Tie-ing it all together (lamp upcycle)

Here’s an upcycling/redesign project I have been working on for quite some time now. I figure it was appropriate to post it on my birthday since it has been such a labor of love.

Our living room is dominated by a triptych that was painted to our specifications by a very talented painter friend of mine in 2004. I told her the colors we wanted and the sizes of the panels and let her run with it. She produced this three-panel painting, which she called “Cradled in the City.” At the time, I was pregnant, and one can see the womb-like elements in the painting that inspired her.

Our triptych, Cradled in the City, upon which our living room decor is based
Our living room with the triptych, “Cradled in the City,” which coordinates the decor

A few things have changed in our living room since the time when the painting arrived in our home:

  • Back then, we had a medium-blue, kidney-shaped, cloth-covered couch in the center of the room and a coordinating round teal ottoman; now we have a dark red, low-slung leather sofa that stands at the edge of the room. The coordinating red leather ottoman is visible in the picture above.
  • We used to have a smoke grey glass coffee table, now we have a black “wooden” one.
  • We had gotten a red/orange/yellow rug to match the painting. Over the years, it got way too dirty, so now we replaced it with a new yellow one.
  • We used to have a glass media center with a large TV. Now, we have a black media center with an even larger TV.

Throughout it all, the painting has been the coordinating element in the decor of our living room.

Standing in the corner between our two red couches (approximately straight to the left from where the above picture was taken) is a black table with a dead spot of light. We’ve had an old night table lamp there to give some light.

It gave light. But didn't match the decor.
It gave light. But that’s about all that can be said for what it contributed to the atmosphere.

However, the white lacy lampshade didn’t really go with the rest of the room. When my son came home from school with this lovely sculpture of a Hundertwasser house, it joined the lamp on that table.

Eric’s sculpture of a Hundertwasser house

Our new sculpture matched our triptych very nicely. Hence, a new project was born: upcycle the lamp into something cool that would tie the room together.

I found this lovely vase/urn at the secondhand store…

I love the secondhand store

…  took the lamp apart … drilled a hole in the base of the urn … and inserted the post  of the lamp into it. I glued the base of the lamp to the urn with my trusty glue gun.

 image006_sm  image007_sm

What was missing now was a lampshade.

Ties from the secondhand store
Do you see where I’m going with this?

I gathered a bunch of ties from various secondhand stores. It’s harder than one would think to find ties in a certain color combination. Luckily, I hit a jackpot at a secondhand store in Zurich, where I was able to more than cover my needs. (Actually, I ended up with a whole bag of ties left over and need to figure out another project to use them for.)

With a much larger lampshade from IKEA as a base, I started making a lampshade. And I made many mistakes. After sewing several ties together, I realized that the fabric did not let any light through. So I deconstructed the ties. Oh the things I learned! Inside each tie is a fabric stabilizer. I removed these and the linings, then I proceeded to sew the ties together.

Once I had them all together, I realized that they did not really fit the lampshade. So I removed one tie and I took in the seams quite a bit. Finally, I had to “finish” the bottom points. I did this with pinking shears (zig zag).

Then I attached my lampshade to the frame with fabric glue.

Here’s the final product:

 image005_sm (2)  image003_sm (2)
 image004_sm (2)  image002_sm (2)

It’s not perfect, but it is definitely unique. And I think it “ties” the room together quite nicely.

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