Friday, February 26, 2010

How To Make A Pajaki (or Polish Paper Chandelier!)

Hi Guys,

It should be noted that I’m one of those people who strongly believe that if you do your research, you can pretty much do, or become an expert at ANYTHING.

In my field (politics/pr) it has become glaringly obvious that those who go far are not the ones who know a lot about their given field, but those who know HOW to get the information necessary to succeed.

With all that in mind I found myself looking through the realm of craft blogs about a week ago, and came across the cutest thing ever!
On my quest to find the perfect paper chandelier (don’t ask me why, but I’m obsessed with them!) I came across this.

Upon further research, I found out that these festive crafts are a Polish decorative paper chandelier called ‘Pajaki’.
The prefect addition to all my outdoor entertaining!
Like all things, I thought that I’d be able to find instructions online, but couldn’t seem to find anything specific, so I looked at some pictures, and made my own pajaki, with a slightly different spin on it!

It doesn’t look exactly like some of the pictures, but turned out exactly how I wanted it to, all with things I had lying around the house (because I honestly can’t be bothered to go out and get things specifically for one craft!)

If you want to find out how to make your own Pajaki, keep on reading!

Time needed: About a day

Things you’ll need:
For the flowers:
·      Several colours of Tissue Paper (I had some lying around from my art days)
·      White Tissues (or Kleenex)
·      Wire to tie off the flowers
·      Patience

For the Structure:
·      Cardboard box
·      Masking tape
·      Paint
·      Skewers (or kabob sticks)
·      Thread or Wool
·      Coloured straws
·      Coloured paper
·      Clear string
·      Scissors

To Make Flowers:
  1. Cut between 6-8 equal rectangular pieces of tissue paper.
  2. Place them on top of each other and fold them accordion style.
  3. In the center wrap a piece of wire to keep the pieces in place (making sure to keep a small opening before twist tying the ends).
  4. For a varied look, round off or fringe the edges, then separate the layers!
  5. Repeat to make as many flowers as you like! I varied the sizes (to make small flowers for the top tier, medium ones all around, and one large one for the center).

To Make the Structure:
  1. For the white band (that I used as a divider between the two levels of flowers,) I used an old cardboard box.  To make things slightly easier I ended up flattening the box and cutting through the two layers of cardboard to get a more equal ring of cardboard.
  2. To give the ring a bit more structure (mine was very very flexible) I wrapped it with masking tape, and slapped on a layer of paint.

[Note: For a more permanent, more finished look, if you have the time I would suggest covering the cardboard ring with paper mache and foregoing the next few steps.]
    3. Since my cardboard tier was still a little floppy (and I wanted to add a few flowers in the center) I
        decided to take skewers and wrap them in a coloured thread or wool.  Since my ring was kind of
        large I took two skewers duct taped them to the appropriate length, then wrapped them in thread. 
   4.  Make two or more skewers (depending on how you want the support structure to look), and fit
        them into the ring creating tension and support to the structure. Tie the two skewers together in the
        center, forming an X structure.

For the Top Tier:
  1. Make 4 (or more) equal braids from the same thread or wool used earlier, and attach one end to each corner of the cardboard ring.
  2. Cut the coloured straws into smaller pieces, and thread them through the braid.
  3. Using clear thread and a needle, sew on the smaller flowers, in the desired place, filling up the gaps with additional straws pieces.
  4. Repeat step 3 for all four braids, tying them together in the center.

[Note: I used approximately 4 flowers per braid. Also keep in mind that the back of the flower will show from the top (since the flower will naturally be pulled down), however I didn’t find it to be too much of a problem, since you are looking at it from below (it’s a chandelier after all!) But if you want a more polished look, you can sew two together back to back.]

For the Bottom Tier:
  1. Take a variety of coloured paper and fold each sheet to the desired size, and cut out a circle or flower shape. Do this with several sheets of paper.
  2. Cut a long piece of clear string, with a needle attached.  This will form the diagonal bottom tier (so make sure it’s long enough!)
  3. Tie the end to a corner of the cardboard ring and begin stringing a paper circle, then a coloured straw. Repeat until just after a third of the way through.
  4. String one of the medium flowers through the wire space created earlier, making sure that it is secured in place.
  5. Continue adding the paper circles and straws, then add another flower, and repeat step 3 tying the end of the string to opposite side or the cardboard ring.
  6. Make a second garland slightly longer than the first to be tied below it.

[Note: It is important when making the bottom tier to keep both sides of the garland symmetrical, or else your pajaki might look a bit lopsided!]

So yeah, there you have it!
One very detailed description on how YOU can make your own pajaki.

Keep in mind though that I altered my chandelier a bit from the original photos I looked at online.  The best thing about this craft is that the variations are endless, and you end up with such a fun creation!

It can be as intricate or simple as you like!

If you want to check out the sites I looked at for inspiration, the links are below!


  1. your interpretation is fabulous
    and so kind of you to share how you made it

  2. Oh thanks SO much Margie....
    I absolutely LOVE your blog, and have been dying to learn how to felt pebbles (like you have on Etsy!), but it's pretty impossible to get your hands on supplies here in Bahrain!

  3. wow somebody from bahrain blogs too....
    this is my blog if you care

  4. Looks very festive - thanks for sharing the tutorial with us:)