Groovy Lamp Shade Upgrade




Introduction: Groovy Lamp Shade Upgrade

This lamp, which I acquired three years ago from an Asheville Goodwill for $5, has survived way past its expected lifetime. Apparently it's an "Älang" Ikea lamp and goes for $40, but honestly, it's not a very interesting lamp. It's plain, it's dull, it's boring! It must be made groovy and psychedelic like my other decor!!

Or at least that was the thought process behind me ardently taking an X-acto knife to the poor thing on Day 65 of Quarantine.

My original intention was just to cut off the woven pattern and replace the outside, but I quickly discovered just how crappy and ancient my lamp was when the plastic base completely fell apart. Thus, this overly complex lamp shade project began, as I sought to fix what I had done (while also making it groovalicious of course).

Step 1: Tear It Up!

The first step was to cut the broken plastic and cloth away from the metal skeleton using my trusty X-acto. I took note of the original height and construction of the lamp shade for future reference, and then promptly went to down on destroying it.

Since my skeleton only had a bottom and top, and I didn't have a replacement plastic sturdy enough to hold up the weight of the metal rim while still letting light through, I cut up some old metal hanging folders to harvest the rods as supports.

I used some tin snips to carefully cut the flat metal folder rods to the height I wanted (9"), and then carefully filed them with a metal file until they were all the same length (and smooth enough to not cut me in the next step).

Step 2: Making and Securing the Supports

Using a lava lamp to hold up the skeleton (aka alien spacecraft), my mum and I carefully hot glued each rod to the inside of the skeleton. I recommend doing one connection at a time, holding it in place to ensure it's perpendicular and secured before moving on.*

If the glue gets too blobby, that's ok! You can use the metal tip of the hot glue gun to re-melt and smooth down the bumps, and carefully cut off extra globs with the X-acto.

*Note: if your skeleton pieces are separate like this, make VERY sure you're attaching them together the right way! We nearly glued the rods the wrong direction, which would have made the lightbulb stick above the actual shade, haha.

Step 3: Paper Time!

Time to pick and cut your paper! It's good to check how it layers with the cloth you want to use; make sure that enough light comes through, but that it's still opaque enough for the pattern to be visible. I used a sheet from an 18x24 Strathmore Drawing pad.

We measured the height and perimeter of our new skeleton, and after doing a bit of math that was unnecessarily difficult for our sluggish quarantine brains, we cut the pieces needed. Since my pad was only 24 inches long, we had to use some of another strip, which we overlapped and attached with contact cement.* We did a test wrap-around of the new long strip, trimming and readjusting to make sure it all sat flush and mostly covered the metal.

*Note: this overlapping strip will be more opaque than the rest, so keep that in mind when placing it later!

Step 4: Time to Get Groovy

Groovy fabric in hand, I went outside with our bottle of 3M Super 77 Spray Adhesive. (seriously, follow that ventilated area warning!)

We laid the paper flat on our porch, sprayed the entire surface, and quickly but carefully pressed the fabric onto it. Make sure to not leave any bubbles or folds; in this early stage, it should be easy to pull it back up and flatten it out.

We left it to dry for about 15 minutes, then carefully cut the fabric away along the edges of the paper.

Step 5: Attaching Your Groovy New Shade

This part was a doozy, and requires a lot of patience (and ventilation).

We attached the shade to one support at a time using contact cement, making sure to also attach the top and bottom skeleton all the way around section by section. As per the usual rules of contact cement, make sure to evenly spread it on both pieces you're attaching (i.e. the metal AND the strip of paper that will be touching it), then hold them together until they feel somewhat secure.

As you can see above, we went back to the desk for this step, but I'd HIGHLY recommend staying in your ventilated area while applying this much contact cement. (Seriously, this step probably would've been much easier for us if we hadn't breathed in so many fumes, whoops)

Step 6: Gettin' Fancy With Some Trim

I could have stopped before this step, but I wanted to make it look extra fancy, so I decided to add a nice cloth trim to cover the edges. I used a pack of white bias tape from my sewing days, but pretty much any strip of fabric would work.

We cut two long strips to be a little more than the perimeter of the lamp, and brought them outside to spray the insides with more Super 77. This turned out to be a huge pain because bias tape doesn't like to stay unfolded, but we forged ahead. We managed to hold it flat by securing it to a paper bag with double-sided tape.

Once it was evenly sprayed, I pressed it around the rim of the lampshade to cover the rough edge, and folded it around the inside metal frame. It really helps to have another person hold the sticky bias tape off to the side while you do this, because it will want to stick together and turn into a tangled mess!

A word of hindsight: The Super 77 worked great, but it didn't hold up as well over time. The outside still looks perfect, but the inside rim came unstuck. I would recommend following the above steps, and then going back to secure the inside rim with hot-glue!

Step 7: Enjoy the Groovy Final Product!!

My new lampshade turned out lovely, and matches the psychedelic orange-purple aesthetic of my room very well!
Some lessons were definitely learned, but hopefully they can be of use to my fellow personalization-obsessed crafters! <3

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    2 years ago

    Wonderful. Love it!


    2 years ago

    Super 77 for the win. Looks SO much better than a generic IKEA product


    2 years ago

    Well done.