Adonia Belly Dance Creates a Multi-Level Candle Tray for Chicago Wedding Entertainment
Recently, Adonia Belly Dance fell in love with the idea of dancing with a beautifully decorated multi-level candle tray at her Chicago wedding entertainment events. However, after doing some research she found them to be very expensive. Being the crafty person that she is, she set out to create one of her own. In this blog, she has decided to share that process with you.
So let's get started! Here is what you will need.
2 Bowls of water, dish soap, brasso, cotton pads, paper towel.
Hot glue and Loctite metal to metal welded adhesive.
You will also need
A large serving tray, a wide candle holder, small decorative candle holder(s) (optional), candles, vintage necklaces and bracelets, crystals, wire or jump rings, pliers, rubber mallet.
Goodwill and garage sales are a great source for many of the non-cleaning and adhesive supplies listed above. I found all the metal items as well as the candles at Goodwill. I found the jewelry at various garage sales.
Add a little soap to one of your bowls of water and dip your necklaces and crystals in the water. If you would like you can give them a little rub to help clean them thoroughly. Rinse them in the other bowl of water and then lay them out to dry on paper towels. Then, Using your Brasso, paper towels, and cotton pads... Clean and polish your metal items. Make sure you use a little glass cleaner to wipe them down after using the Brasso. You really want make sure the metal surface is clean and residue free.
You will need a reliably strong way to attach your decorations to the underneath side of the tray. In most cases, you will find a beaded chain and hook closure on your vintage beaded jewelry. Using pliers carefully remove that beaded chain. Then remove each link from the next. You will use these individual links as anchor points to attach the beads to the tray. It's much easier than it sounds.
After determining and marking where your anchor points will be; on a paper plate place equal amounts of Loctite weld hardener and resin. For reference, my tray (shown here) is 14 inches in diameter and I have placed five equally spaced anchor points on the bottom. For symmetry, I have the same amount of anchor points on all levels of the tray. To continue, the hardener is the white stuff and the resin is the black stuff. Using a toothpick or chopstick mix them together until they turn gray.
Be sure to do this quickly as it dries very quickly. You only have moments to get the "weld" in place. Be sure to mix very small batches of weld as you will likely only get one or two anchor points in place before the weld dries. I would suggest holding the anchor in place exactly how you wanted it to sit on the tray for a few minutes until it doesn't wiggle anymore. Repeat this until all anchor points are in place. If you feel like you would like more stability you can surround the base of the anchor point (where the adhesive is) with a little hot glue. Just give the weld the about an hour to cure before adding hot glue. Do not use only hot glue only to attach the anchor points or the weight of the beads and crystals may pull the hot glue off during practice or performance.
Once you have attached all anchor points your tray elements will look like what you see below.
Alignment and set-up
Next you want to determine the exact center of your tray to be sure it is perfectly balanced. This is the most important step!!! Measure multiple times to be sure you have everything lined up perfectly and then mark the radius of the candle holder base on the tray with a sharpie. Double check your measurements. Once you have determined the center radius of where the large candle holder will sit on the tray, flip the whole thing over. Place the tray on the large candle holder upside down and line it up to where it will sit once it is attached to the tray. Using a rubber mallet gently tap a dent in the tray underneath where the large candle holder will sit. Be sure to do this with the candle holder sitting on a soft carpeted surface as you want to be careful to not damage the candle holder. the purpose of creating the dent in the tray is to help increase balance as well as helping you find the center of balance quickly in performance.
Now that you have everything prepped, measured, and marked it's time to permanently affix these pieces together into a functional balancing candle tray. Flip the big tray back so that it is right side up and leave the candle holder upside down. Mix another batch of Loctite weld on your paper plate. Make this batch about double the size you made the previous batches. using your toothpick or chopstick carefully place a ring of Loctite weld around the bottom edge of the base of your candle holder. Carefully place the candle holder right side up on your large tray, being sure to align it with the marks you made previously with the sharpie. Repeat this step for the third tier, if you have one. Also repeat this step for any additional candle holders that you want to add to the tray if you so desire. Once you have everything assembled give it about 24 hours to completely cure/harden.
Decorating - Making your tray versatile
Personally, I love my costumes and props to be as versatile as possible. I also loved things to match or at least be color-coordinated. So in an effort to get the biggest bang for my buck. I have created a way to change the look and feel of my candle tray to coordinate with my costumes. Here's how to do it. Earlier in this blog I mentioned that we would be using crystals. I would like to suggest that you use chandelier crystals. I managed to find a small chandelier for sale at a garage sale in a quote "well-to-do" neighborhood. You can also find them at thrift stores, flea markets, at lighting supply stores, and sometimes on places like eBay and Etsy. At any rate they are ideal for this project because they are sparkly and beautiful as well as versatile and functional. They are attached to each other with little wire loops. Kind of like fancy jump rings but with an open portion and much more flexible. At each one of your anchor points attach one or more of these crystals.
Next you'll want to restring your beads onto embroidery floss or another durable string like beading wire. Get them beaded just how you want them and then tie each end to a jump ring. If you don't have jump rings then you can create something similar that will work by just wrapping some strong wire a round the end of a pair of needle nose pliers. Wiggle the wire off the pliers and clip the long end of the wire and presto! You have a little wire ring to attach your beads to. Tie off both ends of your string of beads securely to a wire loop or jump ring. Then simply hang one end of the string of beads on the back of a crystal attachment and then the other end to the next crystal attachment. This is what makes this so versatile: you can easily interchange bead strings that you make specifically for your candle tray. So for instance, when preparing for a show if I am wearing a red costume I can simply change out my strands of clear AB beads for strands of red beads. It's as easy as changing your jewelry and the added beads on the edge of the tray adds weight to the outer edges and changes the center of gravity of the tray therefore making it slightly easier to balance.
If you feel like the tray is a little slick underneath you can glue the thin layer of felt that was on the bottom of the candle holder to the bottom of the tray. You could also get stickers that add traction to the bottom of your shoes from the insole section of the grocery store and stick that to the center of the bottom of your tray. Or you can also just crisscross layers of hot glue on the bottom which definitely keep the tray from moving much.
Thank you for reading this blog by Adonia Belly Dance. In another blog post coming up very soon we will be elaborating on this project to show you how to take your candle tray to the next level. So, check back often for more fun blog posts like this one. I would love to see how your basic decorated candle trays look when you complete them. If you have comments or questions or just need some help please let me know in the comments box bellow. If you do not see a comments box below please click here to join the conversation.
Visit www.vintagebellydance.com to hire Adonia Belly Dance at your next Chicago wedding, birthday party, or special event. Love, your Chicago Belly Dancer!