Last Christmas I revealed the homemade presents we had made, and, by popular request, here is how I made the lampshade:
- Collect a lot of sea glass. For us, this was easy, we are natural beach combers, love found things and have been fascinated by and collecting beach glass way before it became fashionable. But you do need lots. Really. And ideally lots of different colours and types, if you find pieces with patterns or words, that’s good, and precious special colours that don’t come up much – such as blue, purple or yellow, even if they are only specks, add to the overall lamp. This lamp was made from glass collected on one particular holiday.
- Find a suitable lamp base and shade. I had this one in my craft box already – I’m a hoarder I admit it.It arrived with himself and sported a really horrible lampshade originally…which we got rid of, but the base was nicely turned onyx and I was sure it would be useful one day. That day was long coming but it did eventually arrive. The base needs to be heavy like this as all that glass weighs quite a bit, so the shade has to be balanced with a suitable base or there will be toppling issues. The shade I bought from a DIY store for £3 – but there are often shades like this in charity shops. Try the two together before you make a start, because it would be heart breaking to do all that work only to find it didn’t really fit the base.
- buy some glue. I used super-glue and bought these in handy 3g tubes, which is much better than one big tube that super-glues itself closed when you take a break from the project. This glue worked a treat, held the glass firmly, and grabbed it fast. I did manage to super glue a tube of glue to my hand at one point.. and that was not ideal… so really.. don’t do it!
- Tear the fabric off the lampshade. a shade with a wire frame is the way forward. Dig the glue off too.
- Spread out lots of glass (did I mention you need a lot?) and start sticking it to the frame – this involves selecting a piece to fit the space, working out where it touches, applying a very small amount of glue (you don’t want to see the glue so keep it to a minimum) to both surfaces, placing it, holding it until the glue has grabbed and repeat. I worked along the top of the frame and then down the verticals, then filled in and only completed the bottom edge last – this way I was sure the glass was really fixed and not just propped on pieces below it. I tried to mix up the colours, and it did get trickier to find the exact shaped piece . There will naturally be small gaps, but so long as they are small, this lends to the charm. That’s what I say anyhow. It was handy to put the lamp on the base and this gave me a natural turntable. The whole structure becomes stronger as all the pieces go in and support each other.
- Test your work. Allow it to set properly then tap the sides with your fingers and gently bang the base down on a table – don’t treat it rough, but the lamp needs to be able to cope with being used, so any pieces of glass that fall off now need to be re-glued.
- Carefully place and glue special tiny pieces of glass in suitable gaps.
- enjoy your lamp!