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DIY Fabric Wrapped Vintage Lampshade

Hello everyone! How was your long, lovely weekend? I feel like I’ve been basking in vacation bliss for days… plus we’ve had a few weeks of mid 70s, perfectly sunny weather so it’s hard to find much to complain about — and it love it! Just in four days I’ve been to the biergarten, dined outdoors, went on hikes, acted like a kid at a carnival, did some shopping, made crafty things at home, so I’m feeling quite inspired. In fact, I wanted to share a few of those crafts projects this week on decor8, the first is the fabric wrapped lampshade that many of you loved from the Liberty launch party that Sania Pell, Leslie Shewring and I added as part of the tabletop styling demonstration in-store.

Lampshade DIY

Funny (and flattering to us!) but some guests thought the shade was a Liberty product but it actually wasn’t – we had spent a lot of time together and on the phone/through emails putting together many ideas as to what to hang above the table and in the end, we decided to make a lampshade using Liberty fabrics, ribbons, flowers and all sorts of fun stuff including a disco ball. We originally thought to use more than one (three to be exact) but with such limited time, we decided to go with a single shade and that is exactly what we did! The idea, as most ideas, were a result of putting our heads together to think of what would make an impact (for a store like Liberty) while looking somewhat “part” of their dining room section of the store. Since Sania and I both love wire frames from old lampshades, it was decided that we’d hunt one down and wrap the frame with fabric.

Lampshade DIY

I bought one on eBay in Germany but it was easier for Sania to just buy one at a car boot sale in London and wrap the frame herself so that is what she did – and it came out beautifully as you can see above – I love how hers came out and can’t thank her enough for making it.

When I shared the Decorate launch party at Liberty last Friday, many of you loved the things that we showed during our demonstration — particularly the handmade elements. That is why I thought today I’d show you how to make the lampshade and then Sania will join us in the weeks to come to show how a few other things were made, including the flower brooches and the wire houses that hung above my signing table. But first, the lampshades. I’m not sure exactly how Sania made the one at Liberty, but I went with my gut and here is how I made mine shown below.

Lampshade DIY

DIY Fabric Wrapped Vintage Lampshade:

1. First, I laid out my supplies: permanent quick drying fabric glue, scissors, 3/4 meter of Liberty fabric, vintage lampshade won on eBay for under $5!

2. Then I stripped the lampshade removing the ugly brown polyester cover with that sexy dark brown fringe (not!). That went into the rubbish bin where it belonged!

3. Next, I wiped the frame with a rag to remove dust — important to use a dry rag as you’ll have to wait for it to dry before wrapping it with fabric otherwise.

4. Then, I laid out the fabric that I wanted to use, in this case a Liberty print that I’ve had for a few months now, and snipped into it about one inch in from the edge. After the snippet was made, I tore the fabric to the very end to create a long strip. Don’t worry about the frayed edges, they add to the charm once the frame is wrapped plus you don’t really see them in the end anyway. I cut about 6 strips to begin with, each about 46″ long, to get started. In the end, I used about 3/4 of a meter of fabric for the entire lamp.

5. I started wrapping! This was quite easy. To start, I worked from the top of the frame down. I found that easiest because if you work from the top up you risk unraveling it before it has time to “set”. When you wrap, you can either tie in a tiny knot and wrap from them, carefully concealing the knot when you wrap OR you can opt to not tie it and simply use strong instant-dry fabric glue and then fold and glue the fabric onto itself, hold in place as you wrap, and then you can eventually let go and it stays in place. You can also iron heat bond to the opposite side of fabric, iron it on, and then cut strips of fabric and wrap that way as I imagine that would be a good option as well.

Lampshade DIY

6. Save the top circular part of the frame for last (as shown) so you can wrap it and give it a nice finished look.

Lampshade DIY

7. Now, you can embellish. You may want to keep it simple and add nothing at all, or you can add a simple small metal garland as I did from designer Tord Boontje that I’ve had laying around my house for a few years in different arrangements of things. I think the garland is a nice touch and once a bulb is in the lamp, it could look nice wrapped around that part of the lamp. I also want to note that I intentionally did not spray paint the interior of the frame where the lightbulb will go simply because I liked the “oldness” of it and find that it adds charm to not look 100% brand new. But if you want something more polished, just spray paint it as that is the only part of the lamp that you cannot wrap due to that being a total fire hazard! If neither of these looks are for you, add some flowers (faux of handmade from fabric). Sania made some beautiful flowers that I pinned to my shade at home and I think they look pretty.

Lampshade DIY

TIPS: My goal is to buy a wooden lampbase that has a great silhouette and spray paint it high gloss gray or white and top it with my new “old” lampshade. If you really want to deck out your shade, add birds, ribbons, frayed bits of fabrics tied, a disco ball if you do not plan to use it as a light but as a quirky display, etc. You can even remove the center of the frame and with a ceiling mount kit (from IKEA for instance) you can turn this shade into a pendant light. Another idea is that you can hang it and wrap fairy lights in the inside to illuminate it at night. The goal is to have fun and personalize this frame – do what makes you happy!

Warning: Please be careful that you don’t use anything close to the bulb that is flammable if you plan to use the shade on a lamp base – so avoid tissue paper flowers and anything else that could start to slowly cook, and then burn, from the heat.

Lampshade DIY

I hope that you enjoyed this lampshade DIY and that it makes you look at ugly lampshades a little differently now! Wire frames are a big trend, lots of designers are using them in some of the best rooms out there — but they usually spray paint them in bold primary colors like red and green. If you want to try wrapping them in your favorite fabric for a fresh take on this trend, go for it – I hope that you love this lampshade idea and that you give it a try at home — decorating should be fun, personal and most of all, should reflect your own style and taste so try something like this one at home and see what you come up with, right?!

(images: holly becker for decor8 with the exception of Liberty shots taken by Tiffany Kirschner-Dixon)

Posted in DIY, Objects on April 26, 2011

Quick + Cheap Mood Board Idea

I’ve been a busy bee this week! In addition to planning for the Liberty event in London on Wednesday night (we’re making lots of pretty things for the tabletop and a special installation to go above the table), I was asked if Where Women Create magazine could shoot my work studio this week and of course, since I’m a keynote speaker at their special upcoming Creative Connection event (alongside Oprah’s own Cristina Ferrare) in September, I said yes! It worked out really well because I was able to work with my husband, who shot the story, and I styled the shots which was fun — it definitely made me miss working on the road last year styling my book Decorate! Here is an outtake from the shoot of my desk area. You can see the entire room in their next issue!

My desk

Above my desk I have this very quick and easy DIY mood board/art display. I made it up myself – hey, decorating isn’t rocket science! What I did was cut a piece of linen and secured it to the wall with 5 nails. I then disguised the nails by looping some simple ribbon around each one. I let the linen drape because it looks more natural than if I had pulled it extra tight across the wall. It looks more casual and soft this way. I have tons of prints that I’ve purchased over the years from Etsy and I can’t properly frame all of them so, using Japanese craft tape which sticks so well yet can be easily removed without tearing paper, I “tacked” everything to my mood board/art wall. I can swap imagery whenever the spirit moves me. I like that because the spirit moves me quite often! In fact, changing a mood board regularly is a trick that helps me to stay out of creative ruts. The moment I feel one coming on, I edit my mood board and the fresh perspective helps energize me. With the “Holly” mood board, you only need a little less than a meter of linen, 5 nails, and some ribbon and of course Japanese crafting tape and some art, tears from magazines, etc. and boom! you are in your creative zone in minutes.

I had some major déjà vu moments working on this story for Where Women Create and definitely feel like I need to do more of this in the future along with books and anything else that I can continue to do to combine imagery and words to communicate what’s inside of me to all of you. I love decor8, so the blog will always be front and center, but side projects are so meaningful and rewarding and it’s good fuel for me to have them as they also feed my creativity so that I can blog with more passion. I have come to realize over the past five years that blogging with intention, with heart, with passion is always my goal — it is so much more rewarding over simply tossing up posts for the sake of writing something. For me, a blog is a place to communicate feelings, a vision, talk about inspirations, ideas, goals, dreams… I think that is what makes a great blog, well, great. What do you think?

(photo: thorsten becker)

Posted in DIY on April 09, 2011

Histor Paints + Missing Our Past Life

When you’re an American living abroad in Europe, you have so much to learn in addition to a new language and culture — you also must learn about things like curtain installation and the best paint suppliers. Even if you’re an American living in another city or state, you have much to adjust to. When I relocated, I didn’t give much thought to not being able to walk into a home store and know exactly what everything before me was made to do. When I walk into German stores, especially the big DIY chains equivalent to Lowe’s, it takes me five times the effort to locate exactly what I’m looking for because the brands are so unknown to me.

Histor Paints from The Netherlands

I’m not complaining, it is quite fun when I carve out the time to take a trip to a home improvement store because I often find things that I never knew existed. For instance, I recently discovered some amazing curtain rods that effortlessly clip into the frames of your windows so you don’t have to put a single hole in the frame or wall. Genius!

Histor Paints from The Netherlands

Beige on walls with crisp white trim is becoming more and more popular, I see it frequently in German design magazines. I love this look.

The one thing I’m not finding in Hannover so far is really good paint. I understand that my city is quite small compared to the giants like Berlin and Hamburg so naturally I won’t have the same access to products as larger cities… I sometimes wish we had a Flamant in Hannover because their paints are amazing and we could use a little more diversity. (Which reminds me, I really need to visit Cafe Flamant again, that is such a great place to chillax after a long day of shopping.) We have plenty of paint in local home stores but the colors don’t wow me as they did when I rummaged through the thousands of paint chips at Lowe’s or Home Depot. I am a big Benjamin Moore fan and had many of their colors committed to memory because I knew they’d always work – my “no fails” as I referred to them.Without Ben Moore and other brands that I relied on for years, I am forced out of my comfort zone and you know what? I’m okay with that. Sometimes. Certain days I’m not so okay because I’m human, but then I think of what a privilege I have to simply be living on an entirely different continent exploring new things and I feel embarrassed for getting annoyed by things like the lack of Target, Method products and owning a car (my choice).

Histor Paints from The Netherlands

Speaking of paint, I also love Farrow + Ball colors, which we can get but not so easily and they are very expensive. That is why when I came across two brands from the Netherlands recently – PTMD (which I purchased in Hamburg last week) and Histor, I had to learn more. I’m hoping Histor has presence in Germany so I have to do some research… but I find lots of great colors on their website and in their magazine which you can see scattered throughout this post.

Histor Paints from The Netherlands

Histor Paints from The Netherlands

Histor Paints from The Netherlands

Martha Stewart Living paints always captured my interest but you won’t find them in Germany. But again, that’s okay because I want to explore and find some great stuff on this side of the pond. I don’t believe in living in the past or pining for what I left behind — what’s the point!? Sometimes I miss certain things because I learned to rely on them and knew what I was buying, there were no hidden surprises, but the past is a different life, right? It’s important when you live outside of your home country that you really embrace what you DO have and to also go on a wild and crazy search for more because there is plenty to unearth that may even be better than what you had before. I think I told you this before, but I attended a meeting last Autumn for women who live here in Hannover that are from all parts of the world and the group leader asked everyone to write down what they love about their expat life in Hannover because she said expat groups can quickly become negative because people automatically start talking about what they miss, not what they have.

This made me think, what is it about human nature that nudges us to see the bad before the good? To compare things that shouldn’t even be compared in the first place? How can we manage these feelings whether we are living in another town or another country — missing what we had? How do you deal?

(images: histor paints)

Posted in DIY on January 21, 2011

Renovating Done Right

I heard from reader Manfung Cheung yesterday who runs Dutch design blog Inrichting Huis in Rotterdam because he wanted to share with you the renovations that he and his partner Lydia La recently completed in their city apartment. They decided to buy their first home — a two level flat in an old mansion that desperately needed renovation and their personal touch.

Manfung's House

You can see all of their before photos here, which I think is a great way to begin this post — to see where they started because oftentimes we approach a big project and it can seem daunting and we wonder if it is really worth the effort or not.  Manfung and Lydia prove that a little elbow grease goes a long, long way. These photos are of their beautiful new space which is light and bright — a requirement for some who want to avoid winter blues and even depression in cities that are known to be rainy and gray, as Rotterdam doesn’t have the best weather — it’s not Hawaii!

Manfung's House

Manfung's House

Manfung's House

Manfung's House

Manfung knows that it is vital to live in a home that fully supports you and allows for personal growth — he calls it a, “necessary foundation for happiness and success in life”. Large amounts of money and tons of space are not required to be happy — that is a bonus — the only requirements to make a house YOUR home is to find inspiration, connect to resources, get creative, tap into your personal style and be motivated enough to get up and do something about it! Kick your own butt! ha ha!

What a great house – thank you Manfung for writing in and sharing your space with us, especially before the weekend as many jump on DIY projects over the weekend — your home inspired me to work on my own tomorrow after I go to the flea market. I particularly love your collections, your wood floors, that darling mini blue SMEG and the Never Grow Up poster.

So tell me, when you start a renovation project, or even a decorating project, what are some of your fears? What often stands in your way? If you have any projects that you’re putting off, why? Perhaps together we can inspire one another to get a move on like Manfung did. Maybe even Manfung can help you with some of your dilemmas, so please comment below.

(images: inrichting huis)

Posted in Decorating Tips, DIY on January 21, 2011


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