“Caged birds accept each other but flight is what they long for.” -Tennessee Williams
Our friends showed us a bird cage themed lamp shade they loved and wanted for the new nursery but it was very expensive and there was no shipping available to the United States anyway. So….. we decided to make one for them as a gift.
We had recently created another lamp shade out of the same basic materials and ended up covering it with burlap so we figured we would do the same basic thing, minus the burlap and heavy on the birds.
The Bird Cage
To make the bird cage we only used the top hoop from an old lamp shade that are easy to find at Goodwill or other second hand stores.
We used what is called hardware cloth aka chicken wire. Technically, chicken wire has the oval shaped wire but use whichever you prefer.
You will need wire cutters to cut a section of hardware cloth the will go all the way around the hoop plus a few more inches. The two ends will overlap on the back side of the lamp shade where you can wire it all together. It can be a little annoying when trying to get a snug fit around the hoop -it’s helpful if you anchor one end of the hardware cloth to the hoop with craft wire first.
Once you achieved that step you can wire it to the hoop itself. We used one piece of wire long enough to go around the hoop approximately 1.5 times. We wired it around each point where the vertical wire from the hardware cloth met the hoop – shown below.
Then you can wire together the two ends of the hardware cloth – there will be a “seam” like any other lamp shade that runs top to bottom and face it to the wall like any regular shade.
Next, we chose a white spray paint to spray over the hardware cloth and hoop and all the wiring work. Allow enough time to dry well. Color is your preference.
A bird cage needs perches and you have a wide range of choices when selecting them. You could use wooden dowels or tree branches from outdoors. We used scrap willow branches that we had leftover from an older project. It’s always nice if you can use scraps instead of buying all new supplies.
We left them a little longer than needed just in case – you can always cut off the excess but if it’s too short there’s nothing you can do about it later.
Drill holes in the perches where you want to wire it to the cage. Keep the light bulb in mind as it will be inside the cage so try to leave enough space for it in the center – then wire the perches to the cage. We used Dark Annealed Steel Wire – 28 gauge because it’s very thin and blends in with the dark willow branches – shown below.
Add however many perches you like – we installed three at different heights. This is where you can trim off any parts of the perches that you do not want sticking out – we let one perch go out beyond the cage because we thought it looked cool.
Final step, adding birds to the bird cage! We picked up feathered birds at a craft store and choose a variety of colors and sizes to match our friends nursery. Some clipped on, some needed to be wired on and some needed to be glued on with E6000 glue. Now you got yourself a Bird Cage themed Lamp Shade …or chandelier.
Investing in a nice LED light bulb is a plus as they produce no heat and you won’t have to worry about the birds getting too hot, melting or catching fire!
Feel free to leave a question in our comment section if any of the instructions are confusing, we will try to straighten them out for ya!