Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Lampshade Masterclass #1: The Secret of Uprighteous 70s Shades


Along with peacock wicker chairs and macramé hanging baskets, iconic 70s West German chimney-shaped shades are back.

The original chunky earthenware bases still crop up in charity shops and, while far less shades have made it through the decades, keen drum lampshade makers will be able to create exact replicas. Yay...! 

HOWEVER, dear lampshaders... a wise word before you begin. 

A tall, narrow and top heavy shade attached by a tiny ring to a disproportionately small fixing will lean and wobble in a most disappointing and dispiriting way. The good news is that our 70s hipster predecessors discovered just how to ensure that their iconic wonders stood straight and tall. And so, my first 'tip' in the revival of this blog is...

The Secret of Uprighteous 70s Shades 

Imagine you are all set to create your new 70s shade and are about to roll your rings onto the fabric-covered laminate panel. A wise lampshader would have her smaller ring at the top and the larger ring complete with gimbals at the bottom. But no, my nimble-fingered dearies, not this time… 

Instead, along the bottom wider edge you will be rolling two rings: a plain ring AND a gimbal-fitted ring tucked along next to it on the inside. Yes… double ring rolling. 

The plain ring will be covered in Tessa tape (the one at the bottom in the above photo) and so will stick to the card, yet the gimbal-ring will not be taped. To make this less of a circus trick, I attach the two rings together using three or four spacers (tape-covered match sticks) to make it easy to prise them apart when rolling is done. While temporarily attached, they will act as one while rolling.

So, once rolled you will have one ring at the top as usual, and two at the bottom. At this stage you can remove the match stick spacers, nudge the gimbal fitted ring a little further up the chimney and create the rolled edge around the plain ring by tucking in the fabric as usual. 

The gimbal fitting will be held firmly in place by the tightly fitting shade, but there will be just enough give to allow you to compensate for any lopsided wobble when attached to the lamp base.

And here is another I made earlier...

A little note:
This making tip is written for lampshaders who have already made one or two drum shades. If you haven't yet made a start, take a peep at the ever-so-useful Needcraft website.

Another little thought: 
It has occurred to me that you could simply roll a single plain ring at the bottom edge and then try to slot the gimbal fitted ring inside afterwards. To be honest, I haven't done it so I simply do not know if this would work... but do let me know if you've tried it successfully as it would save a little circus-trickery.

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