I will fully admit that the impetus for this costume came from me and not my daughter. I am a huge fan of Louis Comfort Tiffany's and I've wanted for some time to create an homage to his work.
Step 1: Planning and Prep
We are amazingly fortunate to live near the The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art which houses the world's most comprehensive collection of Tiffany works. We visited the museum for inspiration and advice on how best to proceed.
Among the collection was an example the forms Tiffany and his craftsmen used to create the leaded glass shades for their lamps. They'd use wooden forms to layout and support the glass as they assembled the shade.
We opted to us a similar technique. We began by creating a full-sized form for our lamp shade from a stack of pink insulation foam. It's much easier to deal with than wood and we had some laying around the garage.
Step 2: The Shade
With the form complete, work turned to the actual design of our shade. We knew we wanted to use the dragonfly motif made famous by Tiffany so after measuring our form I input those dimensions into Photoshop and used it to draw the repeating pattern for our shade.
The next step was to create a clear acrylic dome to give us something to attach the design to. We used simple packing tape to hold the dome together.
Next we purchased sheets of Theatrical RoscoLux gel in the colors we needed for the design. Using the pattern we drew in Photoshop, we cut out all the pieces of gel matching the pattern. To emulate the leading between the pieces of glass we used black craft paint in a tube applicator. The same tube paint was used to draw in the more delicate details of the dragonfly wings.
We glued the larger gel pieces to the clear dome using gloss Mod Podge. After all the pieces were placed, we covered the whole dome in a second layer of Mod Podge.
Once the Mod Podge was dry, we used the tube paint to seal all the edges.
To allow our daughter to wear the shade, we attached a cowl made of the same fabric as the dress.
Step 3: The Dress
We went with a relatively simple pleated silhouette to replicate to look of our inspiration lamp. The base was supported by a small section of hula hoop sewn into the hem which created the flare out from the gathered pleats at the bottom of the dress.
Once we were happy with the mockup, we built the finished piece using a coppery, metallic fabric.
Step 4: The Lighting
Both from a safety standpoint and because... well, she's a lamp, we knew that we needed to add functional lighting to the costume. To keep it simple we went with a double row of LED tape wrapped like a headband around the cowl. The battery pack and switch were attached to a belt worn under the dress.