Friday, September 13, 2013

Lamp Shades and Spiders and Plastic Beads, Oh My

On the theory that you can find instructions for anything online, I researched how to make a lamp shade. Too many instructions start with "Take any old lamp shade and recover it with fancy paper." Or paint it.

There's a sexy pendant lamp made from rings of plywood and cardboard. (Thank you, Instructables)  You need a jigsaw. This would be dandy, except for my fear of jigsaws. I can order one  -- a lamp, that is-- on Etsy for about $50, including postage. This is more than my budget for 4 lamp shades.

Papier mache is a favorite in the crafty crowd. There are pages of Google entries that I will spare you.
Another set of instructions advises me to deconstruct 10 to 15 wire hangers, form 2 rings, and cut 10 vertical struts to be hotglued in place and wound with fabric strips.  Only when that is done do you begin to construct the shade covering, which, based on the precision of the prior instructions, is undoubtedly lined and silk. I'm not using hot glue with anything that I hope will last, such as silk.

I can start with a bare frame from the Lamp Shade Company, which has more listings for youtube videos than for a website. I'm sure this is a mere oversight. The bare frames cost more than I want to spend. And then there are the coverings. The result is a lamp shade that could be sold for $75. But I want lamp shades to disguise my compact fluorescents. That's all.

Perhaps I should take out my handy dandy soldering iron and solder some hanger wire to a metal washer, creating what is known as a spider. The metal washer could fit on to the shade harp, the wire spokes will reach to a ring which can be made of cardboard. And then find parchment paper and glue it to...over budget again.

Perhaps I've been too literal in my definition of lampshade. Perhaps what I really want is a lampshade made of plastic beads heated in an oven until they fuse into a multicolor form.

  Or a screening and wire basket. Or kitchen utensils.

Or I can go back to the 2nd hand stores and keep looking.