Tuesday, August 21, 2012

To Bee or Not To Bee

   Have you ever had a great idea for a project, have it pretty much all planned out in your head, and then can't make it work?  That's what happened with this lamp.  I got this for a steal at a yard sale awhile back and had some great ideas for it.  The brass was pretty shot on it so I knew I would have to paint it.
At first it was going to be antiqued white with a cream or burlap shade.  But when I took a really good look at it I found this great detail on it that I wanted to highlight.

It is kind of hard to see, but those are bees on the bottom bauble.  I got on to The Graphics Fairy and found an incredible French bee graphic.  I figured that I would paint the stand and stem black, and rub n buff the detail, finial, and top lamp portion silver.  Well that was the first thing that went wrong.  Rub n Buff is a fantastic product but for this application it made it look more like aluminum then silver.  Luckily I only tried it on the finial so it wasn't too much trouble to remove.  I still had to do something with the base and stem, so I taped off the rest and sprayed them black.  I wish I could have read Miss Mustard Seed's post on frog tape first.  I couldn't get the junk I had to stick, and consequently had to carefully sand off what dripped under the tape.  Oh well, I loved the contrast between the black and metal so onward to the lampshade.  The frame of the shade was the only thing useful, there was no board or paper to start with, only 1" thick strips of plastic wound over and over the frame.  It took awhile but my husband and I finally figured out how to make a pattern to use to cut out the poster board and fabric coverings.  We used a very large piece of brown paper (the bottom circumference is 62") and very carefully rolled and marked the top and bottom of the shade to match it's curve.  I cut out two pieces of poster board and thought I could use my glue gun to past it on.  That was my second mistake, the glue dried too fast and didn't stick to the metal frame very well.  Then I tried some E6000 that I picked up at a yard sale, I don't know if it is just old or what, but it didn't work either.  Finally I just used some spray adhesive on the frame, carefully pressed on the paper and secured it with clothespins until it was dry.  Then I cut out some gray fabric a little larger then the pattern.
The picture on the right has the great graphic that I wanted to use on the lampshade to compliment the bee detail on the base.  I tried three different techniques to transfer it to the fabric (thank goodness I used a test piece first!)  The first try was the angel picture.  I used t-shirt transfer paper not realizing it was that icky plastic stuff, so strike one.  Then I tried printing it out on freezer paper and ironing it on to the fabric.  It barely showed up, strike two.  Then I thought I could just color in the the transfer, but it ended up looking creepy instead of pretty, strike three I'm out!  So I just glued on the fabric with some fabric glue and trimmed it out with black gimp on the top and bottom.  I like how it turned out, but I sure would like to use the French bee graphic sometime in the future.

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