Monday, March 4, 2013

Burlap Lampshade: The Test

All of the materials for covering the lampshade had been gathered in one area, and sat there for days. Why? Because I'm a big chicken!! It's scary trying something new. What if I make a mistake? What if it doesn't turn out well? What if I don't like it? What if.....what if? Who cares! What if it turns out great?! What if I learn how to do something along the way?! How about no more what ifs? That's what I finally had to tell myself. Just stop fretting and do it. That worked for about 5 minutes and then a brilliant idea came to me. Try it on something no one will see, like the ugly lamp in the bedroom. So I did just that last weekend.

The lamp that this shade came from, well let's just say it's not my favorite. My husband has had this lamp forever. Truly, forever, possibly 30 years. He has moved it from country to country, state to state, and house to house. It must be a special lamp, so I have vowed to myself not to get rid of it, but I am going to change it.

Lampshade from a lamp in the bedroom.

Started this process by laying the seam of the shade at the edge of the fabric, then tracing the outline with a highlighter as I went along. This is not a straight cylinder, therefore I couldn't cut a straight strip of fabric.

Roll and carefully trace the outline.

By the way, yellow highlighter doesn't work very well, it was very difficult to see. I switched to orange, very early in the tracing process. After tracing, I cut about an inch outside of the outline.

The fabric is curved. Cut 1 inch outside for the overlap at the top and bottom.

After wrapping the burlap around the shade to see how it would look, I didn't like the fabric showing through the burlap, so I decided to remove the old fabric, which I quickly realized was plastic, stretchy...stuff. The inner layer of actual fabric, I left in tact.

Plastic is easy to remove. Quite lovely, isn't it? Not really.

Wrapping the fabric around the remaining frame and clipping it with binder clips gave me an idea of how it would look when it was finished. Glad I did this first, because I didn't like it one bit. Because of the way I started rolling the shade on the fabric, the grain of the fabric was diagonal at the front center, but straight at the seam, which would be in the back. One thing to change. I put the lampshade back on the lamp, while it was clipped, and turned on the lamp. Because I had removed the outer plastic stuff, it was now really thin and see through, I could see the actual lightbulb when the light was on. That would never do. Two things to change. Just glad I found out these two things before gluing the fabric.

Do a test run on the lamp, with the light on and off.

You can see just how thin the fabric looked, with the sun coming in the window behind it. Not a good, cozy feel for the lamp. At this point, I decided to use another layer of burlap, so there would be two layers. It would take care of both of the problems that I had run into. The thickness of the fabric would diffuse the light and I could start my rolling of the fabric by placing the front of the shade in the position on the fabric where the grain would be straight. Then rolling the shade to the left to mark the seam, and then to the right to mark the the seam, and of course, some for the fold and overlap. This worked out well, a tip to remember from this point forward.

This is how the back of the shade looked before adding the second layer of fabric.

After laying the two layers of burlap on the table, wrapping the shade, and clipping the burlap to the shade as I went along, it looked much better. It really didn't take very for this step, but it was well worth it. I also put the shade on the lamp again to see how it would look. It was turning out well.

The light coming through the window is much more diffused. Better!

The larger binder clips were used to hold the seam. This was helpful, as I knew exactly where the seam was when looking at the shade. When researching this project, I saw that some people used clothes pins to hold the fabric in place. Well, all of my clothes pins are up north in the camper, and I happened to have a lot of binder clips. I have so many, it makes me wonder why I have that many. (Insert shrug here) They worked great for this application, they also make great chip clips.

The diagonal grain of the burlap is now at the back of the shade. No one will see it.

Then came the scary part, the gluing. This was not turning out to be like the "real" lampshade that I want to cover, that one involves gluing the fabric directly to the shade. I had nothing to glue to, except the inside upper and lower edges. So that's what I did. Using my trusty hot glue gun, I started to run a bead of glue along the inner edge of the lampshade, in the same spot where there had been glue from the plastic stuff that was taken off earlier. After gluing a section, I replaced the binder clips to hold the fabric in place and give it time to dry.

The glue is actually thick enough that it holds both layers of burlap.

After gluing the top and bottom inner edges, I started removing the clips on the seam. Laying a bead of glue along the seam edge, care not to use too much, and also to start a little bit away from the edge, to leave some room for the glue to spread when I smoothed the fabric, without the glue squeezing out of the seam and being seen.

Be careful with the glue gun and don't use too much glue. Those clips are handy.

After all of the gluing was done, drying time didn't take very long. If you've ever used a hot glue gun, you know what I mean. The clips worked great as a little stand as well.

Let glue dry thoroughly before removing clips.

My mother has called me a perfectionist, on more than one occasion. I don't agree with her, but the raw edges were bugging me to the nth degree.  Cutting strips of burlap, and grabbing some heat-n-bond from the sewing bucket, I began making trim for the inside of the lampshade to hide the edges. The jury is still out on how well this worked, the heat-n-bond, that is. Using the iron, I folded over the flaps so that when I turned it over, there would be no seam.

Strips of Heat-n-Bond and burlap for the inside trim.

Unfortunately, a decision had to be made, the super hold, in the pink package, or the ultra-hold, in the red package? I opted for the super hold, not the correct choice, but it worked. It didn't hold the burlap together very well, but it was sufficient, the burlap stayed in place and was stiffer than it was.

Next time, I'll use the ultra-hold.

After ironing the strips of burlap, with the heat-n-bond in them, I used the hot glue gun to attach the trim to the inside of the lamp shade, hiding all of the raw edges. Where the hardware is, I used scissors and clipped the fabric just a bit to make it fit around the wire. This worked great. Any little bit of frayed fabric was dealt with by a small dot of glue from the glue gun, and pressing the strands down into the glue. You can't see it at all.

The trim turned out quite nicely.

All done! Was pretty impressed with how the seam turned out considering that it's only glued to fabric and the iron wasn't used on the back seam at all.

The back of the lampshade.

The fabric is much straighter and the light is very diffused, great for the bedroom. I think it had turn out well.

See the natural "blemish" on the fabric, little fibers in burlap.

Of course I just had to see what it would look like back on the ugly lamp. The shade looks great! Still don't care for the lamp. But, it gave me a chance to try my hand at covering a lampshade. I've learned more than one thing doing this project. That's a good thing. I also now have a plan for the lamp, if it works, then it will stay in the house. If it doesn't, I'll have to make a case for getting rid of the lamp.

Nicely done! It looks good.

Here's how it looks with the light on. Great, I can't see the light bulb, just the light. So much better with two layers of burlap on there. Had I not removed the plastic covering, I could have only used one layer.

Nice and cozy lighting.
Now that the lampshade has been covered in burlap, and I've told TM what I want to do with the lamp,  he's asking if he can have it back on his side of the bed to use. That's just typical. It will look nice. As soon as the weather warms up here, the lamp is getting a nice coat of satin black spray paint. I think it might actually look nice. We'll see about that. On to the "real" lampshade. That's a lot of gluing. Well, I've got to try.

Enjoy your day!!

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