Monday, November 26, 2012

How to Make 'Moroccan' Lamps (and what not to do...)











Rivendell had lanterns. I wonder what they looked like. I kind of imagine them like Moroccan Lanterns, they look so Elven to me..





I had some old lamps in my house, and I was frustrated by their shades blocking a lot of light, focusing most of the light downwards. I wanted them to diffuse the light more. (When there is not enough light in a room, I start going crazy.) So I saw their cloth-covered lampshades (although cream colored) as culprits blocking my light.
So I tore them off. I have no idea how old these lamps are, I got them at a thrift store, but the glue that held the cloth onto the shades was easy to break apart.
(I didn't think of taking a 'before' pic till after I tore off the cloth, hence I had to hold them on for the pic)

all ripped off, and ready for painting!








And I think this pleated cloth will work well for this Medieval hat....


Next I had to clean the gunk off the plastic lamp shade. I did this with Windex.

I was inspired by these 'Moroccan Lanterns' made from jars and gold. Tutorial found here.
http://www.designsponge.com/2011/03/diy-project-moroccan-lanterns.html
I like the dots of the gold paint on the one on the left.

See! Aren't they pretty?!



I had some gold paint, so I fired ahead. The first problem I encountered was the bottle my gold paint was in has a big opening in a great flat headed bottle top. Not like the nice fine-nosed squeeze bottles that Katie used.

So I would not be able to squeeze out delicate little poky things right next to each other.

At this point, I should have waited till I could go to the store and buy a fine-nosed paint tube (could I reuse it by cutting open the bottom of it, refilling, and holding it shut with a paper clamp?) This would have made the process WAY easier, and the paint lines would have looked so much more professional.
But, undaunted I decided to use a paint brush and dab on dots. (I also added a little bit of water to the paint, to make it a consistency I could use with the paint brush)

I had a little trouble with the dots. A lot of trouble. I found that a nice plump dot bled down (since I was painting a vertical surface). A non-plump dot had an ugly scrape from the brush in the middle. So the ideal was something in between, if that in between really exists. And my brush did not make beautiful circular dots.

They are more like ovals. But I used this in the design a little, it was kind of pretty.


And this is what I got.



As you can see, with the lamp off, the mistakes and differences in paint consistency and brush strokes are not as noticeable. With the lamp on and the light shining through it, there is no room for error. Everything shows.


(Here is where using a brush is not a good idea. Because the lamp shade is slippery plastic, the paint doesn't adhere thickly, and no matter how you try, there are brush strokes. often just pushing the paint out to the edges of your stroke)

To cover up the awful brush-strokey-borders, I used (blue) painter's tape, and spray paint. It covered over the messy borders a little. I also added a few more dots to the design.


But, I was still undaunted. I began ripping the fabric off my second lamp.
It totally deconstructed the lampshade, the top spider and the bottom ring falling off. I freaked out. Then I rejoiced, realizing I could solve the paint dots running by painting on a flat surface.
I lay the plastic down on the table, and since I was able to lay it flat I could scrub it with a plastic scrubber and hot water. The gunk came right off, very easily.

Next, I penciled out radial lines, 5" apart at the top, and the beginnings of my designs.
Next, I painted it. It was way easier to paint a flat surface. However, the brush pushing paint away on my stroked remained a problem (making it hard to get a nice thick narrow line...here again, a tiny-nosed squeeze bottle would have been wonderful)
Here it is with the light on, shining through and showing the mistakes


I took my inspiration from henna designs.


Then I had to reassemble the thing. I should have saved the cloth tape, and just put rubber cement on it to freshen up the stickiness.
Instead I used a combination of duct tape and scotch. Then I spray painted the top edge. I found it hard to get the painter's tape to make a nice smooth edge since I am essentially putting a line on a curved surface. I tried to use many pieces, and get the uneveness as part of the design.
Next time, I will trace out the curve when it is still flat, and cut a paper to tape on when it is reassembled. That way the border will be even. I will also paint the border first.

Here is the final thing







Here it is, lights off.

As you can see, still brush-issues and paint thickness issues.



NEXT TIME
-use squeeze bottle!!
-totally deconstruct shade from beginning, save cloth tape
-stencil basic design lines for eveness
-stencil the curves of the top and bottom for spray painting. Spray paint first
- paint the art and dry flat
-reassemble with cloth tape and rubber cement.

Also, next time, I think I want to try this design on a lamp....

 I must get some paint squeeze bottles...
http://shop.hobbylobby.com/products/tulip-gold-metallic-3d-fashion-paint-744003/




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