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Inspired Ideas: Vintage Glow

Yankee Plus Dec 2015


Inspired Ideas: Vintage Glow
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Photo/Art by Corey Hendrickson
I love poking through antiques shops and flea markets in search of old postcards, fabrics, and lamps–they’re great materials for home-décor projects. Old lamp bases have loads more character than new ones. I try to hang on to a lamp socket’s outer brass or nickel shell, too, and replace just the cord and inner socket. To create a clean new shade for an antique lamp–but one that’s still in keeping with its character–I just dip into my vintage-postcard collection. I look for graphic images and cards that have some wear and tear, a postmark, or even personal writing on the front. It’s a great way to remember a special summer vacation or favorite destination.

Follow These Steps

1. Tape 2 postcards to a sheet of paper, making sure there’s no space between top and bottom card. Continue with the rest of the cards, for a total of 6 panels, 2 cards per panel. Photocopy each set of cards. (Paper copies let more light through and save your postcards, too.)

2. Make a template for your postcards: Using clothespins, clip a piece of styrene onto one of the lampshade panels and trace around the outside of the wire with a marker. Cut out the styrene panel.

3. Lay the styrene panel atop one of your postcard copies and trace around it; do this for all 6 copies and cut them out.

4. To laminate postcard copies onto styrene, peel the paper backing off the styrene and affix each postcard copy to the sticky side. Trim postcard paper if necessary.

5. Clip postcard panels onto each of the 6 frame sides with clothespins. Mark any excess styrene and trim with scissors.

6. To affix panel to frame, run a bead of glue around all 4 segments of one of the wire sides. Set one panel in place and clip with clothespins. Repeat with other 5 panels.

7. When all panels are adhered to the frame, wrap a long piece of ribbon around the shade, clipping under clothespins to hold panels in place while they dry (about 20 minutes).

8. When it’s dry, remove ribbon very gently; careful not to rip the paper.

9. For trim: Cut 6 6-inch pieces of 3/8-inch grosgrain (for the vertical sides), 1 17-inch piece of 5/8-inch grosgrain (for the top of the shade), and 1 26-inch piece of 5/8-inch grosgrain (for the bottom).

10. Run a bead of glue along one 3/8-inch grosgrain piece and set onto a vertical rib. Continue with remaining strips.

11. Glue 5/8-inch grosgrain around top and bottom of shade: Run glue along bottom edge, set the ribbon on the glue, wrap the rest of the ribbon around the wire, and glue it to the inside of the shade; then add grosgrain to the top of the shade.

12. For a finishing touch, add braided or decorative trim: Apply glue to the back of the trim a few inches at a time and set onto the edge of the bottom grosgrain.

Materials and kit are available at The Lamp Shop, Concord, NH. 603-224-1603; For another project from Judy Lake, go to:


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