Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Yet Again...But Not!

Yet again, my wonderful husband doubted my ability to make an ugly lamp work for our space.

In these lamps defense, our hatred against them has grown in the last few weeks as they sat unattended to in a corner of our living room. I knew I was going to redo them, I just didn't know where they were going to end up!

Then the family room re-do came into play and suddenly, they had a place to live.

These, my friends, are my $5 lamps- or $2.50 each (freshly re-wired and everything! YAY!)

Pardon the cleaning supplies! I realized I should probably take a before picture before I got them going!

These lamps actually had me second guessing myself over and over again, because after redoing the family room, the Brass wasn't too horrific. I know! Bite my tongue...brass is always horrific. But something about the gold with the yellow we put behind the bookshelves kind of complimented each other. I almost debated switching out the shade and calling it a day.

Thankfully, Nate said, "No. Absolutely not. I agreed to these because you said they weren't going to be brass."

Fair enough, dearest husband, fair enough.

He had already seen my victory in spray painting lamps here, and was starting to trust the concept, but he, like most men, can not see a finished project. It's just how his brain works. He can understand what I'm going for but he can't see how a brass and ceramic lamp can turn into a...not brass and ceramic lamp.

Because we have already talked about spray painting a lamp, we will skip that step and I'll just tell you that these were going to be painted matte black. I'll also tell you that this exciting adventure includes covering my own lamp shades!


So, you'll have to pardon these pictures, my camera charger seems to be missing...I ordered a new one but I was half way through this project when it died, also, please forgive the lack of picture for the inspiration for this as I never got a picture of it.

The inspiration for these shades came from a valance I made for the window in the built in using the fabric you are about to see. I thought the left overs would be super cute for these shades, and once my new charger gets here I'll get a real picture with the DSLR that shows what the heck I am talking about.

In the mean time, and in accordance to this story, I went to JoAnn's and picked up two "cover-able lamp shades"

I didn't even know JoAnn's had these until I was back in that corner looking for duck cloth for the outdoor furniture. The drum shade usually runs $15 a piece but thankfully, after sales and coupons, I was able to walk out with both shades for $12. I was ecstatic. When I did the yellow lamp it cost me $25 for the one drum shade! It made my project have a much higher "end cost" than I wanted it to. I'm cheap- so sue me.

The other great thing about these lamp shades is that they have a paper cover on them that is your pattern for cutting out your fabric. Once the paper is off, the lampshade is sticky making it super easy to adhere the fabric.

Once I got home and cleared off the ol' table I figured it was go time. Please remember, I've never done this before either! It was just something I thought I should try, so things I did are going to be different than say...if my mother did it. In fact, my mom would probably shake her head in disappointment over how I ghetto rigged this up.

First, I peeled off my pattern and put it on my fabric right-side-up. This way I would adjust how I wanted my shade to look with the pattern of the fabric.

After pinning it down, I starting cutting it out. now, with a different kind of fabric, you could probably cut directly on the line, but this fabric frays like crazy so I wanted to leave some room to finish all of the edges.

(Finishing the edges means sewing the fray in so the fabric doesn't dissolve into nothing over time)

To do this, I eyeballed about a finger length out and cut the fabric. I use gingers sissors....because I'm crazy and sew and have to have not one, but 2 pairs of really insane siccors. If you aren't a frequent seamstress, you are going to want to designate a pair of NEW scissors in the house to be used exclusively for fabric; paper can really dull scissors causing uneven cuts on your fabric.

Also, don't be janky...iron your fabric. This fabric had a "no iron" warning on it so I cut my pattern around where my fold lines were.

Since I knew I was going to be making two lamps, I had my fabric folded in half so I wouldn't have to cut twice- if you're only making one lamp shade I think the recommended length was 3/4 of a yard.

After cutting out my shades, I sat down at my machine, folding about 1/4 inch of fabric over and doing a straight stitch around all sides. I did this so small that pinning it was pretty much obsolete, but if it makes you feel more confident, pin your edges. I have been sewing for over ten years so most of the time I don't pin because they piss me off, but again, my mother who has been sewing for like 50 years would smack me upside the head if I said on an international blog that pinning wasn't needed so....if it makes you feel more confident- pin.

After I had all four sides stitched down, I folded THAT seam over and sewed down each side again with a straight stitch. This makes it so the fraying edge is completely sealed within the seam- if it frays it has to go through not one, but two rows of stitching and a couple folds before it will ruin my shade. Since I don't plan on wearing my shades like a dress I don't think they'll fray at all but I didn't want to take any risks.

Towards the bottom of this image you can see the original fold- up by the foot you can see the second fold to seal it off.

After all this hoopla was done, I stuck them to the shade using only the sticky stuff provided. Then, as I had some extra, I folded the fabric up over the top of the shade and glued the fabric to the shade. This gave the shade a clean look.

Note: I totally sucked and couldn't find my glue gun so I may or may not have used Liquid Nails. Wouldn't recommend it as it didn't dry completely clear but since my fabric was off white anyway it didn't really bother me. wouldn't have bothered me if I had used Liquid Nails. ...Cough.

To finish off the bottom, I used a single package (for both lamps) of wide, double fold, bias tape. If you want to trim the top and the bottom buy a package of tape per lamp.

TIP: If you have a Wal-Mart with a sewing section by you, buy your Notions from there instead of JoAnn's. It is so much cheaper (notions are your thread, needles, bias tape, zippers, etc...)

I ran a bead of glue along both sides of the lamp and stuck it to the bottom of the lamp (wrapping around the bottom)
why yes, I did jankily attach my lamp upside down on the base to adhere my bias tape.

Just a heads up, you are going to have a seam on your shade where your two ends will overlap. I glued one to the other and called it a day- I'll just have the seam face the wall.

While the shades dried over night (just to be safe as Liquid Nails is really flammable while wet...if I'd used hot glue or tacky glue this wouldn't have been an issue...) I went outside to spray paint the bases.

Remember with spray painting, keep your hands moving. Don't stop moving your arms or you will get crazy drips and clumps all over your stuff. Also, wrap the electrical stuff up so paint doesn't get into your outlets.

All in all, I'd say this project took about 4 hours (probably less...I was half watching TV too) not including drying time, and I really like the final result!

As you can see, on the top of one of them I missed a spot (which I didn't see until I got back inside the next day) so they'll probably head outside for one more coat of black. I'll also get you a final placement photo once my camera charger gets here.

As for the price breakdown, I'll do per lamp.

Lamp: $2.50
Fabric: $0 (I bought it for a different project and didn't use it, but if I had bought it just for this it would have been about $7- I had the really awesome Home Decor fabric, but you could use cotton or anything you wanted)
Notions: $0.75 (Again, I owned everything but the bias tape which was about $1.50 at Wal-Mart per package)
Glue: $0 (already owned)
Spray Paint: $2 (used less than one can for both lamps)
Shade: $6

This puts this entire lamp makeover at the low end of  $11.25 per lamp.

If I had to buy everything for it (including fabric, which can sometimes be as low as $1 a yard) It probably would have cost me about $20-25 a lamp.

Not too shabby for a quick weekend project! What did everyone get accomplished last weekend?


  1. They look awesome! I love the matte black spray paint. Brilliant!

  2. Cute, but I think you need another strip of hem tape for the top, would look so much more finished!

    1. Thanks Jennifer!

      We had top tape all ready to put on but since black shrinks everything it made it look very short. By leaving it off it looks much taller, which is why we decided just to do the bottom.


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