By Patricia Hall, FairfaxFamilyFun.com
I’m always up for a creative challenge and it had been some time since I did something crafty. So when Chick-fil-A suggested creating something fun out of one of its salad containers, I jumped in. For Mother’s Day, Chick-fil-A had sent me gift cards to try a new Spicy Southwest salad and a Frosted Coffee, with a nice card and a challenge to “upcycle” the salad container.
Enjoying the salad and frosted coffee, two new menu items, was easy. I generally avoid spicy salads, but this one is milder than expected and it came with interesting toppings such as pepitas (those are really spicy, though). The frosted coffee – a blend of the chain’s Icedream with coffee – was good, and I needed to keep my kid from stealing it from me. It’s not quite the “mocha cookies and cream” milkshake that Chick-fil-A got rid of a couple of years ago (bwwaaa!) but the Frosted Coffee makes me forgive them a little for it. 😉
Back to the project: after I washed my salad container, I started to think of creative, practical ways to recycle or repurpose it. I had already seen some cute things my fellow Chick-fil-A Moms panel members had made (see the tips at the end of this post) and was having a hard time thinking of something original. Then I noticed the tiny little holes on the clear lid. The top of the salad container has four little air/vent holes, which seemed perfect for putting a string through them to then hang the lid upside down… maybe for a bird-feeder? Nah, that would be too open.
And then I saw the light – literally. I imagined that with some electric tealight “candles” on top, this could be a cute hanging light. Within a few minutes, I had a final plan: a little party chandelier! And in less than a half-hour later, I actually had it all done, using items I already had.
Mind you, I did this spontaneously and with items I already had. Imagine what you can do if you plan it out! This is a super-duper easy project and it will cost you less than $5 to make each “lamp” if you keep it simple. Here’s what you will need for each do-it-yourself (DIY) chandelier:
- A clean Chick-fil-A salad container (save both pieces!)
- Battery-operated tealight candles
- Lightweight plastic necklaces or strings of beads
- Durable string, thin fabric ribbon, slim plastic beads, or other material for hanging
- Scissors and tape (clear, double-sided, or adhesive beads/dots)
- Optional decorative elements: colored tissue paper, ribbons, stickers, acrylic rhinestones, etc.)
I kept my decorative elements simple, using just some plastic Mardi Gras beads that I happened to have in my party supplies. For the tealights, I found some LED lights (batteries included) that were two for a dollar at Dollar Tree.
1. Choose your hanger. For the hangers, I just used two mismatched strings of plastic micro-beads that were also with my Mardi Gras decorations. I did have to widen the holes in the lid a bit, but that was easy: the tip of a steak knife fits in the holes, and a simple side-to-side motion a few times helps to open them up more. I unhooked the beads, crisscrossed them at the top of the lid, looped them through the holes, and connected them them again to have two loops. You could do the same with two pieces of string or ribbon, tying the loose ends together.
2. Place the tealights and your first set of beads. Then I put in my four LED tealights and – surprise! – four fit PERFECTLY on the square indentation of the lid where the Chick-fil-A logo is, and I do mean absolutely perfectly. Next, I looped one of my regular strands of bead over the curvy edge of the lid, doing the same on the opposite side, adjusting the string of beads as needed. When they looked even, I put a piece of tape on each side to hold the beads down.
I only had the opaque/matte tape, which shows clearly on the lid, so I would recommend using the glossy/transparent type of tape instead. You also could use double-sided tape or even adhesive dots, but keep in mind other beads and items you add later might stick to these.
3. Add additional beads and decorations. After I had my first string of beads down, I added more in no specific pattern (I did this on the fly and went just by sight!). It helps to hang your “chandelier” somewhere so you can see how it’s turning out; I used one of those banana bunch holders (mine is plastic, so I had to weigh it down with something). In a few minutes, I had a whimsical “chandelier” which might not work if you’re hosting a state dinner, but which would make a cute decoration for a summer gathering, girls’ night in, play room, or little girl’s princess party.
Depending on what you use, you could end up with many different looks: clear beads and stick-on rhinestones (the kind you find at craft stores) could give you something that looks like a crystal chandelier, while with stickers, ribbons, and other craft items you could have a custom or themed look. Below are photos of what my really basic, spur-of-the-moment chandelier looked like.
Hallway (flash photo):
Fully darkened room (actually the closet; no flash):
Out on my covered deck:
Same view, but close up:
Best of all, when I decided to put it away, I realized all I had to do was turn off the tealights, put them in the bottom half of the salad container, fold the loose beads over the ones that were taped down, close the container and – voila! – now I had them stored and my party chandelier was portable!
Want to make your own? Here are some more tips:
- Don’t buy high-quality craft beads: no need to waste money, and they’re often too heavy; simple “toy” ones will do.
- Don’t glue the tealights down: unless you expect a lot of wind or movement (see next tip), you’ll want to be able to lift them up easily each time to turn them on and off and to store them, and if you use four lights, the ridge of the square on the center of the lid will keep them from sliding around.
- Location, location, location: these work best for indoor use or for low-wind areas. If you’re going to use them outdoors or in a high-traffic area (such as a tabletop during a party), you’ll want to secure decorations as much as possible and probably glue or tape down the lights.
- Get creative: add pieces of ribbon, strips of colorful tissue paper, or more! Let the kids go wild!
- Think seasonal: this would be a cute thing to try with season-specific colors during Fourth of July, Halloween, or Christmas, for example! Happy crafting!
- Don’t need a party chandelier? See these ideas from other moms for upcycling your salad container: a succulent garden, a seed starter, LEGO travel set, a sand letter bin, an Eye Spy game, and even a jewelry holder!
Note: I am a member of the Chick-fil-A Moms panel and occasionally receive gift cards and other items. Making this craft was a fun, optional project. No compensation was received and I share it just for fun for my readers and the community. #chickfilamomsDIY