Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Keeping it Real: How I Ruined (and Restored) a Lampshade

Unfortunately, not all of my little projects turn out to be masterpieces the first time.  Or even the fourth time. And I think its only fair to show my failures along with my success.

Cause I'm keeping it real!

And since none of you got my little 'keeping it real' reference the last time I made it (you really disappoint me, people!).....

 So anyway, there are plenty of times that my little 'tranformations' go a little south.  Case in point, the butt-ugly lampshade on our floor lamp in the living room.

So why would I buy a lamp with a lampshade that I'd describe as butt-ugly in the first place? Because the lamp base is awesome and it was on clearance at Pier 1.  Obviously.

I just don't know what they were thinking with that shade on this lamp.

When I bought the lamp, I told myself that I would simply buy another lamp shade.  Wrong.  You probably can't tell in the picture, but this lamp shade is huge.  Finding another drum lampshade in a similar size, style I liked, at a price I was willing to pay turned out to be impossible.  Believe me, I looked.  For like a year and a half.

In fact, lampshades have sort of been my nemesis lately.  I have two lamp bases that bought without shades and flipped over the summer that I have also been unable to find suitable shades for.  I guess I should have learned my lesson with this shiny silver, feathered beauty.  

Nope.  I rarely learn lessons the first time around.  

Anyway, I saw some blogger inspiration of painted lampshades and decided that I should give it a shot.  The lampshade is made of non-porous, thick, paper-like material, so painting it seemed like a good option.  I decided to spray-paint it a new base color and attempt to free-hand a chevron pattern.  I was kind of going for an imperfect look, so free-handing it seemed to be a good idea.

Spray painting the shade was easy enough. The color felt too bright to me, but I anticipated the silver chevron toning that down a little bit.....

....which it did.  I achieved this look by dipping the top of a pointed, foam craft brush in silver paint and dotting it along the shade in a chevron pattern.

While not perfect, this turned out OK. Plus, I had kind of been shooting for imperfect.

So, I should have stopped here.  But no...

....after a few days, the imperfections in pattern just seemed to be glaring at me.  They were all I could see. So I decided to thicken up the chevron stripes, thinking that would somehow make the imperfections less glaring.  

So I used Silver Leaf Rub N' Buff and my finger to color in alternating chevrons.  Big mistake.  Big.  Huge. (can someone PLEASE get this movie reference?!).

It looked like a kindergartner finger-painted it.  No lie.

And, crappy blogger that I am, I forgot to photograph it!!  I think I was so grossed out by it and in such a hurry to get rid of the atrocity that I jumped into changing it without thinking to take pics.  Sorry :(

At that point I decided to cover it with fabric.  I spent a few weeks looking for fabric that woudl be thick enough in a color or print that I liked.  As luck would have it, I found a brand-new Threshold white cotton tab-top curtain for $3 at my local Goodwill.  The fabric was nice and thick, and there was no way that I could have bought that much fabric for less than $3.

So I cut a length of fabric that was two inches wider than my shade (one inch overlap on both the top and the bottom), and wrapped it around my lampshade.  I hot glued the top and the bottom to the inside of the shade, just inside the rim.

And once I got to the end of my fabric I folded about an inch of it over on itself and hot glued it in order to create a 'finished' end.  

This helped create a more finished looking seam.  Which of course I hid at the back of the shade, against the wall!

I'm pretty pleased with the result!  It seems to bring more of a light feeling into the room. 
Notice that Giselle has joined the gallery wall!

Now if only I hadn't taken me two failed projects to get there...

Sigh.  At least I'm keeping the hardware stores in business :)

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  1. Emily, we just watched Clueless last night!!!

  2. What is up with these Threshold finds at Goodwill??? I feel so left out!
    I LOVE the end result. It was a good thing you made a big and huge mistake because it forced you to get that gorgeous fabric. Well done!

    1. Amy--I don't know, but I have been on a roll with finding great Threshold stuff! It's awesome. Thanks for your sweet comments :)