Saturday, January 17, 2015

Polka-Dot Lampshade Re-do

When we moved into our apartment, and also then our house, we inherited a lot of our furniture and other items from my grandparents, and also some from my parents.  We were fortunate enough to be able to shop through their items, which were in storage, and use as much as we could. I felt great about giving a second life to their things, too! I love that we have their dining room set, complete with hutch base, beautiful living room end tables, bureaus, among other things.   It was so helpful to have so many things to get us started.

As we continue to work to make our house fit our style, I'm trying to take on projects of all sizes. The kitchen was a larger project, with plastering, painting, baseboards, and trim work. A small project I tackled the same week was to revamp a lamp, also from my grandparents' collection.

While the lamp itself is pretty harmless, the shiny floral texture shade was really just not our style. Also, I am trying to use more crisp whites as opposed to cream colors, so I wanted to try a white shade. Then I got thinking about adding some color along with a big print, to jazz it up a bit. I just got some new navy and white pillow cases for some of our throw pillows, and wanted to work in more of that color. Since we have a red accent wall in the living room, I have to be aware of working with that, along with the taupe-gray walls and gray couches. Other than the red wall, there isn't much for color in that room, so I am working on bringing more in.

Lucy modeling the new pillow covers. This picture was from a few weeks ago, so don't worry that we have a super dried up fire hazard in our living room. The tree is long gone.

Ignore the shiny plastic wrapper, it's matte in real life.
Once I found a new, white lampshade in the right size and shape, I knew I wanted to add some polka dots. After looking at some different sizes, and even thinking about dots in a patterned design, I decided on some big dots all over. I looked around the house for something to use as a stencil an settled on the inside of a roll of duct tape. I used a pencil to trace circles all over the lampshade. I didn't measure or really plan, just eyeballed the spacing, which worked out just fine. Writing lightly, erasing was possible, but I definitely tried to avoid it, as it was hard to make the lines completely disappear.

Oh, and it helps to have a super cute project helper!

After I finished drawing the circles, I just got painting. I used a pretty small brush and worked really carefully around the circle edges. While it's a bit forgiving if you go slightly out of the lines, since you could just repaint the whole circle edge, it's still easier to just work slowly and carefully to stay in the lines.

I ended up keeping the shade on the lamp while I painted, for the most part, since it was stable and also off the ground so I couldn't smear the back while I painted the front. The acrylic paint (just a $3 paint sample I had mixed up in navy at Home Depot) dried quickly, which was helpful.

Once the full dots were finished, I really felt like though I liked it enough, it wasn't finished... Whatever that meant. I tried to wrap some navy grosgrain ribbon around the top and bottom to add some contrast to the trim, but because it's a lampshade with a very angled slope, the ribbon just would not lay flat.

The top might have been workable with some finagling, but there was no way the bottom would work. I may try to find navy ribbon with a bit of stretch, which would solve the issue, but I didn't want shiny, like the flat elastic I have on hand. In the meantime, I thought about a few different options, but decided to paint the existing trim with the same navy paint. Since there was already a straight line (you have to look closely at the photo two above, but it's there!) to guide me, it wasn't anywhere near as tricky as it would have been without the existing border. At the same time, I decided to add in some partial polka dots around the top and bottom. The trim and added dots ended up being the finishing touches I was looking for, and I am so pleased with the final product!

While the painting took some time, this project was easy peasy! A steady hand, some good tv, and a blank canvas were really all I needed to make this fun and custom shade to add color, print, and pizzazz to the space. You could easily trace something smaller for smaller dots (some things I tried for size: a shot glass that I don't think I've ever used for an actual shot, the bottom of a glass, and a Tupperware top). You could also use something like a pencil eraser or wine cork to stamp even smaller dots. If polka dots aren't your thing, it would be easy to use painters' tape to make stripes, use a ruler to draw diagonal lines for a diamond pattern, or free hand just about anything!

Here's what you'd need to make your own painted lampshade:
- White, cotton or linen finish lampshade
- Paintbrush (I used a medium size for the majority of the circles and a small size to do the edges)
- Acrylic paint (I used a tinted paint sample from a home improvement store)
- Stencil or object to trace and pencil

Cost Breakdown:
- Lampshade: $8.00
- Paint: $3.00

Total project cost: $11.00, which is think is pretty inexpensive for a custom, one of a kind addition to our home! :)

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