Thursday, June 28, 2012

A Crafty Project with a Lampshade!

Some of you have probably seen me reference Pinterest in a few of my posts.   If you have not gotten
sucked into this vast array of decorating ideas, recipes, crafty projects, inspirational sayings, fashion and pure nonsense, you have no idea!    Even a casual glimpse of what lurks within its pages will stun and amaze you with the plethora of trivia, good ideas, cooking tips, innovative recipes and countless ways to separate you from hours of your time!  

Once in a while, however, you will stumble upon an idea or tip that is just too good to pass by and it gets pinned on your board for some time in the future when you decide to put the idea to use.  And so it was with me one day when I noticed a picture of a lamp shade entirely covered in buttons.     I immediately thought of two things:   an off-white lamp shade on a small lamp on my kitchen counter and a collection of buttons in my craft supplies that would make Hobby Lobby's owners blush in shame.     The lamp shade had gotten splashed (mostly with water) and had an assortment of blotches and discolored spots on it that were unsightly but mostly unnoticed as most things are that you see every day.     The lamp sits on the countertop near the kitchen sink and has gotten battle scarred and, in fact, I had thought several times about replacing the shade and just kept forgetting to measure it so I could do just that.   

Once I saw the picture of the button encrusted shade on Pinterest, I KNEW I had to try that idea out on my poor, pitiful, neglected shade.   So that was my project "du jour".   Which technically means "of the day", but in truth turned out to take more like two days.    

Lamp Shade with water stains and blotches  :(

Ugly lamp shade before my intervention!

The next step was to take a damp cloth and wipe off the entire shade for dust and anything else that didn't belong on it.    Then I assembled a sizable portion of my button stash, my hot glue gun and a disposable plate so I could start sorting my buttons into colors, shapes and sizes.      I wasn't sure exactly how I intended to procede with the project since I was working from a picture on Pinterest but no specific instructions.     So I just started randomly gluing some of the largest buttons around the shade, thinking that somewhere along the line I would get struck with inspiration and insight to what needed to happen next.    You HAVE done a project like that, haven't you?     I mean really.   Who has not started a project like this without a clear battle plan before making your first move?   

As I glued buttons I began to see that what was needed was a variety of large buttons, intersperced with smaller ones and a healthy mix of colors.     What also became apparent was that fitting the buttons together, especially as I got more and more glued to the shade would get trickier and a little bit more difficult since the buttons are not flexible and neither is the glue once it grabs hold and dries....which is almost instantly!      So at that point, I decided that my best move would be to stop gluing to the body of the shade and concentrate on putting the buttons around the top edge and the bottom edge of the shade.     

I used small buttons on the top edge.

I used slightly larger buttons on the bottom edge.

After I glued buttons on the top edge, as well as the bottom edge, I then began filling in buttons around the inside section of the shade until most of the white areas were filled.    There were some small sections that were left open and I had no buttons that would fit---believe me, I tried to make them fit.   As I said, buttons are NOT flexible so I concluded that I would need to fill in those gaps (if I wanted all the spaces filled) with something smaller.    I remembered that I had some small brads, as well as some dots and rhinestones with adhesive backing on them.   So I got those out to help fill in the remaining spaces.   

The result?     Well, here ya go!

So the lamp shade project is pretty much finished and I am basically happy with how it turned out.    I will probably go back and fill in a few more "gaps" between buttons but truthfully, the gaps are not THAT apparent when you are looking at it in person.    They tend to show up more in the photograph.    So whether I put on more embellishements is still up in the air.    The bigger issue is now that the shade is looking a tad more presentable, does it go with the lamp?   In a word, NO!    So I see another project in my future involving this lamp.     I have considered three options:  painting it, applying decoupage and encasing it in cloth that is gathered around the neck of the lamp.    Not sure yet what I'll do but when and if I do, I'll post pictures!  

In the meantime, if you find a lamp shade around your home that is need of help (I  recommend selecting a fairly small shade for a project like this) why not consider using this method to fix it?    Heck, you could even start with a BRAND NEW shade and do this!  All you need is a hot glue gun, an assortment of buttons or even a lot of one kind and color and some spare time to glue them to the shade.  Craft stores sell them in bulk so it's not hard to get an assortment of buttons for not much money.  Gluing the buttons is not difficult and you can put on some tunes, sing along and still glue buttons without too much risk of making a mistake.    One thing I forgot to mention is that if you do make a mistake and glue on a button and decide it's not the right size, shape or color, they tend to pop off pretty easily if you apply firm, upward pressure.   So it's a forgiving craft! 

One of the happy benefits of retirement is that every day you have the chance to work on projects like this that previously would have been put off to the weekend or on a day off.      Since every day is "Saturday" when you're retired, I don't have to do that.   Each day gives me the option of having fun and working on things that I choose to do rather than things that I MUST do.   No one mentioned that perk of retirement before I retired so let me be the first to say, it is one of the BEST things ever about being retired!   

Happy Trails~~~


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