My DIY hanging branch light got a lot of love when I posted it on Instagram, with lots of insta-chums wanting to recreate the look in their own homes. To help anyone feeling inspired to do something similar, I’m sharing here how I made mine.
Sourcing the branch
My branch is a silver birch one I found locally. Hopefully you have the perfect tree in your garden, or an obliging friend or neighbour with one, since clearly I could not suggest that you help yourself to one from, for example, a nearby park. Not me. Nope.
I looked for one that had an attractive “branchy” look, with lots of sticky out sub-branches, which I knew would help space the lights out in an appealing way.
I don’t know how or if my branch will stand the test of time. An option would be to seal your branch with matt acrylic varnish, but to be honest this DIY was so simple, it wouldn’t be a big deal to replace the branch in future if necessary.
Sourcing the String Lights
I already had a string of cotton ball lights which I’d picked up at Homesense a while ago, and had been looking for a use for them. (I’ve also previously created a belly basket cotton ball light display with them.) I found almost identical mains powered white cotton ball lights on Amazon for £19.99. A note of caution though – the lead cable length (the length of cable between the mains socket and the first bulb) of these ones is 1.5 metres. If you’re planning on hanging the branch high up you may need to source an option with a longer lead length, or find a way to (discreetly) extend the cable. Battery options are cheaper and avoid the need for finding the right cable length, and disguising it once hung, but obviously if you’re hanging the light high up, this won’t be practical. Clearly, cotton ball lights are one option, but any other type of string lighting would work too and you could choose any colours and textures to suit your own scheme and taste.
You’ll also need:
- Some small picture frame eyelet screws like these ones from Amazon (£1.65), to screw into the ceiling. (This is how the branch will be suspended.)
- Fishing wire – to hang the branch with – Amazon does some at £2.69.
- Command strips – for neatly securing the lead cable to wall – They’re £3.50 at Amazon.
- Nail – any old nail will do. It needs to be long enough to go through the branch at the thickest end, and into the wall.
Twirling on the lights
The process of getting the lights twirled round the branch evenly without catching on the twigs, was admittedly fiddly and it would be handy here to draft in some assistance. (Thank you Mark, my perfect helper, having both longer arms and considerably more patience than me.) I used a method similar to applying fairy lights to a Christmas tree, standing the branch vertically and twirling it round.
Where to hang
Your hanging branch light will be light enough to be capable of suspension from the ceiling eyelets and thread alone, so it could be hung from any point on the ceiling. However it will probably work best in a corner. That way you’ll be able to secure it with a nail to the wall, which helps with positioning, and gives it the look of “growing out” of the wall. Also it will be easier to tuck the lead cable away so that the eye isn’t drawn to it.
Hanging the branch light
Mark carefully screwed two small eyelet screws into the ceiling at the points from which we wanted the threads which would hold the branch to hang. We did ours at the edge of our coving so that they were a little disguised and wouldn’t leave an obvious hole in the ceiling. This part is definitely a two-person job, because before you position the eyelet screws, you’ll need to have someone hold the branch up so that you can decide how you’d like it to hang. Particularly if your helper is your husband, for the sake of harmonious martial relations I advise some quick decision-making at this point, given that he is likely balanced precariously on an wobbly surface with his arms thrust uncomfortably above his head.
Next up we threaded the fishing wire through the eyelet screw and secured it round the branch, knotting it tidily.
We checked which way the branch would hang naturally from the thread. Aesthetically that was a bit wrong, because it wanted to hang “upside down”, rather than appearing as it would on a tree. So to get it hanging the ‘right’ way, we secured it at the thicker end by pressing the cut end against the wall and banging in a nail.
Finally we tidied the lead cable against the alcove corner using the command strips.
Job done. And it only took 20 minutes. Plus the 6 months that the branch sat in the corner. Plus the 30 minutes we wasted trying to hang the branch with ordinary thread because it was all we had in the house. Take my word for it: it won’t work.
For more inspiration for using fairy lights around the house, check out this post by the super stylish and lovely Dee Campling of Huddle, which also introduced me to the wonders of Command strips.
If you like the idea of using branches in your home but fancy doing something different, the wonderfully clever and creative Meera of Arty Home provides the know-how for an alternative idea for fashioning stylish lighting from a branch.
Have you got room to branch out with the lighting in your home?