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Friday, December 8, 2017

Lamp Making

Another of my projects I wanted to make for the new sunroom, is a lamp. I’ve had frames, the lampstand and all the makings for so long. I keep saying that, but somehow I managed to get distracted in a thousand ways and many of the things I planned were pushed further and further down the list. I would guess I’m not alone in that habit. Here is the latest with some basic instructions, because it really is an easy project to create.

A few basic supplies include: FabriTac or any kind of clear drying glue, a lamp frame, something to create the panels (fabric or fancy paper), scissors, and trims, cotton twill tape (optional). 

The other part is the lamp standard. You could find one at the thrift store, or perhaps some place like Michaels??? The lamp frames I found in a couple of places years ago, a fabric store in the home decor section and a craft store that focused on things like book, lamp and other specialty items in classes and/or supplies. I bet there are tons of sources online.

To begin I used a similar shape frame like this. I didn’t think to take a picture of mine before I started, but this is a reference picture.


I used a handmade rice paper to cover my frame. The first step is to use some paper towel and lay the panels on the paper and draw an outline of the shape. I would advise drawing the panel larger after you have traced it. You never want to trace it to the size it is, so add a good half inch all around what you traced. Trace out the panels that are different, some lamp shades have all the same, some have 2 or more different shapes.

Before applying the paper or fabric panels, consider how you want to cover the wire frame on the inside. I didn’t have cotton twill on hand, so after I was done applying the panels I glued on cotton lace. It serves to make it look properly finished on the inside.

If you use the cotton twill, you will wrap the frame entirely before you start attaching the panels. Be sure, whatever you use, that it’s cotton. You’ll fight with gluing the panels on if you use anything like satin ribbon or other.


Applying the panels is not difficult, you will be lining them up on the panels, gluing them in place and trim the edges. In the picture below you can see how the paper takes on the shape of the frame. If you use paper, make sure it’s a sturdy paper. Mind is a couple of layers of rice paper, with botanicals pressed in between the sheets. If you can find handmade papers, or make your own, it will make a really pretty, finished lamp.

In this lamp, I first covered the triangle shaped panels front and back first, the remaining panels I laid the paper onto the frame, pressed it into shape on the wire. I lifted it off in sections, applied the glue, then held it down until it began to adhere.

I wrapped the excess around the wire. Snip the paper where you need to, to fit into corners and so on. Trim the excess paper, be careful not to snip too close. Don’t try to force the paper to take on the actual shape of the frame. If I had used fabric, I think that would have laid flatter on the panels. The paper wanted to bow outward, so I let that happen, it wasn’t important to force it to go flat.


Once the panels are covered, it’s time to trim your lamp. Whatever you choose, you’ll want to pin it in place all around. Once you have it all trimmed, go around in sections gluing it on. Remember to trim the top edge.


My final couple of finishing tips are to add fringe around the base, I also glue trim above over the edge of the fringe. The I wrapped some left over fringe around the pull cord and trimmed it with some of the trim above.

The lamp standard itself was made for me years ago. When I worked in home care, one of the elderly men I worked for, lived in an apartment building that had a wood working shop in the basement. He loved to make things on his lathe and I was lucky enough to receive some beauties from him. This lamp is approx. 2 feet tall, and I have two shorter ones that match this. Thank you Stan.. ;o)  At the very end, I applied a coat of Mod Podge on both sides, it helps to tighten up the paper and the dust won’t settle on the paper, ensuring it stays clean.


The final touch was to plug it in and see just how pretty it looks. Now I can’t wait for the flooring to go in, in the sunroom, so I can start setting up the furniture. I hope this has inspired you to tackle this kind of project. You can find all kinds of old lamps at thrift stores. Just clean off what’s covering the frame, clean off any old glue, bumps and bruises and maybe just rub some steel wool or sand paper lightly over the frame to remove any potential burs that might stab you or your paper. You can find lamp wiring parts at hard ware stores if you find an old lamp standard but the wiring is old and not in good shape. Rewiring a lamp isn’t hard, YouTube is a great resource too.. Enjoy ;o)


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