Monday, December 1, 2008

DIY Pendant Lampshade

This is the story of my lampshade, which I mentioned in my last post, I think, as one of the projects that were necessary to complete before my house tour. I had actually started this one prior to the whole tour shenanigans, but it just took longer to complete. It all started when I wandered across this bowl on the internet:

It reminded me of a pendant lamp I had once seen, and I really liked it, so I did a little googling, but to no avail. The only thing that was remotely similar that turned up was the bowl itself. So I turned to Apartment Therapy for help and wrote in to see if anyone knew where I could find such a lamp. There were some suggestions, but nothing exactly what I wanted. I did find out though that a similar style is often used in barns. One suggestion that I did like though, was to convert the bowl instelf into the lamp. I was a little nervous about actually buying the bowl and drilling a hole through it, as it was a $90 bowl, and given my skills, I would end up with a $90 pile of ceramic fragments. So I thought I would make it out of clay myself. After purchasing lots of supplies, I sat down with my Sculpy clay, my armature wire, my nifty little wooden clay tool, and my rolling pin. Turns out Sculpy clay is a lot heavier than the armature wire I had bought though, so that idea was out, but it was too flimsy to hold the waves by itself. So after about three tries of having it all collapse in a miserable heap, I finally got a system that worked. I had an upside-down bowl that held up the middle, and sharpie markers held up on little clay supports that held up the waves. I had also had to pre-bake a ring that was the width of the mouth of the globe that I was planning to use over the light bulb, to make sure it all fit together. Once I got the lamp shade baked and tried it out with the globe though, I decided it was just way too big, and I ended up not using it after all.

After baking the shade in the oven (the beauty of Sculpey clay), I was a little worried it wouldn't hold up, as it had some cracks and seemed a bit fragile. Boyfriend came up with the idea to use fiberglass cloth and epoxy on both the top and the bottom of the lampshade, like in autobody repair, and it did the trick. It had a bit of texture after that though, so the next step was sanding the fiberglass and then applying a thin layer of spackle to smooth out any remaining roughness. That had to then be sanded and finally it got a couple of coats of high gloss white spray paint. I had previously purchased a plug-in hanging light from ikea, which worked quite nicely with the shade. It's a little more organic looking than the original, but I was quite pleased with how it turned out.

1 comment:

Ashley said...

Laura, that is so awesome! I saw it on the Apt Therapy site, but it's so much better when you describe all the work (and irritation) you went through to make it work!

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