Saturday, November 17, 2012

DIY Lampshade to Try at Home

You may have seen these before in the form of a lampshade, usually for a small light bulb (eg. a reading light) made from seemingly nothing but string.
They are brilliant and so easy. I've made 3 so far. Here is the first one...

This one is quite big so it's still sitting on the shelf acting as more of an "ornament" for now until I find a nice big light bulb for it. 

 This is a smaller version that I made in a pair for our reading lights by our bed. These didn't turn out as well as the first attempt because when the balloon popped it kind of sucked the string into itself (imploded?). Even so, I quite like the messy effect it gives, it looks like it might have been intentional (which, of course, it wasn't).

So how do you make them? Well. All you need is a balloon, some PVA glue and some string. It's quite a messy job so newspaper on the work surface is probably wise.

Blow up the balloon and knot it. It helps to sit it on something. I used a flower pot.

Lightly paint you balloon with a mixture of 3/4 PVA glue (that Elmer's for the yanks)  and 1/4 water. Tie the string to the knot in the balloon.

Now its time to wrap. And wrap. And wrap a bit more, until the whole balloon is covered. Try going in different directions, making sure to cross any gaps that appear. Then cover the whole thing in a layer of pure PVA and let it dry.

Give it a while. At least 24 hours to be sure. The string should be hard and the balloon will probably be looking quite limp inside it's string shell. Pop the balloon (or if you have an irrational phobia of this, like I do, get a friend or family member to do it for you). Then all you have to do is cut around the top to create a hole just big enough to slip over your light bulb. And there you go....almost free, super easy and totally funky looking lampshades!
A nice Christmas decoration idea is to make lots of slightly smaller ones in Christmas colours, cut very small holes and use them as little lamp shades for your fairy lights... ay, ay?! I'll get back to you if I get around to trying that.

I've also done  a variation of this project. Instead of string, I've used coloured leaf skeletons that I snagged for a bargain at Botany Bay (amazing for craft supplies, who knew?). Same process as before, except when the PVA glue had dried, I coated it in a layer of yellow glass varnish.

                     Here is my balloon lamp drying after it's PVA coating.

Below you can see how the bright pinks, greens and blues change to a more muted autumnal colour theme after the yellow varnish coat, which I really like. The varnish is also heat proof for up to 60 watts so no fire hazard (probably).

Here is the finished product...

Here are the materials I used...

Good Luck and Happy Crafting!

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