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Monday, October 24, 2011

The Black Hole

So I was looking for a really fun lamp for my kiddo's room. I loved this cute little lamp:

but while I adored it, the price tag was too much for me. Sigh.
So I set out to find something just as fun, but maybe a bit cheaper. A few weeks later my friend Amy Lee found and pinned this little lamp she found on pinterest:

Which I loved... until i clicked through to discover the price on that lamp was nearly $400! Holy cow. Not headed in the right direction here with the price tag. But what a bummer, it's a cute lamp.
A few days later I was shopping at HomeGoods (man, I love that store!) and found this...
For a tiny fraction of the price of that super expensive, though quite similar other elephant lamp. SCORE. But here's the problem...
Wah-wah... hey there ugly royal blue gingham lamp shade. You are not really my style. Fear not, I shall change you! Should be easy.
Plan A: was to cover it with fabric. But I looked and looked for a simple/subtle print to cover the lampshade with, and no luck. I just couldn't find anything I liked. I considered just a solid white shade like the one in the other lamp. But did want to buy one. Soooo...
Plan B: I'm going to paint that lamp shade. I got some white spray paint, and some light green that I was going to paint subtle chevrons on the white. It was going to be great. Step one, remove the trim and tape off the hardware:

Next, I decided it couldn't hurt to spray it with some primer I had on hand-- better coverage right? So here is is after 3 coats of spray primer:
Oh.... hey. You can't really tell I painted anything cane you? After using up the rest of my can of primer on this thing, I put down two coats of white spray paint... and it looked about the same. This thing was like trying to paint a black hole. I don't know what happened to it, but any paint sent it's direction was sucked into an abyss never to be seen again. Soooo... plan B.5 I got some white exterior latex paint and brushed it on. nice and thick. once it was dry... still blue gingham. Spray on 3 more coats of white spray paint... still bright blue gingham. 
So I gave up on it. Stupid black hole lamp shade. It was feeling rather crusty at this point anyhow, and I was mad. 
Then Amy Lee came over for our crafty night (remember when we made this?) and she convinced me it wasn't hopeless. We sat on the floor draping it with various fabrics and debating cutting the whole thing in pieces. She pulled some leftover quilt fabric out of a bag... and draped it accross the gingham, and we both went... huh.
Because it was white. Just like the original elephant lamp. And we liked it. 
We... didn't take pictures because it was quite late and we were delirious and anxious to get the project done. But... we used a spray adhesive to attach the fabric then trimmed the extra off... (you can google 'covering a lampshade' and get hundreds of results and tutorials if you need more instruction than that... I'll leave that up to you.) Then, to break up the white--just a tiny bit-- we made a bias tape out of the same green fabric I used for the curtains and glued it around the top:
Don't ask me why this is the only picture I took of the entire process. 
Well, actually, that's a lie. I also took this picture:
(Remember how I said it was well after midnight... ??? You knew a whole post about lampshades was going to include at least one reference to a lampshade on someone's head, right?)
Once complete we took it upstairs and installed it on the lamp and...

We love it! I love that it's white... but the white on white pattern is subtle and lovely. Yay yay yay!
Thank you Amy Lee for your help. Baby P's lamp is perfect... and the perfect addition to his room! :)


  1. the whole paint story is crazy!? I wonder why...

    anyway, i love it. :-) i think people have whole blogs about high end stuff and the knock offs they make.

    good job.

  2. AHHH!! I love it! So cute. Plus the pic of me with that lampshade on is classic! Anytime you want me to come over and help with more stuff, let me know.