Sunday, August 16, 2009

DIY Sundays: Skeletal Lamping


Another rainy Sunday, another perfect excuse for indoor crafting. And what better a winter project than one which promises to cast beautiful, warm, cozy light around your bedroom, perfect for reading or moodious snuggling?

I am aware of two ways of covering your own lampshades using a dashing fabric of your choice. My way, and the proper way.

For perfectionists, excellent instructions for the proper way can be found on the fantastic Melbourne craft blog kirin notebook. For this particular method, you will need to find a wire lampshade frame. I hear you can get them from good craft stores. I was unable to find one.

For my lazy method, you will need a pre-existing lampshade, which is made of a fairly sturdy plastic interior, over which fabric has been glued (I just bought some ugly shades which were on sale at a lighting store). You will also need some spray-adhesive which you can buy at an art store for around $10, and which will soon become your new best friend. Not only does the aerosol make you feel a fun kind of giddy, but the glue itself is all kinds of useful for neat, sticky application of one surface to another. Think of the possibilities! You will also need to acquire some pretty fabric of your choice, and probably more than you think you need. I'd go with cotton or linen or some other kind of non-stretch material. Quilting fabric is perfect. I would also recommend a pattern with at least a little bit of white, because this enables some beautiful pure light to shine through. (For Canberra readers, I have four words: Addicted to Fabric, Phillip. Best fabric shop on the south, or I'd imagine, any side of our humble town.)


1. This slightly dodgy process (which I completed so quickly that I took no photographs, apologies) requires you to rip the existing fabric off the plastic interior of your lampshade. I found this fairly simple with the shade I purchased: I simply made an incision on the top of the shade using scissors, and cut and tore it off in sections. If your shade is too flimsy it is likely that chunks of plastic will come off with the fabric, which is why I recommend a fairly robust product.

2. Measure and cut your fabric to shape, making sure you leave at least two centimetres overhang for both the top and bottom of the shade.

3. Spray both the shade and fabric with spray adhesive. Wait for the glue to feel tacky, then carefully stick the fabric over the shade, as if applying contact to school books. The spray adhesive should make this step remarkably easy, messy and wrinkle free. Make sure you leave a few centimetres overlap at the back of the frame, and stick these together firmly.

4. For a neat top and bottom, you want to fold the fabric over the top of the shade, then hook it under the wire that runs around the top of the frame. So measure and cut the overhang so that when folded inside the shade the edge will tuck neatly underneath the wire. Apply a little spray adhesive to the wire, then use your fingernails to glue the fabric securely underneath it. Repeat for the base of the frame (detailed diagrams of this step can be found at kirin notebook).

5. Screw your shade onto your lamp base, and add a globe which will cast a nice, gentle, warm light.

NB. I bought my two mismatching milk glass bases at an antique store for a fairly decent price. They were pretty dusty and disgusting at the time, but cleaned up real nice and fresh. I recommend you hunt around for some pretty and unique ones, otherwise you can pick up fairly plain metal bases at furniture stores like IKEA and Freedom.

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