question for all you creative types out there

debrazone9socal(z9losangeles)April 20, 2007

I have an unusual lampshade dilemma (I know; it's hard to think of a lampshade as presenting a "dilemma", but I digress).

I inherited a beautiful but unusual hanging lamp from my mom. It is a converted gas streetlamp (from Philadelphia, she was told) which is hung upside down. The shape is sort of like an acorn with the flat end at the bottom, but the lamp is openwork iron so it looks more like a frame and you can see through it. In the flat bottom part is where the bulbs go. It also has little candleabra arms with candle shaped bulbs extending from the sides. I know it sounds odd, but it's really pretty.

My mom got this lamp in the 60's, and it was purportedly over 100 years old at that time. She had a flat linen lampshade then, which covered the exposed bulbs at the bottom. You have to imagine a lampshade that was shaped like a round, flat circle with vertical sides going up about two inches. There is an iron finial going through the middle, which held the shade in place, with the vertical sides fitting just inside the bottom edge of the lamp.

Okay, the lampshade got old, and Mom replaced it with some kind of glass shade that looked great. Except it broke in the 1994 earthquake. Since then it hasn't had a proper shade.

This lamp was given to me by my sister when I moved into my house. It's hanging in my breakfast nook, and I love it. Except the bulbs are visible at the bottom, along with the wiring. Uck. The lamp is too big and heavy, plus it's installed in the ceiling, to take to a custom lampshade maker. I thought of getting a glass shade, but that would have to be custom made, too, and a real hassle.

So I have this idea to make a fabric shade with pleated linen, hung on a circular wire that would sit inside the bottom edge, sort of like the original shade, but not as perfect. I'd also have to have some kind of gathering in the middle, with a hole or grommet for the finial to fit through.

I've done a bit of googling to find information on this type of project. I'm willing to sew or whatever. I just want to know if there's a flaw in this idea, or what I'm supposed to know about lampshades.

I've already learned about the fabric, heat issues, etc. so I'm not concerned about that. It occurs to me that I could make a paper mache "mold" to give the fabric some "weight" and shape (this would extend several inches from the bulbs, so there shouldn't be a heat problem.

Does anyone have any experience in making lampshades? Is there something I need to know? I don't want the end product to look overly homemade, since I know I wouldn't use it if it did.

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The lamp sounds wonderful!

I think paper mache would deteriorate really fast.

There's a stiff fabric product used in drapery making that sounds more like what you need.

can't remember the name, it may be buckram or something.

A fabric shop would know the name & probably could sell you some less expensively than a drapery shop.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2007 at 10:17AM
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robbiezone5(z5 HudsonValley)

one thing to consider is the heat of the bulb. make sure that the fabric you use won't heat up and cause a fire! when i was in college, i remember fires caused by those hallogen floor lamps placed too close to window curtains.

can you make some kind of measurements to have the glass shade reproduced? maybe take some photos of it, with the measurements?

good luck!

    Bookmark   April 25, 2007 at 7:34PM
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