Friday, September 14, 2012

How I Made my Lamp a Bit More Wordy

Long ago, I was entering the dressing room of my favorite store, Anthropologie, and spied a lamp. Actually I don't remember much about the lamp itself. It was the shade that drew me. It was covered in bits of torn paper, but not just any paper. It was mellow, beige pages from an old dictionary. The staccato serif font looked like it'd marched out of a typewriter's clacking and I wondered at how there are lamps that light your room and there are lamps that whisk you elsewhere. Maybe that's why people call good work "inspired." Because the artist must have been and now, you are.

I hunted for the price tag out of sheer curiosity but don't remember what it said. The goal of my visits is mainly to glean ideas, not offer up our month's grocery budget, so I made a mental note. Pinterest opened my mind to the world of Modge Podge and told me it could be made by mixing equal parts water and Elmer's glue. So when I picked up a dictionary at a garage sale, I was ready to go. This is what I did the other day. You could use sheets of music or vintage picture books, as well. 

 1.   These are the needed materials, besides the actual shade: Dictionary, sponge brush, 
       glue, and a container for your homemade Modge Podge. I used a plastic cup, but if I'd been 
       with it, I'd have used an old jelly jar to make it easy to store.

2.   Mix equal parts glue and water. It looks like egg drop soup for a while, but don't panic. 
      After mine sat around a while it got smoother.

3.   Select meaningful pages. I'm not a fan of spaces decorated with no thought to the 
      occupants' life stories. I think our homes should celebrate who we are so we not only rest,
      but are reminded of all the best and beautiful, since that's what matters.  

4.   Favorite words. I let the kids each pick one too. She chose princess and he chose lizard.

5.   Cover the part of the shade you're going to work on with glue. 

6.   Press page onto shade. Square your page with the top of your shade. I started half a 
      centimeter down. This is my kind of project because you can peel it off and start over if you  
      get it crooked or wrinkled. (Unlike stamping, which we will not discuss.) 

7.   Glue again. Completely cover the page with a layer of "Modge Podge." When I added my 
      next page, I squared it with the top of the lamp as well, but even with drum shades, the 
      bottom is larger than the top. So I overlapped the pages, more at the top than the bottom 
      to avoid gaps. I found it caused less wrinkles if I tucked edge of the new page under the 
      previous one.

Now the lamp at Anthro was not complete pages like mine, but smaller torn pieces. This requires more 
layers and I chose not to go that route because I need this lamp to shed a good amount of light. If lots of 
light isn't necessary, the other version is lovely as well. Here's how mine looks.

P.S. This is one of the little projects I'm attempting to finish up before the photo home tour I promised. 
Hopefully the others will go as well as this one!


  1. A reading lamp you can read!!! Ingenious!

  2. Yes! and I have the large majority of the dictionary intact, if anyone local wants to do this to something...if you have modge podge, you could cover a picture frame or anything you please. To use the whole buffalo, as you say. : )

  3. Looks great! If you're looking for another lampshade redo to blog about, I'd gladly let you update mine. Part of the problem is figuring out what I want done with it. I've come so close to getting rid of it all and just buying a new lamp at TJMaxx... but my husband won't let me :)