Friday, January 7, 2011

Lamp Revival!

I've collected a few vintage-y looking lamps in the past few months, of which I am very fond.

And the newest addition:

And they all have similar styles! How lucky. The first one came from a vintage store, but the second and third I snagged from Goodwill on separate occasions. I consider this quite a feat, since our Goodwill is nothing to brag about. Unfortunately, lamp #3 was not in great condition and the darn Goodwill lady didn't give me a discount. Is it bad to haggle at Goodwill? I thought $15 was a lot since the lamp was missing so many pieces and needed repairs. Oh well. Still cheaper than I would get elsewhere I suppose. Anyway, as I stood in line to checkout, the helpful man in line behind me told me I could get the pieces I need easily at the hardware store and do the repairs myself. So I did. Here is what I bought:

It's a socket. And it was quite easy to install. All you need is a screw driver. I should have taken pictures as I went, but I didn't. This website, however, provides guidance and pictures for fixing up a lamp. Praise the internet! You can learn anything! But really, for just replacing a socket you don't need instructions. Except for maybe, DON'T DO THIS WITH LAMP PLUGGED IN. But that is obvious, I hope.

Then, feeling handy and crafty, I decided to tackle a project which has been lingering for many months in a corner of our tiny living room: covering a lampshade with pretty paper. The before version is the first lamp picture (at top). The finished version is this:

The simple drum shape of this lampshade made the project much easier. All I did was cover the shade in Mod Podge (I used the matte kind), rolled it over carefully over the paper, and then trimmed the excess off leaving a little on either end to fold over to the inside. Here is a view of the inside:

You can see that there is only a very little bit folded to the inside. I initially had too much, like this:

The problem of leaving so much extra is that when I turned the lamp on, it was visible on the outside - like an ugly, dark, uneven border. So I had to trim it back. Finally, I brushed a layer of Mod Podge over the top of the paper to protect it. The paper was quite delicate, and the Mod Podge creates a sort of plastic film over it. I might go back with a second coat, just to make sure. Mod Podge looks like Elmer's glue in the bottle, but it dries clear.

You can also cover lampshades with fabric, although you might want to experiment with different types of glue. Here is nice tutorial showing how, on a blog I just discovered: Isabella and Max Rooms.

I would love to see how people tackle more complicated lamp shade shapes (tongue twister!). For now, I'll stick with the simple ones. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Test your paper first by holding up against the shade with the light on. Some papers may not be transparent as you like, or too transparent, and imperfections on the shade might show through.
  • Shades that look like simple cylinders may be wider at one end or another. Make sure to leave yourself enough room on your paper or fabric for the curved shape that these form when laid flat.
  • Carefully smooth out bubbles and wrinkles as you wrap.
  • Cover the ENTIRE outside of the shade with Mod Podge when covering it with paper. I didn't at first and it created lots of unsightly bubbles.
  • Where the paper overlaps at the back (the seam) keep the overlap narrow and neat. Depending on how transparent your paper is, this seam will show.

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