Friday, 5 September 2014

Curbside Find: A Vintage Lamp

Hey everyone!  Today's post is going to be about this cute, vintage lamp I found someone throwing out.  I loved the brass base with the black post but I wasn't quite sold on the lamp shade, itself.  I guess it doesn't look too bad in this picture but in person it was really ugly.  It was a kind of creamy tan fabric with darker brown flecks scattered throughout it.  I definitely loved the base, though, and for free (!!) so I decided I could try and do something with it and revamp the shade into something a little more fresh.

Here's a picture of the lamp before I did anything to it:

I especially love the on/off flick switch! Such a cute vintage find!

From a previous garage sale, I had this giant Aztec/Mexican print blanket.  I bought it for only $1 but when I got home I discovered it had some white paint blotches on it (note to self: next time check blankets thoroughly before buying!). I wasn't too bothered though, because hey, It was only a dollar and I still liked the print and thought it would be nice to use as fabric.  After checking if this fabric went with the base of my lamp, I decided to use it for the lamp shade.  You probably have an old lamp or shade lying around the house that could use a revamp, if so, this project is for you!

Materials Needed:

Lamp Shade


Hot Glue Gun & Glue Sticks


Sounds easy, right?

There may be an easier way to do this, but here's what I did. First, I draped a large piece of the fabric over the shade. When you have the shade covered with material, you can cut off the excess fabric you won't be using.  Make sure you have extra fabric to spare when covering the lamp as it's always better to have too much and cut it away versus having too little and then having to redo the whole thing.

Once I had my shade covered and the excess fabric cut away, I poked the fabric covering the centre of my lamp shade and cut it to reveal the hole in the middle.  Once again, make sure you don't trim the fabric too close to the shade as having more is always better.  Remember, you can always trim away excess fabric after!

Once you have your hole cut you're ready to start glue gunning!  The lamp shade is divided into quarters so I started with 1 of the quarters and glued the fabric to the inside of the shade hole.  Then I glued the fabric to the lamp shade itself, pressing firmly and stretching the fabric so there were no bunches or ripples in the fabric as I went along.  As long as your glue is hot, you really don't need to use that much. Wait to glue the fabric to the bottom of the shade (up under the base) until the end. 

Once I had finished one quarter, I started on the second.  Just repeat the process and always remember to keep the fabric taut with no slack.  Repeat this process for the third quarter and then stop before you move on to the fourth, and final, shade quarter.  You will notice you have an excess of fabric and nowhere to glue it all.  Now, you will need to create a "seam" and cut your fabric (you can see my "seam" in the picture below).  Before cutting the "seam", trim away the excess fabric that you don't need, while remembering to keep enough to cover the last quarter of the lamp shade and a straight "seam". Once the excess has been trimmed, line up your fabric and make a straight line with the first quarter.  Cut your "seam" so that it's straight and even.  If the pattern of your fabric doesn't line up properly, that's okay.  This seam can always be at the back of your lamp and therefore not as noticeable.  

Once the fabric is cut and you have your seam, you glue the remaining quarter of your lamp shade.  When this is finished, you will need to trim the excess fabric from the base of the shade. Remember to keep a little excess so it can fold under the bottom and be glued.  Once it is trimmed, you can glue the remainder of the trim to the underside of the lamp shade.  

After you have completed the shade and all the gluing, you can retouch some areas, pull off any loose threads, or trim any excess fabric that remains.  Also, when using a hot glue gun, you'll probably have some loose strands of glue left behind.  Remember to clean these off as well.

In the photo below you can see my "seam.  The seam is the tan fabric on the left side of the lamp.  Perhaps you notice that the fabric doesn't quite line up.  There is a diagonal print and then a straight line print.  I actually kind of like it this way, but if you don't, you can always turn the "seam" side of the lamp towards the wall where it will be less noticeable.

The finished product!

In total, this project took about an hour of my time and cost less than a dollar.  The lamp was free as it was being thrown away and the fabric (the blanket) was only $1.  Because I have a lot of fabric left over that I can use for future projects, I'll say that it cost less than a dollar for this one.

If you have an old lamp or shade lying around and some cool looking fabric this might just be the budget project for you! 
Thanks for checking out my blog and have a great weekend! :)

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