Instructables

Vintage Clothing Lamps

Featured
Upcycled dance party decor!

This year PROMdemonium, "Ottawa’s radical, community-oriented, gender-bending, bike-loving, enviro-humping, queer-diggin, slow dancing, big dress wearing prom," moved to the National Arts Centre. While the classy venue was an exciting change of locale, the two huge formal rooms presented a challenge for PromD's decorations committee.

Our decorations needed to be fun, high impact, environmentally friendly and, since this is a fundraiser above all else, cheap.

Fortunately these vintage prom-wear lamps are all that and more!



The inspiration for these lights came from a photo by Tim Walker and matsutake's electrified fox lamp.

The first two photos posted here are thanks to the very talented Ming Wu.
 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: What you'll need

Picture of What you'll need
March 2011 073.jpg
March 2011 074.jpg
Supplies

-Dress or shirt and tie

Look for clothing that will let light shine through, nothing too thick or dark. When choosing the outfit at a thrift store hold it up towards a light source to see if it will let enough light through. Avoid dresses with thin straps and be aware that dresses with more structure will hold their shape better than flowy outfits.

-Lamp base

Ikea's Dudero lamp works perfectly for dresses
Ikea's Not lamp is great for shirts once you remove one section to make it shorter
Both of these lamps, and other similar styles, are easily found second hand on sites like craigslist & kijiji. We paid between $5 and $10 for each lamp.

-Stiffy or similar fabric stiffener

We were able to do about 3 dresses with one 472 ml bottle of Stiffy (stretched out with glue and water). How much you will need will depend on the size and material of the clothing you choose.

-White glue (optional)
-Plastic wrap or large plastic bags

-Dress form and/or tape

If you don't have a dummy on hand, you can make one by wrapping a volunteer in tape like so

-Wire (a metal hanger will work in a pinch)


Tools

-paintbrush
-pliers and wire cutters

-needle and thread
sunshiine3 years ago
I just love this entry. I was telling my friend in Seattle about your vintage idea and she requested the link. Great job, I was sure you were going to win! I am glad your jello shots did!
poofrabbit3 years ago
These are really cool, I voted for you, good luck!
boarderline3 years ago
Years ago i cut something similar out of a magazine because it looked so cool! It was a Hawaiian shirt with what i always thought were the bare wires of a large lampshade slightly molded into a torso perimter (good repurpose for old shades). The shirt shape was held entirely with the fabric stiffener. then the tall light like your setup. Another cool idea would be a sports team jersey - although the thickness might be tricky and require more internal support ( like chickenwire).

Great 'ible!
Hey these are awesome, was thinking they would be great for Halloween. Ghosts, yeah kinda done. But... walking down a sidewalk, the invisible family! It would be like cheery Halloween comedy
Nice! I love the the little blue dress. The yellow one is awesome creepy!
mikeasaurus3 years ago
nice lamps! I like you can just change their clothes to set a different mood.
BtheBike3 years ago
very 'Brothers Quay' . I love how clothes color and diffuse the lite .
Corvis3 years ago
I don't know about you guys, but if I saw floaty, glowing disembodied clothes in the shape of a person at night I would wet myself. Cool idea though.
ModMischief (author)  Corvis3 years ago
When I had 8 of them hanging around our apartment before the big event, I'd sometimes get spooked at night because I'd forget they were there and then think there were people in my living room when I caught them out of the corner of my eye.

It think it's all about context.

They looked pretty and festive with the rest of the decorations at Promdemonium, but if you picked clothes in more muted colours, these could easily become great haunted house props.