, I can always go back.

Pssst:  The seasonal footer at the bottom of BNOTP has been updated (Halloween links removed) and now includes links to Thanksgiving Tablescapes and a few recipes you may enjoy during the upcoming holidays.




Comments

  1. I’ve noticed this beautiful thing in many of your posts and am delighted you chose to share the story behind it. I don’t know which is more beautiful: the chandy or the lovely tablescapes! I’ve never heard of the satin wrapped bulbs, but I’d love to see them ‘up close and personal!’ Thanks for sharing this with us!
    Nancy

  2. I don’t have a chandy that has “candles” on it. But this was very informative for everyone. XO

  3. Susan, I love a good story! This was a fun post, and I learned some interesting facts about crystal chandeliers. We don’t have a crystal chancy. Ours is four arm brass piece from the early 1900s. We bought it for our first home and brought it along with us when we purchased this home. We still love it after all these years. Doesn’t sparkle, but it makes us smile……..Sarah

  4. Hey Susan, china, crystal, silver, chandeliers–just scratching the list of my obsessions!
    –I’ve used the actual beeswax covers without issue–dust or melting. But they are on sconces used for ambient lighting, so that probably helps. But I wouldn’t trade for the other for anything–they are just SO beautiful!
    My (many) chandeliers seem to all get converted to the resin/dripped covers–I LUV the look! But I have never heard of a satin wrapped bulb and it sounds intriguing!
    Catherine

  5. Susan, I have the resin candle covers….and love them. I have them on electric sconces also. I think they make such a difference and sure you will really like them. I had purchased my from The Lamplighter in Williamsburg, Virginia. Your dining room is so beautiful and loved hearing how you acquired your beautiful chandelier.

  6. I loved reading about these. I can’t say I’ve ever wanted one but this one looks beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

  7. Your chandelier is exactly like the one I grew up with! We had it in our dining room also (of course). I think I took it for granted, as young people do sometimes. Now, I wish I had it in my home!

    • I know what you mean, Doreen. I lived in an historic home(s) for a while when I was young and it wasn’t until I was grown that I thought back on those high ceilings, the fireplaces in each room, etc… Maybe that’s why I love the older homes so much now. :)

  8. Linda Page says:

    This has been a fascinating lesson. I had not heard of the candle covers or the satin wrapped bulbs but I think they will look fabulous on your chandelier. I loved the story on how you found, fell in love and acquired your chandelier. It obviously was a match meant to be and it looks fantastic in your dining room. One of these days I hope to have a small chandelier over my dining table so I am happy to have this information for future reference. But for now, I will just have to live vicariously through you!!!!! Great article today, as usual!

  9. Great post Susan… I’m guessing it you are going to do all that work dusting, cleaning and polishing becomes a priority !! We have a great shop in Old Town Alexandria that has some of the best chandeliers. I have three of them in the house. Updating the others would be a great way to save some time and money !

  10. Betty Todd says:

    Beautiful chandelier! I had never heard of either, being a beekeepers daughter I caught the word beeswax and had to look. As you know beeswax has a much higher melting point than paraffin but I don’t know how it would do either. As much beeswax as I have, I wish I could make my own, who knows maybe I will play around with it. I do have 60 watts in mine to though.

  11. Your chandelier is beautiful, Susan! Love the story..that makes it all the more special. I don’t have a chandelier, but that doesn’t stop me from admiring yours! ;)

  12. Loved this post, but I make my own drip covers and it’s easy. Using the old covers, just use a hot glue gun to produce the drips. Then after they are dry, take the covers outside and use white heat resistant spray paint and just spray the covers. Done! And almost free if you already have the covers!

  13. Your room is lovely. I am impressed with the chandelier/farmer story. I bet he gets lots of questions about that.
    Just taking a few minutes away from tv because it is politics all the time. Have you seen the child that is sick of politics? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ufkCzmR7PQ

  14. I’ve bought the wax candle covers for all my light fixtures. It does give a nice look I think to the fixtures. And actually, the price isn’t all that bad to make your light fixtures look more “custom”.

  15. Votre lustre est absolument extraordinaire…
    J’aime beaucoup les lustres à pampilles…
    Dernièrement aux puces de Saint-Ouen à Paris, un jeune homme a ouvert son stand de création de lustres à pampilles. Une merveille !…
    Gros bisous et merci pour cet excellent billet.

  16. I was going to tell you how to refurbish your old candle covers with “drips” but I see Terry already did. When I couldn’t find the replacement resin candle covers with drips locally to fit my 3 crystal chandeliers, I made over my old covers using the glue gun technique. However, I just spray painted mine with regular white spray paint–heat resistant paint not required.

  17. Susan, your story about how you acquired your chandelier was fascinating! It is beautiful and I have always admired it in your photos. I have always found that it is better to wait for what you really want rather than “settle.” I have seen the wax covers, but I haven’t heard of the bulbs that you were describing. Can’t wait to see yours when you get them on.

  18. What a wonderful story, I always enjoy your posts!!! I have the resin covers, and never heard of those bulbs before, can’t wait to see how they look…..

  19. Oh, Susan,
    such a great and sweeping story! I enjoyed it very much!
    I don’t know what’s going on lately, but it really seems we have a similar lamp taste! :-)
    I told you I have 3 lamps that look similar to your new office/ craft room lamp, just smaller and simpler,
    and now… I hope you believe me… actually I have 2 “Marie Therese style” chandeliers (I purchased them in Italy, 15 years ago) that look similar to yours, again! And again they are smaller (just 5 light each of them, but this is OK because the rooms are smaller, too! lol), and I have those “candle covers”, too (not wax!) but the bulbs I use are “twisted”… Sorry, I don’t know how to describe them… Agghhh!!!
    I promise, I will send you some pics!
    Hugs to you, my friend… I need some rest… Is it already 7:25 a.m. here… but I heve been glued to my tv because of the news from the States… btw: CONGRATS TO YOUR NEW (old) PRESIDENT!
    May God bless him!

  20. I love your story about your chandelier and how you dreamt of it for so long and finally got it! I think your new resin candle like covers will look great! Mine came deliberately antiqued but it’s mixed with dark bronze so it has a totally different look. Yours will look beautiful with your new pieces and the new light bulbs. I’ve seen those bulbs before but not actually lit up so I’m curious how it’s going to look. The bulbs I’m using have are a faceted cut glass look. Since my chandelier is a mix of metal and crystal I like the additional decorative look they offered. I will be looking forward to seeing how your satin wrapped bulbs look when their lit. We use a dimmer on ours too- I can’t imagine not being able to dim it. It adds so much atmosphere! Now I want to know how you clean your chandelier! That’s quite a lot of crystal and detail!

  21. Nancy Crane says:

    I’m not sure what materials mine are but many years ago, I brought my chandelier find from an antique store to a lamp shop to rewire it and he suggested new covers…he had the ones with wax drips on them but he also had shades of either white or cream and some were antiqued, which is what I purchased since my chandelier is antiqued gold…what a difference it made…that and an updated cap/madallion or whatever it’s called that is on the ceiling…he also replaced the chain with a new, antique chain…I didn’t realize there were so many choices out there…new frosted bulbs (that I must say have lasted me for years) and I was good to go! Thanks for sharing; the room looks lovely!

  22. Love your chandelier and the cute story! Recently, while looking for outdoor fixtures, I got “lost” in the chandelier room… and drooled and dreamed! Thanks for the tip…am going to check into the candle covers and light bulbs to update my old brass chandelier. Also, thanks for the fun read! I may start a chandy savings jar…lol.

  23. I love your Chandelier – it’s fabulous. But I’m really in love with your dining room mirror. I’m fairly new to your site, so I have to tell you that mirror is almost as fabulous as your porch. But I don’t know of anything that meets or beats your porch! Love your blog!

  24. Theresa DeLuca says:

    Love your story Susan! My chandelier is almost identical to yours and I wish I had paid the same price as you! We bought ours from a lightning store 22 years ago when we built our house. I’m sad to say I paid four times as much as you did. Wish I would have found that man in the booth! Can’t wait to buy the new bulbs and covers. Thanks for the info!

  25. Meghan Grace says:

    Your chandelier is absolutely gorgeous! I have a wrought iron and crystal chandelier that I adore. It too has the candle covers that have slightly yellowed. I will need to look into replacing mine. I also have lampshades on mine in cream linen and I would like to switch them to black with gold linings. I really love your blog and soaking up the photos of your glorious home. I just love antiques and the patina and warmth that they bring to a space.

  26. Beautiful chandelier! All the tablescapes are elegant yet have a very warmness to them. I like ‘em all.
    Great inspiration!

  27. Hi Susan, I have always admired your chandelier and it proves waiting and saving is worth it, if it is something you love.
    Many years ago, I spotted a sideboard in an antique shop when we lived in Vancouver. I fell in love with it and went back three times to see if I really, really wanted to pay for it. It was in the 80’s so what I paid then would seem little now, but it came home with me. It is mahogany with a shaped front and it gleams now as it did then. It has seen four more homes since I bought it and has fitted in each one perfectly. It could tell a lot of tales as it sits there and absorbs, it has travelled well too. It also fits in nicely with more modern furniture. I lovingly polish it with English Lavender wax and the smell takes me back to my childhood days in England. On this, my Christmas Village sits each year. Yes, it has served me well.

  28. Susan what beautiful photos and the treaure you’ve shared..loved it of course but I also slowed down to take in the tablescapes..sat here thinking it might be nice to have a very small holiday [Thanksgiving or Christmas] gathering with an extravagant table setting similar to these you are showing..naturally we never never have a “small gathering” ..but the seed is planted I might create an excuse for an intimate scene..perhaps just the two of us.

    Jonell

  29. The farmer’s soul is in your chandelier.
    I use silicone bulbs…very low light but lovely and romantic. I bought a case on ebay last year!

    Have you tried GreatChandelier.com for the sleeves? I buy all my crystals from them…very inexpensive!
    I also made beaded bulb covers. I use them everywhere. They are easy to make and make a huge impact!
    I loved this post!

    xo

    Andie

  30. OOOH Susan, How Beautiful ! You are so blessed to have such a lovely home.
    Paula

    p.s. I had a picture like your Fox Hunt, and now I so wish I had that back !!!!! Darn, and it seems traditional items for the home are so hard to find! Have any tips where to shop??!! Thank you !

  31. Mary from Virginia says:

    Totally agree with your statement about having one wonderful thing in a room that makes all the difference. Your chandelier is beautiful and I am so glad to read your story! Thanks for the tips on the candle covers. Good to know!

  32. Lisa Reed says:

    Hi Susan, I’ve been following your blog for quite some time and look forward to each new post. Maybe you know the answer to something I’ve been wondering about. I have several Lt. Willard Moses chandeliers in my colonial home with exposed bulbs. With the new “rules” and phasing out of the old style incandescent light bulbs will we still be able to buy chandelier style bulbs? I’ve been worried that all my beautiful light fixtures will become obsolete and useless if I can no longer buy bulbs. The new CFL bulbs just wouldn’t look right in exposed bulb chandeliers.

    • Hi Lisa,
      Gosh, I hope not, but I haven’t heard anything about that. I don’t like those new bulbs at all. They sure would have a lot of angry, unhappy chandelier-owning folks if that happened with the chandelier bulbs.

  33. Oh Susan, my fave thing in your beautiful dining room happens to be your gorgeous chandy…I always admired it and went, oohed aahed every time, as I always dreamed of a real crystal kind of chandy on my ceiling. Hubs gave me an antique Italian from the 1920’s huge one, last Mother’s Day and it is stunning and yes, I could marry her, gorgeous!! Thank you for enlightening me about the bee -wax candle covers and the silk bulbs…I don’t know what I have of either one, but now I can go look for the bulbs at least, as I like the soft light. I loved your chandy story, but you are lucky this way Susan, I rememberyou found a better one for your office after you lost the bid to your first choise. I’ll be so honored if you went to my post and saw my chandy from 6 months ago, I also keep looking at it when I pass by it, lol! It’s in my last post for TT. Thank you for sharing. Big hugs,
    FABBY

  34. Hi Susan,
    I have always loved your chandy. So pretty. I recently bought a chandy, my first, at an auction for an amazing price. It was made in Spain and is brass with the prisms. I adore it! ! Got to get it hung Soon. Must post a pic. Have a wonderful week.
    ~ ~Ahrisha~ ~

  35. That is a great story Susan!! I also have a crystal chandelier, not as lovely as yours, but they all sparkle best when clean. Cleaning used to be a real chore until I learned how to do it this easy way…..
    I cover my dinning room table with an old plastic shower liner, any waterproof thing will do, then I drown it in a spray on product called Extend A Finish Chandelier cleaner. Great stuff…..although maybe any glass cleaner can work, this product just drips the dust off & will dry totally spotless!!

  36. What a wonderful website is this! I was surfing Internet in a search of an idea for Christmas table centerpiece and found this one. Elegant and stunning. Wow, thanks a lot.

  37. My crystal chandelier has brass fixings. Would gold spun bulbs or the silver spun bulbs be more appropriate?

    • Mary, I didn’t realize they made the amber/gold spun until you mentioned those. Very pretty! I’m guessing it may give off less light, but it could be really beautiful. You may want to order one bulb of each just to see which you like. The only concern I have is I think the light would be less bright with the amber spun bulbs, but I may be wrong. The folks at Lumiere Candles are really nice. You may want to call or email them and ask for more info about the amber spun bulbs. Here’s all their contact info: https://www.candlecoverstore.com/contactus.sc

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