Tuesday, October 9, 2012

D all the Ys: Recovering a Lampshade

Like any sensible person, one of my first thoughts on hearing that I could actually have a job was "Crap! Now I have to finish all my projects." I have actually been really good about doing projects and spending time with friends and doing lots of yoga. (Not so good at applying for jobs, but as you can see, laziness and patience paid off.)

But there are nevertheless several projects that are hanging about in an intermediate state that I would like to complete.

Here's the first one.

Time required: 15 minutes to complete project, 2 hours to wander around fabric store and choose fabric
Materials required: lamp without a shade, new shade, spray adhesive, fabric, newspaper, scissors, blue tape
Project ease rating: 0 swears

I know, 0 swears seems like madness! But this really was super-easy. I tend to be a little obsessive about finding the tutorial that perfectly matches my situation. And then I was like, fuggedaboutit. Let's start with the offending shade - just a plain old white lampshade from the as-is area, because I guess someone decided they didn't really want their lamp to have a shade.

For the record, my lamp once did have a shade. It was really cute, too, but it was thin and papery and after 3 or 4 moves I finally punched a hole in it. So the lamp base sat in the basement for two years and then I got the floors done and was like OMG I need to have all new nifty things but wait I have a lamp sort of!

I looked at a bunch of tutorials online and found them kind of lacking. Obviously not so lacking that I wasn't able to make the project, but I was left with some questions and there were some that were just outright giving bad advice.

So, first make a pattern. This is accomplished by wrapping up your lampshade in newspaper or other pattern-making material. If all you have is small half-sized advertising flyers because who buys the newspaper these days? then you will need some tape to make them bigger. You're probably too lazy to find the transparent tape and don't own any masking tape, so you just kind of tack it together with the blue tape you've got on the workbench.

Trim your pattern using the edge of the lampshade as a guide. It does not have to be exact. Really. It really doesn't. Lay that puppy down on your fabric. You can use your washing machine for a cutting table if your workbench is dirty, which it is, because you hammer and paint stuff directly on there and when the guys came to finish the floors, some of the finish glopped through.

Now, here is the part that you have to pay attention. Notice all the blue tape? That is because you cannot be bothered to pin the pattern to the fabric like a normal person. The tape is right there, while the pins are all the way up on the second floor. It does not need to be exact, because you aren't going to cut on the lines anyway. Your fabric needs to be about an inch larger than your pattern on all sides, because you are going to make a seam and fold the edges over the edges of the lampshade. So cutting exactly on the lines is going to cause swearing when you go to put it on your lampshade unless you have some really cute ric-rac to glue over the edge. Which is an option. But maybe you don't have ric-rac. You may have chosen only to have awesome things such as grommet tape and snap tape and death bunny shoelaces. You can use those if you want, but maybe not if your lamp is going in your grown-up living room.

So yeah. Cut out the fabric, but make it an inch bigger on all sides. Use fabric-cutting scissors for this or you will start swearing.

Okay, now it's time to bust out the spray adhesive. Some of the tutorials recommend hot glue. Here is a comparison of the two:

Spray adhesive: Comes in a can. Probably has toxic propellants and probably should be used in a well-ventilated area. Sticks to everything. Makes your hands really sticky. Takes a while to dry. If you don't position stuff right you can unstick it and reposition it before it dries.

Hot glue: Comes in sticks. Can use it in any room with an outlet. Makes your hands all burny when you touch it. Glops and forms bumps. Dries really fast. If you don't position stuff right you can throw your project away and start over.

Right, so spray your spray adhesive on the fabric and the lampshade. Two sticky things with extra stick!!!

Position your fabric.

Try to roll the fabric on. The fabric will probably end up sticking to itself, but you can just unstick it because you used spray adhesive.

When you've got it on there, pull and tug to smooth out any wrinkles. Yet another selling point for the spray adhesive.

Fold over the seam and spray it some more so it stays down.


Then turn your shade so you are looking at the inside. There's your extra. Now, if you're picky and want to fold over the same amount all the way around (because you're going to be wearing your lampshade, I assume, since I don't know when else you'd be looking at the inside), you can trim the edge and make it even. I did.

MORE spray adhesive for the edge and inside of the lampshade. You want that mess to stick.

Fold the edge inside all the way around. Cut slits every few inches. This is a sewing trick that allows the fabric to go around curves. That way you won't have it folding on itself. It'll just overlap itself neatly.

Some of the tutorials recommended using binder clips to hold the edges secure while they dried. You may choose to skip this if the binder clips are up on the second floor with the pins or if you are likely to end up with binder clips glued to the lampshade.

And here you are: a finished lampshade!

Final step: Go wash the dishes. This will not only provide you with clean dishes, but also remove the spray adhesive from your hands.

Here's the feline-approved final product, in situ!

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