Let's Make...A Jute Lampshade!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Huh?  A what?

Yes my friends, a jute lampshade.

jute twine lampshade DIY detail
Ha ha, teaser photo.
This turned out much cooler than I was anticipating.  If I do say so myself and well, it appears I will.  Even Mike likes it which is a bit of a shocker as he seemed surprised by himself liking it, but hey I'll take it!

I ran into a snag with the lampshade itself, of course, as if it can go wrong for me, it will.  If it will snag, if it will catch, if it will break, go awry, crack, split, fall, or crumble, it will.  It's my lot in life.  Heh.  But dammit if I wasn't dogged in getting this thing to work out and ah ha, it did.  Yessssssssss.

Several weeks ago I popped into the new-ish Salvation Army nearby and ended up with a lamp.  First I thought Mike's office.  Then I tried it in the hall guest bedroom.  Then one evening Mike was digging about in the record cabinet and it was dark over there so I grabbed the lamp.  And that's where it has stayed.

Which, for all intents and purposes, is a mighty bad spot for it considering how many tennis balls and squeaky toys and ropes go careening past it on a daily basis.  Or a fired up giganto-Finn with limbs and tail and body flailing everywhere.  Yikes, right?!

"Hey uh, you gonna put a shade on that?"

"Got something in the works for that lamp?"

"Whatcha doin' about that lamp there?  Gonna put a shade on it?"

"A shade here...."

Ok ok.  I think I get the hint.

In all fairness, Mike only asked twice.  I think.


I wasn't sure what to do.  Get a new shade from a store?  What would I get?  That seemed boring.  Hey, here's an opportunity to make one!  And why not?  So, thinking about it, thinking about it.

Casually scrolling the Pinterests I ran over this, pinned it, went about my merry way.  Then duh, I need a lampshade, two and two together, that would be awesome!  Duh.  Eye roll, sometimes, man....


I perused the Chicago Canvas website to see if maybe they carried erosion cloth but sadly, nope, they don't.  (It's used all the time in theater, hence why I checked there.)  Checked Joann's website.  Nope.  Hm.  Worth a trip to LZ?  Mmm, don't think that's a good idea.

Found it cheaply per yard online but I didn't check shipping costs as I knew it'd be more than the price of a yard.  Hm.

Then I fell off a cliff over in Crazytown, Illinois -- why not make it myself?!

In actuality, it wasn't really all that crazy.  Nor complicated.  Nor terribly too time consuming.

First, a lampshade, which I unearthed at the same Salvation Army at half off for a whopping $1.49.  It has this cool rounded triangular shape buuut, it was meant to have the wide end up; I wanted the wide end down.  I'm such a pain in the a** to myself.

lampshade supplies
It was half price brown tag day, woot!
I stalked it on the shelf, picked it up, flipped it around, set it down, walked away, came back, stalked, examined, walked away...yes, I did this, no joke, like five times.  For a shade costing $1.49.  Odd duck, yes.  But I bought it.

In taking the shade apart I discovered right off that the shade paper was holding the entire thing together.  Aw schnickers!  Huh.  What to do, what to do.

taking apart lampshade
Ah crap.  Figures.
I ran over to Menards, grabbed a 1/8" x 3' steel rod, cut three pieces.  Using that handy dandy steel weld epoxy I glued everything together.

Three times.  The darn epoxy just would not hold.  Three.times.  Why three?  Because I was stubborn.  And insistent:  you should work!!  Nope.

adding support parts to lampshade
Nope, sorry sucka, no will do.
Then I tried soldering it knowing full well soldering would not work but thought hey what the hell, try it.  Did not work.  Suh-prise.

Frustrated and about to throw in the towel on this stupid dollar fifty shade, my prop side came competitively busting out like Superman from a phone booth.  "No.  You buck up that determination little missy.  You will not give up on this, you will beat this shade.  Have I taught you nothing?!  Now get in there and make it happen!"  It smacked me on the butt and off I tumbled.

Gorilla glue.*  Yep.  I dabbed some on, tied the rods to the frame with jute, waited.  Yep.  Winner.  It's not super super sturdy but sturdy enough and it held together for the rest of the steps.

Fiiiiinally.  Finally I was able to move on.  Sheesh.

That same Menards trip I grabbed another spool of jute twine,* $1.60 for 190 feet.  Unfortunately it wasn't the same type of jute I purchased previously from them a while back, it was much finer, but they didn't leave me much choice.

Ok.  So the process went like this.  First, I knocked down the white with a dusting of Design Master glossy wood tone.*  A prop person's go-to insta-aging BFF.  It stinks to high heaven but it's my favorite spray paint.  Have I used it for its intended purpose?  Nope.  Not ever a once.

glossy wood tone spray
Yay, stinky!
Using the finer jute twine, I looped and strung it all around the frame vertically, making sure to string in some funky diagonals.

wrapping jute twine around lampshade frame

Using the remainder of the thicker jute twine I wove horizontally through, again making sure to get a few funky angles and imperfections going on.  After that was all used up, I wove through some of the finer stuff.

weaving different thicknesses through

I could have wrapped the frames completely in the twine to hide all the metal but opted to see how it looked on the lamp first.  And so far I like it as is.

Next up, to get the shade to sit the way I wanted, I used a low harp, all of six inches* tall...

replacement lamp harp and new bulb
Shorty McShorter harp.  Tiny 40w globe bulb in stock from the basement.
...then 2" fender washers sandwiched around the ring to close up the giant circle.  Fender washers*...such a hot commodity when I was in the theater world.

using a fender washer at the top of the shade

And voila!  Jute lampshade!

finished jute twine lampshade
Looks a weird tangled mess here but it makes sense, just wait....
I wanted to lower the whole shade/bulb fixture etc. part so I picked up a new piece of brass pipe but when I disassembled the lamp, eh, I discovered someone clearly didn't want folks messing with the socket.  Some day I'll pick up a new socket, snip the wires, put in the shorter pipe, rewire with a new socket.

fixing the lamp socket
A nice blurry photo for you.  The wires are clamped in there somehow.  Yes, part of that outer cover is broken off.
In the mean time, man, the shadows are damn cool!

jute twine lampshade lit throwing shadows


cool shadows created by lit jute twine lampshade

It's not too shabby in the day time unlit either.

finished lamp with jute twine lampshade DIY

Easy peasy, stylish and unique new lampshade for less than four bucks.  How can you beat that?!

Mike thinks I should fill the glass up.  He's not fond of seeing the cord within; he sees opportunity abound inside it.  His last suggestion was charred shredded wood.  Seems ever since he saw that reader's charred headboard he's had a bug up his butt to burn some wood.

Interesting concept for sure though I personally like the clear empty glass as it essentially disappears, focus therefore is on the shade.  We shall see.

jute twine lampshade unlit

lit jute twine lampshade
Can't help myself, the lit at night photos are cool!
So yeah, that's where I'm at.

detail of jute twine on lampshade

I'm feelin' the itch for another big project.

Is it the wall opposite the kitchen cabinets?  Still working a design out.  On version two there.  I really wanna but....  Hm.

Is it the main floor bathroom?  (Just do it already and stop yammering on and on and on and on...I know I get it.)  Mike has said (twice now!!) that he will help me with it around the Christmas holiday.  While I'm skeptical, THAT would be an awesome gift!

The pocket door for the master bath?  The swinging door snagged me the other night causing me to bump into it, it then hitting the shower doors...it's bugging me.  The hold up?:  an outlet in the bedroom likely needs to be skooched and I'm concerned about my drywall patching abilities.  Though they have improved.  It's a super big project though and the door kit is not on sale currently.  Hm.

I dunno folks.  I do know you will find out though.

*The Gorilla glue, jute twine, lamp harp, glossy wood tone, and fender washers are Amazon affiliate links.  Mwah, thanks!  Please see the "boring stuff" tab above for more info.


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