Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Now THIS Is What I Call "BOOK-SMARTS"!

We've all got one (or more!)... That "plain vanilla" lampshade that came with the lamp. You know, you loved the lamp but that shade...well lets just say no imagination went into that choice...
After years of tolerating one such shade on a favorite lamp of mine, I now have my "dream shade" -- and its SO perfect for the room it is in (the "library")! Plus, anyone who knows me, know my love of paper ANYTHING and especially vintage ephemera, so this project was a ringer for me! (Confession: lately, we've used vintage book pages and papers so much around here that I think my hubby must fear at times that if he stood still long enough, we'd cover HIM in it! ) :)
Just look! That sorry old plain white shade is now festooned in perfectly cut pages from a vintage book! Yes -- I cut up an old book - so what. :)
Before I go any further, I need to give credit where credit is due...My sweet and off-the-charts talented daughter did the labor for me on this one! I'd been saying for months that I wanted to do this project but as busy as I am all the time, I think she knew if she didn't spring into action I'd still be looking at that white lampshade ten years from now (can anyone else relate?). evening my Olivia walks into the kitchen as I'm preparing dinner and has two fists full of perfectly cut pieces from this old book I had. Normally, you wouldn't encourage your kids to cut up books, but in this case I was thrilled! Being the do-er (and not just a talker like her mom) she set about the task of taking all those pieces of paper and gluing them down to the lampshade.
Many, many hours later, I had what may be one of my most prized possessions in my house. Partly because of how AWESOME it looks and very much because of how much time my sweetie's little hands spent making that for me. What a kid!
I think she almost wanted to choke me when I casually strolled into the kitchen whilst she was a couple hours into the gluing and excitedly suggested:
"Hey! This looks so awesome!! What if I buy up a bunch of plain shades and old books and we can make them and sell them!"
If looks could kill.... Keep in mind, I was not the one sitting there gluing piece after piece, row after row, slowing becoming hypnotized by the process...
Yeah. So, suffice to say I won't be taking any orders for custom-papered shades anytime soon...
So instead, here are some shots of the "BEFORE" and "AFTER" so you can get the idea of how its done. As you can see, the only key is keeping your rows nice and neat and even (unless of course you mean to have a "swirling" affect when you're done).
As you can see, even though the shade had raised areas (ribs), this didn't affect the outcome, so really any shade is fair game! We (oops....I mean, Olivia) used plain old white school glue like Elmer's or whatever. Just a thin stripe of it at the top of each page piece did the trick.
And below is the finished product. I love, love, love it!! The mellowed/aged color of the pages is so wonderful with the bronze/rust color of the metal lamp base.

I do still have lots more ideas for variations on this project --

  • Using vintage ledger paper instead of book pages -perfect for the desk where you pay your bills!.
  • Or, using pieces cut from gorgeous vintage wallpaper - beautiful in a bedroom or bath!
  • I'd also like to experiment with different shapes of paper like incorporating circles as well as squares/rectangles.... many of you believe I'll really ever do any of those things I just mentioned above? Yeah. Me either...
Hmm... where's Oliva? Surely she's not busy right now.... :)
We were just looking at the shade again last night just before turning off the light and admiring it...I told Olivia again how much I loved it (and her!) and appreciated all those hours she put into doing this for me. I declared that it was now one of my most favorite things I owned -- like, if the house were one fire it would be one of the first things I'd grab on the way out.
She looked at me, totally dead-pan, as if to say "It better be! If you don't grab it, I will!"
Gee, all those hours must have really taken a toll!


Joy Zaczyk said...


I am in LOVE with that shade!!!!!!!! That is utterly and divinely BREATHTAKING.

Brilliant Brilliant Brilliant!!!

Big hugs,

Olivia said...

Thanks, Mum! Yes, it was tedious, "hypnotizing" work, but I would gladly try your other ideas! Circles! Sweet! It'd be like scales! Ooh, and weaving strips of paper together - don't forget that! :)

Got to go, the coffee's done!

Kasey said...

nice project! now check out my "lamp shade project"!

Anonymous said...

Found you over at French elements. I do love the shade. It reminds me of something Anthropologie would do. I love the necklace post so very much. I will buy one definitely and I would be happy to post on my blog as well. What a great idea!! drop by for a visit any time!


Robin said...

Bravo to the brilliant Olivia! I was thinking how lovely a shade would be with squares cut out of some of that lovely wrapping paper you sell. And what a great way to dress up a room for different holidays if you changed the shade on boudoir lamps with the same idea except using the self-adhesive lampshades so you could skip the glue part! It's exciting just to think about it - now to get past the thinking stage!

jamie in rose cottage said...

That's fabulous! Hmmmm... now I'm going to have to start pondering which lamp I can do something like that to soon!

Molly said...

What a fabulous shade! Must have taken a zillion hours but so worth it. Your daughter is an angel. Ask her if she wants to come to California. I have some projects for her too! Thanks for sharing.

Secret Leaves said...

This is such a clever idea! And of course, I love anything involving old books.

Angie Tieman said...

This shade is beyond awesome!! It has blown me away, thanks so much for sharing it!!